Tonight on my way home from tutoring, I saw a hardened old, grocery store clerk snarl at another employee while arranging a strange winter display of watermelon outside the storefront. And just when my mind was made up about said curmudgeonly store clerk, I watched him secretly slip an ice cube from his watermelon display to an aging golden retriever passing by on the street. It was a quick reversal of thoughts–from resenting this old man for yelling publicly at a coworker, to loving him for sharing an ice cube. Of course as frequently happens when a pregnant person experiences two emotions too close together, this little gesture made me tear up at the crosswalk between 92nd and 93rd street.
“Good luck, sweetie,” my mom told me, “I’ll rub my kangaroo testicles for you.”
She said it so off-hand, as though this were a perfectly normal thing to do for your daughter.
Of course I spluttered back, which I am sure was gratifying for her. Apparently my mom’s friends from Australia sent her a pair of Kangaroo Testicles, the Australian equivalent of a rabbit foot?
“I love them,” she admitted. “Sometimes I hang them from my chandelier to see if the ladies during my book club notice. Here, I’ll send you a picture.”
She forgot for a few hours but then finally did send me the photo of her good luck charm. I felt strangely–so strangely–comforted. Maybe Kangaroo Testicles would do just the trick.
I’ve never been one to believe in luck, to be honest. I believed in hard work, and grit, and sure things. That’s part of the reason why I went into teaching. Teaching was a defined path with a clear outcome–one that could be obtained by hard work and grit. And I think, save for a few tired weeks, I was mostly a good teacher.
I’ve dreamed up blog posts where I offer up an explanation the hiatus I’m taking from teaching, but I’ve agonized about how to write them. Ultimately I realized that I don’t really owe anyone an explanation, and what’s more, I couldn’t give you a great one except that taking a break felt like the right thing to do. And Un/Fortunately, taking this break has forced me to take a little step onto an unknown ledge. A ledge that I’ve always steered far away from.
I’m learning what it’s like to sit in uncertainty, and I’d be lying if I said that it wasn’t deeply uncomfortable. What I will say for myself is that I’ve gotten much closer to a part of myself that I’ve always liked maybe even more than my teacher self-my writer self.
I’ve done some great freelancing in the past, but I’m hoping to break into more professional writer circles, so I’m looking to pick up a few more freelance gigs. I’m looking for leads. I’m going to (gulp) network. Here I am, on the edge of discomfort, asking any of you for leads.
I think I am going to need my own pair of Kangaroo Testicles.
I went out to a late lunch with former students today (they were literally late, some things never change.)
But they arrived with the excuse, “Sorry we’re late, but it’s ok because I brought glasses.”
I spent a glorious summer day yesterday ambling through a street fair in the Upper West Side. I stopped at Paper Source, bought myself a planner, soaked in the objectively perfect weather, and tried to stay off Facebook. It was an exercise in willful ignorance.
I want to write something honest. I want to uncork the bottle that Jeremy filled up. I want to stare out a window and do that legato slide from content to complex. I want to write something real, something major, something that doesn’t ice skate or dilly dally or dance across the surface of the stream.
Don’t panic: I don’t want this to become an infertility blog anymore than you do. It has been, is, and shall remain a blog about what ever random thinking I happen to be doing at the time. But at this current time, I just so happen to be thinking about infertility– specifically mine–so here we are.
I tried to approach this post from a literary perspective–I tried to weave in all the literary Toms–Sawyer, Riddle, and Robinson–that made an impact on me. It was a little trite. I’ve bonded with these characters (yes, even Voldemort), but our relationship exists on a page. They don’t really compare to my first and preeminent Tom. Such comparisons were hollow and ineffective because Tom Sawyer didn’t dig a grave for my lizards, Hercermer and Cheerioh. Tom Robinson (from To Kill A Mockingbird, trust me, it was confusing for me to disassociate when I first read that book in sixth grade), didn’t hold me for hours while I sobbed when our childhood dog passed away. And Tom Riddle certainly didn’t help me through bleary eyes, rinse Hufflepuff’s habitat out when it was her turn to go.
Here’s a visual summary of March 16, 2017:
The Absence of Joy
The teacher called from the front of the room
With no response, she finally looks up.
The students blink blankly back
Like cursors on a computer screen.
She filled in a bubble.
Joy was absent.