Thursday, September 20, 2007

Center Of My Own Universe

You gotta hand it to my Young, Cheerful Teaching Assistant. She hangs in there. I call her my Young, Cheerful Teaching Assistant because she was only hired last spring. She hasn't yet had the opportunity to spend much "quality" time with me. I get a lot of Cheerful Teaching Assistants. They come to me as bright and shiny as pretty new pennies. By Christmas, they are a bit more jaded. Their cheerful demeanor has dwindled a bit. Sure, they are still rather pleasant and always respectful. But it is somewhat wearing to be around me for great lengths of time. I know this and don't hold their lack of cheer against them come the New Year. They are doing their best. This year, I'm off to another stellar start with regard to breaking the spirit of my newest Cheerful acquisition. The poor thing entered the classroom this morning to be greeted by her supervisor (me) saying:

You are going to have a very bad day tomorrow.

To her credit, she did not allow this to dampen her general cheeriness too much. She'd stopped for a nice tea and pastry on the way to school and this always helps matters. Thus, she was able to muster up a Good Morning despite my less than appropriate greeting. She even took the risk and asked why, perchance, her day might be less than delightful tomorrow.

I assumed a solemn expression (as befit the subject matter) and spake in sepulchral tones in order that the full gravity of the situation be appreciated:

I have a cold. And, while today is clearly fraught with cold symptoms, tomorrow is promising to be worse. This is not just any cold, mind you. That we might be able to deal with. No. This is my Fall Cold. My Fall Cold is not just a regular cold. It is a cold of epic proportions which demands that we cease discussing any and all other topics. We must focus only upon my well-being and the status of my cold. This is a very, very serious thing. I have taken the liberty of putting together a little folder of material that you can peruse this morning so that we will all be on the same page with regard to my Fall Cold and the emotional treatment thereof. I would ask that you pay particular attention to the third tabbed section marked, "How to react authentically to The Sheep's recitation of current cold symptoms and needs that she would like met immediately."

Bless her little heart, she never flinched. While even I could tell that her eyes were glazing over about ten minutes into the whole recitation, she really did maintain an air of interest. By then I was fully involved in a dramatic display of how I could make my nose drip by merely leaning forward slightly. A lesser Cheerful Teaching Assistant might have made for the hills at that point. Not mine, though. She even managed to nod thoughtfully when I pointed out the relationship between the severity of my cold symptoms and the tendency of my hair to go sort of flat. I lose a great deal of follicular body and bounce when I have a cold. It is a rather telling sign and one that those who are charged with monitoring my viral status should be aware of.

When I paused to take a breath, she took advantage of the opportunity. She said:

Well, that is so very, very sad. But, I won't really have such a bad day tomorrow. I won't be here. Remember? I'm out tomorrow. We discussed this. Many, many times. But, I'm really very sorry that you aren't feeling well. Gosh, I sure hope you feel better soon. It would be just super-swell if you were feeling all perky and happy for the weekend!

Isn't she darling? So innocent. So just hate to crush her. But, it must be done. She won't last the year with me, the neediest of all human beings, if she doesn't toughen up a bit. I thought about her words and reflected upon their meaning for me. No Cheerful Teaching Assistant tomorrow? To whom will I relay the progression of my cold symptoms? Where will I turn if I need to make that high-pitched whining sound in the back of my throat? Not the kids. Most of them have been with me for a few years now and their cheeriness has been missing-in-action for longer than I can remember. This could be serious. So I asked:

Do you have a cell phone?

I find it odd that, in this day and age, a young person doesn't have a cell phone or even know someone from whom she could borrow one. I mean, really! I have yet to see anyone under the age of thirty without one of those darned things glued to their ear. I guess that beeping sound that sometimes comes from her purse is an alarm of some sort. Maybe something to remind her to take her Happy Pills...

It's that or my Cheerful Teaching Assistant is not going to make it to the Christmas holidays with her Cheer intact. Another one bites the dust...

My Fall Cold is quite the annual event. It's not like my winter or spring illnesses where I have little to no warning. The Fall Cold makes its arrival known well in advance. There are the headaches, sneezes and other assorted aches 'n pains. I'm tired and have minimal energy. I have to conserve what little "oomph" I have in order that I might think about my Fall Cold and how horrible it is going to be.

There is no avoiding the Fall Cold. I get it every year right after the start of school. It's like clockwork. There are no over-the-counter or folk remedies that have successfully gotten me out of the Fall Cold. Much like taxes, you simply have to pay. Fighting it will do you no good. The last gasp of summer comes with certain types of pollen that don't like me so much. And the kids have missed me during their summer vacation. They like to show their delight in seeing me again through fond embraces and borrowing my pencils then walking around with them clamped in their teeth. I'm a cold waiting to happen.

The Fall Cold. It's a yearly event. And it is upon us. I say, "us" because there is no way I am going to suffer in silence with this. It is just my way. And, without the buffer of the Cheerful Teaching Assistant, there is every reason to believe I will be casting my net rather wide tomorrow looking for sympathetic ears.

It also looks like I'll be in for the weekend. The fact that I had to sit down while watching my dinner cook on the sandwich grill is not a good sign. I'm hoping to break out the purple scarf that I showed last weekend since it is a nice, simple project and one that I hope to have done for the holidays. Those of you who guessed that this was my own handspun were dead on! This is really just about the best yarn I have ever spun and, through the dulling glaze of the cold medications, you can detect just the littlest glow from my pride. The singles are even, but it's the plying that makes me want to run through the streets with this yarn and declare my genius. It is tight and consistent, with all the sproingy-ness that I could desire. I love this yarn and have decided that I am not going to beat myself up over the fact that I am using it for such a humble scarf. That could also be a side-effect of the cold medications but, if it means that I can get a Christmas gift done before the holidays roll around then I'm fine with better living through pharmaceuticals. I need the scarf.

My Cheerful Teaching Assistant is going to need some sort of gift if I plan on her staying through until summer. This is just my first cold of the season, after all.



Jeanne said...

Oh, man. The Fall Cold. Keeping you in on a weekend, no less. Well, get some rest, and feel better soon. Eat a bunch of chicken soup.

Donna Lee said...

Teaching is good for fall colds. I used to get one every September. Now that I am with the same people all the time, we just all share whatever our families bring home. And then we bring them home to share with our families. It's just one big circle of sharing.
Sorry you feel sucky. There are so many pharmaceuticals to mix and match. Think of the experimentation!

Anonymous said...

"Better living through pharmaceuticals" - I like it!

Perhaps a rare Friday night post will be in order so that you might receive the sympathy from your faithful readers that you won't be getting from your Cheerful Teaching Assistant.

kmkat said...

I personally swear by vitamin C, taken every hour at the very first -- and I mean the VERY FIRST! -- symptom. Yeah, there is no scientific basis for it but it works for me and has worked for the last 10 years.

In the absence of a real cure for the common cold, I give you my heartfelt sympathy. It was the having to sit down while waiting for you dinner to cook that touched my heart.

trek said...

I am in my first cold of the season - and I had to go to Back to School Night tonight, for which I had to make lemon bars - and I have to lecture for six hours tomorrow - and Number Guy wants to haul us all up to New Hampshire for a bagpiping competition this weekend - and did I mention my head, ears, AND throat all ache right now?

Beth said...

Maybe some black and white cookies would help your cold symptoms. It's worth a try! :) I agree with Julie - you'd better let us know how you're doing tomorrow night.

holly said...

Ditto Julie's response. Your posts always crack me up. Heh, they might need to call in a sub so you can stay home and knit. It took me exactly 3 days to be back in school before I got it, and now it's traveling through the family, affecting my allergy-prone child who was just dying to stay home today with all his symptoms, but you know I had to go to work so I could be exposed all over again. Hang in there, Sheep.....and we do expect an updated post tomorrow night if you want any sympathy from us ;)

Mel said...

Maybe you should have whooped.

Anonymous said...

Feel better!

Mia said...

Well Sheepie.. sorry to hear about the fall cold, but whatever cold meds you're taking are definitely good for the Sheepie sense of humor *grin*

"sepulchral tones"

Gotta love it when you get a chance to toss in little items like that :) I bet you're FUN to work for... but the leaning forward and nose dripping thing, not so much ::laughing::

Cursing Mama said...

I do believe The Fall Cold has been making its way through my system too. It is not pleasant, and it involves the use of many, many tissues.

I do hope that yours runs its course quickly. The Fall Cold - not your nose, that would just be weird & distressing.

Geraldine said...

Sniffle,sniffle....hoping you are all clear soon!!! Take care of yourself Sheep. Im back to blogland, as of this weekend, so looking forward to catching up on all the news.

Huggs, G

April said...

I really need to quit eating while I read your blog ...


Rani said...

My first 'teaching-assistant' job found me directing the school musical while my mentor was out on sick-leave (two weeks - including the performance).

I was no longer cheerful.

But this gave me thick skin for when I became a full fledged teacher.

Lorraine said...

Been there, done that! That fall cold must work it's way from west to east.

And I refuse to accept the idea that this latest round of sneezing and coughing is another cold . . . it would be too brutal to get TWO fall colds!

Knit on, Sheepy, and get well!