It always seems as if bad luck or hard stuff comes in strings of three.
Like when I bought my last new car. The very first time I tried to drive it, the battery was dead. After jump-starting it, I drove to work and parked it in the university lot where someone gave it its first dent. On the ride home, a stone hit the windshield and cracked it.
Or two weeks ago. . .
After my one year old coffee maker died, I bought a new and more expensive one out of disgust for cheap products and/or planned obsolescence. Three pots of coffee later, an accident in the kitchen shattered the new glass pot. It cost me more to replace than the entire appliance before it. I am now waiting for the third shoe to drop.
Or last week . . .
which was much more hectic than usual thanks mostly to three Christmas parties: Sunday with the Dumb Brothers, Monday with my school teachers and administrating parents, and Tuesday with my former university colleagues. I enjoyed all three of them and wouldn’t want to have missed them. But they did suck up most of my energy reserves (not to mention all of my blogging time!) Wednesday’s five hour team meeting zapped what was left over, so by . . .
yesterday . . .
I was running on exhaustion-induced nervous energy. Despite getting nine (!) hours of sleep, I could barely drag myself out of bed in the morning. The first news on arriving at work: one of my fellow teachers was home sick with the flu. I could toss out my lesson plans – it was time to improvise as the Number Three stalked me throughout the day.
First I had to manage teaching three English groups simultaneously for the first two hours. It kept me running from room to room – the 10 year olds learning food vocabulary with puzzles and cards and matching worksheets, the 11 year olds learning to tell the time (which is a lot more complicated than one would think!) and the 12 year olds drawing the atoms of different elements and creating their own English periodic table. During the break, I found myself responsible for monitoring both floors of the schoolhouse along with the playground, because my other two colleagues had a meeting scheduled with the visiting parents. This meant constant hall roaming and stair climbing and donning and shedding of coats and shoes. Through sheer dumb luck, my visit to one room coincided perfectly with a fight breaking out between two boys and I was able to physically wedge myself between them before any punches landed. As we three all talked one another down, I vaguely registered shouting coming from upstairs and a door slamming down the hall.
Post-break, I helped the 13 and 14 year olds stage and rehearse their abridged version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” for our pageant next week, while simultaneously keeping an eye on three boys outside the room who were supposedly doing geometry AND while answering the badly timed and intrusive questions of another three students who were learning English conditional sentences. While rehearsing with the other nine pupils, none of the pens in my case worked, so I made three mental notes about the props I should bring from home. (Where I am now – and for the life of me I can’t remember what they were.)
After the third school bus left at the end of the day, my colleague Mark and I had our traditional smoking break. I confessed my surprise at feeling so exhausted after getting so much sleep the night before. He replied that it would be unnatural to NOT be tired. “Look at that gray sky. Consider how few hours of sunshine or even daylight we have right now. Our instincts are telling us to hibernate. To tank up on sleep and conserve our energy. To take it easy. To be . . . tired.”
But our (economy-driven) society is telling us the opposite. Now is the time – more than any other in the year – to consume, to party, to go into overdrive . . .
It’s not natural.
I have three more Christmas celebrations next week: with my girlfriends, the music school and my students. Immediately thereafter it will be Christmas-For-Real. The 24th at home, the 25th with my husband’s extended family and the 26th with treasured friends. I don’t want to miss any of these so I will make it by running on nervous energy, love of family and friends, and the power of nostalgia. And by knowing that after the festival of lights, there will be two gloriously empty weeks in a row to catch up on my hibernating.