Thursday, 25 September 2003

How September's Looking

So my car died and my sister had a miscarriage and I didn't get a job to start the school year. I trusted that it wouldn't be all bad, though, and the first Friday of the first week of school, I got called for a 4 week fill-in job. Only 4 weeks isn't good, but 4 weeks of work at full teacher pay is badly needed. It's an "Adult Alternative High School" which means kids who dropped out of the normal system paying money to come in and work fairly independently on lessons to get high school diplomas. Almost all of the girls (15 and up) are pregnant or new mothers. At ten minutes to each hour, pretty much every student (all but maybe 3 of 30) goes out for a smoke. Extremely pregnant 15-year-olds smoking in low-cut tops and push up bras and sweatpants stretched drum-tight that say "Naughty" across the butt is starting to look normal and everyday to me. There are a lot of gauged ears, piercings and tattoos of all sorts, including several people with tattoos across their throats and up and down their necks. There's a lot of talk about visits from lawyers, police, abusive ex-boyfriends, parole officers and welfare people. Girls are scared that they'll be thought "bad mothers" and argue about who is a bad mother. I'm teaching a lesbian woman who my father taught in Grade 5 ten years ago. I'm teaching kids who are struggling with following the rules and jumping through the hoops to pass Grade 12 English, who write plays and poetry in their spare time and read John Irving for fun. I'm trying to get 18 year olds with kids named after Greek gods to read two pages of newspaper article and answer the questions, and they get bored and go back to reading "The Fellowship of the Ring" under the table, which they're halfway through. I'm liking it far more than I thought. In high school, I never heard the words "Can I PLEASE get the other books so I can do more work now?!"

Tuesday, 2 September 2003

A Good Weekend With Not Nearly Enough Names to Go Around

Saturday was Dave's birthday. Bill and I drove to my Dad's house and worked on the garage roof for an hour or two, then went to Kingston for Dave's party. Dave's sister has started selling Tupperware, so the party was in the form of a Tupperware demonstration, with Tupperware products being used to make salsa (which we ate with corn chips), chicken with rice, and chocolate cake, all using only using the microwave and Tupperware stuff. Dave's friend Dave was there. Dave's friend Dave hosts stand-up comedy nights at the "Time To Laugh" comedy club in Kingston, so we hung out with him, then went to the show.
All the comedians we saw were hilarious, which came as a bit of a shock. While hosting, Dave asked "Who has a birthday today?" and one lady put up her hand. He asked what she'd gotten for her birthday and she said "A facial!" He turned pink, then said "Just when I was trying not to get too dirty... A FACIAL? What else? A pearl necklace?!" When Dave asked "Who else has a birthday today?", Dave sitting with us yelled "Me!" When comic Dave asked birthday Dave "And what did you get? Not a facial, right?" Birthday Dave yelled from the back of the club "Tupperware and Scotch!" which was an odd enough response to get a laugh.
The headliner was Steve Patterson (pictured here) who has a unique style, to say the least, and doesn't depend upon sexual humour as much as the others did. There were actually TWO guys named Steve Patterson (out of four comics) that night! The "other" Steve Patterson (who had to go first, to support the "main" Steve Patterson) said he was annoyed that gay people have taken the rainbow as their symbol. He says he isn't ready to give it up as a symbol with non-gay connotations, and suggested several symbols that would more explicitly symbolize homosexuality. Steve Patterson the headliner took requests and did song parodies with different accents. His "A Scottish Pink Floyd sings about the audience tonight" song was extremely weird. The mother of some kid name Ryan who is competing on "Canadian Idol" was there.
We slept on couches and the like at Dave's afterward, and the next day we had french toast, talked and played video games on the XBox, then we came home and Troy, Bill and I watched an episode of "Six Feet Under", a show I really like that I wanted them to see. We went to rent it, but it was all out, so we were "forced" to get it by electronic means.
Bill bought the "Bowling For Columbine" DVD and we watched the extras for that as well. I'm certainly not saying what my real name is, but it's exactly the same as the director of "Bowling For Columbine", so I have just gotten used to seeing that name written everywhere and assuming it doesn't mean me, even if it is getting an Academy Award.