Today was completely enjoyable. Jimmy and I slept late, then Mimi brought us to the park. It was fascinating to watch children interact – there was little to no hesitation in making introductions and starting games. They behaved as if no one was watching and if someone was, then who cared? It was freeing.
My heart broke a little when I saw a little boy wander off behind the swings, pull of his shorts, remove his diaper, and just relieve himself. He couldn’t have been older than two years old, and his father couldn’t see him from his perch on a bench on the completely other side of the park. He was chatting up a single mother beside him and screaming obscenities into a smart phone. The neglect was obvious and yet unavoidable – who were any of us to give a lecture? We didn’t know the man or the child or what they may have been through. But still – isn’t it common sense, isn’t it decent to love your child enough so that they aren’t whispered about, so that they are clean and children want to befriend them, not ridicule them and think them gross?
I have a second interview at a high school in Oakland, New Jersey. It’s about two hours away, and I’m teaching a twenty-minute mock lesson that introduces The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I am tremendously excited because not only is The Great Gatsby my favorite novel of all time, but I think my introductory lesson is innovative. I’m having the “students” free associate with images that represent the novel, the author and the time period. Each student will compose a list of five to seven words, and then the class will come together to share the words and create a class-generated word web. Hopefully my interviewers will find it impressive as well.
I’ve been incredibly stressed about my work situation as of late. I need a full-time teaching job, but do not really have the resources to relocate. I’m happy about the second interview in Oakland, but I worry that it isn’t practical. Besides, the high school I was employed by last year and which is close to my current residence should be conducting interviews soon. I just wish I could know for sure. It’d make decision making so much easier.
PROMPT: “I just had the weirdest dream about you.”
John stood back, in a far corner of the bookstore. He had strategically positioned himself between the aisle filled with paperback novels about robust men and busty women, and the aisle filled with books about travel and cooking. He believed such a position showcased his interests nicely, and he didn’t have to say a word. It was subtle – more subconscious than anything else – and he thought it was working. A couple of attractive men had walked by once or twice, stealing glances from between shelves, offering smiles that appeared harmless enough, but John knew better. He was feeling confident, pretending to leaf through a popular novel about a brooding and noble vampire doing his utmost to woo a young woman whom was seemingly plain to the untrained eye but in reality, she was everything. As juvenile and feminine as the material was, John enjoyed it. It made for great material when he wanted to live vicariously in a melodramatic, whirlwind romance – all he was ever searching for.
Suddenly, a tall, cool glass of water swept gracefully into John’s peripheral and he was thirsty. Dark hair that was longer than what was fashionable because this man was too cool to care; dark eyes that always seemed constricted so that he was either constantly thinking or constantly about to burst into uncontrollable laughter; lips that were fuller than those commonly found on a man and that seemed completely kissable, like they were made for no other reason than to be kissed; and a thin build that implied he was too independent and too much of a free-thinker to go to the gym, but that he cared about his bodily appearance all the same. He was perfect; exactly what John had walked in looking for.
But was this stranger looking? He looked the part of an intelligent, young man in genuine search for a book to consume his spare time – or his lonely nights. What if John approached him, only to be greeted by a cold shoulder? John could be persistent and at least give it a try – he had to. He was reminded of the ancient mantra of “if you don’t try, you’ll never know.” He committed himself to talking to the beautiful man before he left, but that was the easy part. The hard part was figuring out how to try.
John supposed he could casually stroll over and inform the man that he would find nothing of interest upon the shelf he was currently perusing. He could pretend to be some literary buff and lead the man to the classics aisle, with names like Hemingway, Faulkner and Fitzgerald emblazoned upon the spines. If the man was a literary buff, he’d have a common interest (which John would have to quickly develop and authenticate). If he was not, he’d most likely be impressed. John considered the approach, but felt uneasy.
Wasn’t the general rule of thumb to be yourself? If that was so, then John needed to deliver a witty line – he prized himself on his cleverness and his ability to turn a phrase. But John did not prize himself on his ability to work under pressure – he needed time to prepare. Smoothing the hair daring to be unkempt at the sides of his head, John deliberated as to whether or not he should go with a time-honored pickup line.
“Are your legs tired? Because you’ve been running through my mind.”
“I just had the weirdest dream about you.”
Furious with himself, John slammed his book and exited the store. The young man looked after him.