the boating instructor.

i caught yara in the watsonville public library today during third period. i didn't mean to, but i think kathryn felt bad for me, since there are only three students in her class now, and obviously nothing for me to do.

"you know, james," she says, in her shy, but firm voice, "if you have something you'd rather be doing, or something you need to work on...feel free." what she really means to say is why the hell are you still hanging around? go do something somewhere, anywhere else. and so i agree, tell her that i'll use third period as my "prep period" - only, in reality, i have nothing to "prep" for. so, rather than read in the corner like a guest who's outstayed his welcome, i tell her i'm going to the library. and i do.

it's windy out, and a block into it, i think of heading back, even though the library is only another three blocks away. but i don't really feel like sitting at my desk, overdosing on soy nuts. i'm going to make a real trek. plus, i want to return breakfast at tiffany's to lighten the load in my pack. but i haven't finished it yet, so i walk and read. i've never really done it before, walking and reading, but found that i'm no good at it anyway. couldn't concentrate on the short story, the diamond guitar. kept thinking some car was going to pull out of a driveway too quickly.

when i get to the library, i see yara and two other watsonville high girls on a computer, checking out myspace. i wave over to them, half-friendly, half-narc. i read some more of the story before i realize she's not going to class, and then i walk over to the librarian to ask what i'm supposed to do in a situation like this.

"excuse me, hi. i'm a volunteer at the high school, and i know for a fact that at least one of the girls over there is supposed to be in class right now. what am i supposed to do?"
the librarian smiles and tells me that i should probably call the school, and they'll send some of the security guys over to come pick her up.
"do you have their number?"
she walks over to grab a phonebook, just as yara and the two other girls leave.
"are you going to class?" i ask her.
"yeah, why?" she asks.
"the bell has rung."
the librarian watches them leave, but for some reason, still flips through the yellow pages, trying to find the school number. i want to say i don't need it now, but she looks too determined. she writes it on a white piece of paper and i enter it into my cell phone, pretending i'll call later. it's my prep period, after all.

i read the final story included in breakfast and it's called "a christmas memory." it's the kind of story that fills, one that makes me feel like i've done something with my day - it's just that good.

after eld, i decide to stick around, since i haven't really chatted with miss carissa all week. she asks if i'm a student teacher. here's how some of it plays out:

"no."
"are you still in school?"
"no, i've graduated alrea-"
"oh, me too."

i find it kind of strange how she slips this in so abruptly. it was like when angela, an ex-co-worker at starbucks once asked how old i was. when i revealed "24," it was an automatic, "oh, you're my age then." when did age, or a college education become something we had to prove? what does it say about anything, really? i'm 24, i have a b.a., and i'll be the first to admit it: i don't know shit about shit.

"so, are you doing this for credits or something?" carissa asks.
i can't help but think, i've already answered that i'm not in school anymore, what kind of credits could i possibly be earning? citizenship points? "no, no credits."
"so you just hang out, have fun with the kids?"
"pretty much," i admit. "i'm in americorps."
"ohhhh," she says with one too many o's. "do you get paid?"
"a stipend. and subsidized housing?"
"subsidized. what's that? does that mean it's free?"
"no, they pay for about half."
"so why are you doing the program?"
i don't really have an answer. in september i could've said because i'm idealistic; i believe in change. i really believe students and teachers need me. but, unfortunately for her, it's may. i can only shrug my shoulders. "just to gain work experience."

we talk about teaching possibilities, different programs. i tell her about project pipeline and how i would get to start working right away. she's disappointed that the applications are due tomorrow. "maybe i can turn it in late, tell them i just found out about it, and they'll let me in?" and because she's blonde i think she might actually pull it off, even though i've been working on my application since january.

but that's just the way it goes.

1 comment:

ms.meggie said...

muhahahahahahahaha! and so it goes.