Monday, September 6, 2010

So... tomorrow...

The summer is over. A summer of self-sustaining depletion, disappointment, wishes not fulfilled, hopes and goals not achieved; a summer of "peak experience," of blissful, blessed clarity, of liberation... summer is over.

Tomorrow is not exactly the "first" day of school, it's sort of a "day Zero," where the kids return to get their books, new kids get shown around campus and figure out how to open their lockers, new friends start to be made, there's a party. A fun day. At least, that's the idea.

My walking is going south, fast. One of my knees likes to hyperextend backwards and lock, and that makes me (almost) fall... to come too close to "actually fall." So, I'll be spending most of the day, if not seated in my classroom, seated in a motorized wheelchair. One of my projects tomorrow is to figure out how to get into and out of my classroom, and how much time it'll take to make a bathroom "run" (not exactly the most apropos term, but you know what I mean).

This is the high school I went to. I was there from 1970 to 1978, teaching from '85 to '90, teaching again from 2000 to this year, 2010. And that's not even counting the stuff I did with them when I wasn't there full time. Twenty three years... and I'm fifty, this year. Nearly half my life, I've been there. And now I'm there in a wheelchair.

And I don't feel weird, or strange, or anything, because of the chair. Logistically, I wonder how I'm going to do certain things, but emotionally... it's not even on the radar. Frankly, I'm grateful for the device, because walking is such an unpleasant task, nowadays. The last time I was trundling around in the chair, it made me ... happy.

As my doctor said one day, in an homage to the Grateful Dead, "What a long, strange trip it is."

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