Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Confederacy of Dunces

The book I haven't read in three years: Confederacy of Dunces. The city I haven't lived in for three years: New Orleans. Oh my God, it has been too long since I've drank beer after beer after Jameson after beer in New Orleans. I guess I try not to think about it since returning to Kansas City. My memories aren't good or bad anymore, they're just places I've been, people I've met, things I've done. I guess that's why I have such a hard time telling a story, writing a poem or a song, functioning, these days...ha ha! Its true, haven't functioned for a while. I thought Louisiana would offer a lifetime of good memories but every time I think about it I just want to scream and cry like a spoiled little kid. I wish I was there now. That's something to work on, either deal with it here or go back to her, New Orleans.

There is a story here, an easy story to tell, it tells itself. I worked at Molly's at the Market as a bartender for about eight months from 8pm to 6am. After work, as the sun came up, we would start to drink for real, not like the tourists, but for real. I loved the job but had to quit when they promoted me to daytime bartender. Being a real bartender and not just some dude that hands out beers and collects money between drinks made me nervous. Honestly, I would have got sucked into that scene/trap and looking back, it would have been worse than teaching elementary school. Hindsight isn't always a bitch.

Then I started as a bicycle messenger. My body went from one extreme to another, quickly. From bar tending at Molly's all night to riding a bike all day... dynamic to say the least. It would have been more dynamic if all the bike messengers in the city weren't complete lushes. So we drank...

Delgado Community College - boring.

Mr. Denny's Voyageur Swamp Tours. What can I say? My body was doing okay at the time. I caught a load of shit from friends and family for literally sleeping in Mr. Denny's closet. (It was a total shit hole!) My brother stopped by on his way from Florida and said, "Don't you think you've been sleeping in Mr. Denny's closet for long enough?" Two days later I was gone. It was the true bayou experience. On the bayou all day, eating fresh crayfish and gumbo, and everything, ettoufee, alligators, catfish, going to New Orleans for the weekend, getting ripped, Slidell, Louisiana and the West Pearl River are meant to be. I don't have the words right now.

I haven't back been since Katrina, Mr. Denny had a brain tumor, that's probably why I don't think about it anymore.

Ignatius the unacceptable, Toole the martyr, working outside of the system. Teaching school, my dream, screaming kids, how could I have not known? I guess I was supposed to go overseas immediately after getting my MA. Whoops! Now I have the experience. I'm like the Bionic Man, except I'm an English teacher, not quite as exciting.

I've done a lot for my kids, I've taught them a lot about how to properly disrespect teachers, how teachers can be as cruel as kids, how teachers teach because they are still kids, how they gossip at the lunch table, how they dislike each other behind the curtain, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. I've taught them by example and that doesn't necessarily mean I've always set a good example, I've just tried to be myself. Kids appreciate that. Their parents work at a factory. They are Mexican kids living seven to a three bedroom house. All they know is the reality of hardship and I try to make their lives a little easier or better or safer... safer... and the system comes down on my head. I'm not like the rest of these teachers, that's why I'll be taking another chance, doing something else again, refusing to settle and paying a heavy cost for it as usual.

That brings me to a recent conclusion: If these students acted like the teachers or did any of the things the teachers did we would have to call social services. If the kids did the things teachers did they would be considered total fuck ups. Teachers have sex, smoke and drink and set that example for their students. Mostly they hide it from the kids. Me? We'll I don't keep a bottle of Chivas in my desk, but I would if I could. Its hard not to be a hypocrite around here. It would be impossible if it wasn't for the tea totalers; they keep this place pure, which is actually a good thing, its just not the way the real world works. I guess that means I will be a hypocrite until I quit teaching or quit drinking...Any ideas on which may come first?

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