Illadelph Bass-life Day 1: The Long Winding Road

by pronounced "ahhh" like a sigh

That’s the song that was playing in my head during that satanic ritual disguised as a teacher orientation. I have the attention span of a half gnat 10 year old boy after a kool-aid bender. I can give you 15 minutes at a time tops. Hell, actually, I can give you 10 minutes of rapt attention, where I’m totally listening to everything you have to say lady, I love your bracelet and 5 minutes of staring at you while I think about unicorns or play Tetris in my head (Yes, I really do this.). Not to mention the fact, that this impromptu (at least for me) teacher orientation had about 20 minutes of programming geared towards me. The rest was geared towards Philadelphia public school teachers, of which I am not. Actually, let’s start at the beginning… a very good place to start (word to the Sound of Music.).

After a night of fuckery and whatever the hell Tremaine Songstein (Trey Songz) was doing on the BET Awards, I went to bed almost immediately because I had to be up at 4 in order to shower and make my 5:15AM train. This train guaranteed that I would be in Philly by 6:45-7 if it was pushing it. The other train would get me there at 7:29 and since I needed to be in the school by 8, I didn’t want to push it. Please, take this time to admire how responsible and grown up I’m being. It will end shortly. Anyway, I make it to 30th Street Station and steady myself. I have 30 minutes. I can eat. I can go over my morning warm-up (yes, prepared. Continue to admire the sheer awesomeness of my being all mature and shit.). I eat my “squagle” (Really, Cosi? Squagle? really?) slow enough to really taste it but quick enough to remind myself I had no time for the dilly and dallying and the meandering and the smelling the roses and shit. I have very important teacher like grown things to do. At around 7:30, I leave Cosi and exit through the 29th Street um.. well, exit.  (that’s where you catch the cabs out this jawn. Look at me already talking like I live here. You’re welcome.). I hop into the first cab I see. And meet my delightful Cabbie, Parminder. Parminder is a Punjabi from India. (I know this because of his turban and also because I saw Bend It Like Beckham 8 times… in theatres. I love that movie.) I give Punjab P the address and he is on it. We drive… and drive… and drive… and drive… 23 dollars later, we pull up to a the back of the school. We can’t find the entrance. Not only can we not find the entrance but it doesn’t look like anybody is there. Punjab P (on his job!) sees some life at the far corner of the school and he drives through the parking lot onto the basketball court, just in time to see an older gentleman ambling around the corner.  I swipe my card through the thing and give P a hefty tip (on his j-o!), I wish him well and thanks and dart out of the cab. Picture me, Balenciaga knock off holding every toiletry I own and my laptop, Darius. And then Puma bag stuffed to the gills with as many clothes and shoes one can stuff into a Puma bag. I also have on a denim skirt (74AM) with a split in the front and some top that isn’t worth mentioning and my trusty Havaianas. It was an awful, sweaty, over packed mess but a-ha! It’s 7:55, I am on time! Kinda… I round the corner and see a group of people standing outside. The school is locked. Oh… really? I remember that we aren’t allowed to wear flip flops in class so I rummage through my bag and pull out Ked wedges. I bought them IN Philly like a month ago so I only wear them when I’m in Philly. It makes sense just don’t think too hard about it.

Just as the crowd is starting to get restless, a man opens the door from the inside, in order to post a note that says… “NO SCHOOL TODAY. CLASSES WILL BEGIN TOMORROW.” I’m sorry… what? I fire off a bunch of cranky ass texts and Facebook status of woe and prepare to put my damn flip flops back on. Around me there is a buzzing. There is a murmur in the crowd half the crowd acknowledging they knew this (more on that later) and the other half well… Blackin’ it up. My people, my people. When they storm off leaving a trail of obscenities behind them, the other side makes their way inside. Wait… what? I being the follower that I am *smirk* (and also needing the Ladies) I make my own jolly way through the double doors. A tall black woman directs us to room 201, the orientation will start shortly. I’m sorry… what? Apparently, there was some orientation that people (who weren’t me) were emailed about. I… did not know this. So now I’m stuck in an orientation that I assume will only last about an hour tops. What do they really have to say… I’ve never been more wrong in my life. Not only did the orientation topics didn’t apply to me (all I needed to know was what room I was teaching in.) but they lasted 7 freakin’ hours. I IM Yesha (@flyblackchick) and tell her that I’m going to die. I’ll skip the gory details just know I have a new BFF in the form of 67 year old, Arthur, the art teacher. He’s awesome and also in the same, “um… all I need to know is where to put my supples” boat as I am.

I have the attention span of a half a ladybug. I could not focus for nothing. I would stare at the lady intently, even nodding a few times like I heard anything she said. I heard nothing. Instead my mind wandered into cringeworthy and guilty conscience things I did during the latter part of 2009. I swear, I feel like I”m going to have to join a nunnery in order to be completely absolved but whoa. Arthur filled me in on the 10 minutes that applied to us. The worst.

And now, I’m in 30th Street Station (new BFF Arthur dropped me off. School is hella far.)  to ground myself. Funny how a week ago this place was anxiety and tremble, now it’s the place I feel just a little bit centered. A little bit like, “I know this place.” I’m in Cosi, not eating the world’s biggest salad and making use of their free wi-fi. I’m exhausted. And still have miles to go before I sleep. And sleep I will.

(Edit: I typed a whole long thing and then when I went to publish, the internet died and it only saved the stuff on top. I’ll take that as a sign that I didn’t need to say what I wrote. I’m listening, Universe.)

Only day one,


PS. Did I mention that I was teaching theatre? Yeah… THEATRE! The fuck I know about dra…. I’m going to be awesome at this.