[november 10. 2010. 19h18]
being prepared in case someone else is not prepared may make the difference between having a chance to live out your fantastic creative dreams of presenting beautiful poetry to your french students, and feeling sorry for yourself and all of your great ideas that, unprepared, could not come to the rescue in the clutch.
after discovering yesterday that my class today would likely have only three students, as the others are all out doing work placement work, i got to thinking: maybe the instructor won’t want to delve into the lesson we prepared for the whole class. and so, i prepared for my lovely THREE a lesson (in the two hours before class) on a poem from the book “Steady Hands, Poems about Work”… since they are part of the professional section of the school & it would make a great gateway into talking about characteristics of different professions, thereby giving them a chance not only to reflect on their preferred work characteristics, but a chance to explore HOW TO TALK AbOUT THem. and since i was right – that the instructor wouldn’t know what to do with three students – i got to teach the whole lesson. on a poem. called: “Fisherman”. and, guess what. only two of the three had been fishing! and me – who has been fishing maybe three times in my life, i got to talk about tackle boxes, and fishing lure, the anatomy of a fishing pole… and to describe the following image “…before the sun/ has stretched her arms/ into the morning.” yes. i did.
later that same day: after discovering that i could not afford to take the train to paris (as tomorrow, being armistice day, is a day free of work), i decide to layer-up (like a mille-feuille ), put a few things in my back-pack, my headphones on my head & sidle into town towards the library.
BAM: double-full-arc-rainbows in front of me, traversing the very avenue i am walking down.
a man and a woman, 50s/60s walking towards me may not have seen it! i point, i point… the woman looks cross, disturbed, cross. i take my headphones away from my ears, “il y a un arc-en-ciel!” there’s a rainbow, i say. the woman looks disturbed, cross, disturbed. the man looks over his shoulder. “oui,” he says, “evidement.” yes, evidently.
at first i think. really? i want to punch you in the back of your heads! but a little further down the street, two young men are standing side-by-side & one is taking a picture & i think: this is it. they know how beautiful the scene in front of them is. so i stop to chat & ask if this happens often – full rainbows over cholet. they say rainbows aren’t so unusual, but the double rainbow is. & we chat some more about this and that. and then i am en route again to the library. and it is not until later, when i am walking back towards home carrying some groceries that i think: if i were up in my head, walking along & someone tried to jump in to my head space, i might look cross & disturbed & cross as well… and i wondered what that woman and that man – but particularly that woman – were carrying. if not groceries, then perhaps something else.
at the library, i return some things & pick two erik satie CDs and an israeli movie about three roommates, one of whom falls in love with a palestinian. then, upstairs, in the reading area where the wall of windows looks out on the bus terminal below, and buildings, and the top of the cathedral that marks the center of town, i take out my notes & write a sketch of my lesson plans for each of my classes for the next week. the library will soon close. i pick up to leave before i am asked to – preferring the feeling of leaving unrushed. besides, i have been tasting pain au chocolate from my favorite bakery. alors! allez-y! off we go.
in the street it is already dusk, smells of winter – smoke from chimneys and cold. i walk to my bakery, my favorite of those i’ve tried, where everything tastes like real butter & a lot of it, and the dough is the right texture and the fillings are flavorful and i order my pain au chocolate & put it in my backpack where it will not be crushed & carry on to the supermarket (deluxe! grande! with a bright and diverse array… not so much like the supermarket nearest home…) i’ve come for the veggie burgers they carry that i cannot find in the “simply market” across the road from my abode. but, in addition to just this (two packs), i leave with a bottle of wine, a packet of dates, a net of clementines, spicy ketchup (as i’m running out & i’ve discovered this to be a staple of my condiment selection this year), a head of fresh lettuce, a box of tea, and a box of tampons, which i could have put off buying, but there was hebrew among the other languages on the outside of the carton, so i really couldn’t resist making the purchase right then and there.
my afternoon caffeine (the coffee i drank before the walk) kicking in on a fairly empty stomach, i know it is time to sit down & snack before i walk back home (about 3 km). and so i carry my things to a square that is made to look like a giant sitting room – a faux bookcase two-stories high makes one leg of the perimeter, street-lamps that look like floor lamps stand next to cut metal benches that resemble rather gallant and delicate settees. i sit down. i take out my pain au chocolate. i feast. and, when the moment is right, i walk home, ruminating already on these ruminations on numerable gifts and good things.
what time is it when you take your watch off? time to put away the groceries, heat up the left overs, uncork that luxury you’ve paid for in the calories it took you to get it home, write out the day, ride out the day.