Thursday, April 15, 2010
The teacher left seating charts, which helped, at least insofar as I could get the kids to sit in the seats assigned to them. Taking attendance is a minefield. All the Spanish names you'd think would be pretty straightforward but they're not. Some kids won't acknowledge you unless you roll that double R like Charo. And the next kid gets angry if you pronounce Gabriel with a long A. "It's Gay-briel!" I can't even begin to parse the politics going on there. And there's always a couple indigenous names with Xs that are never pronounced the same twice. It made me laugh that a black girl named Ty'quishia was delighted when I called her name -- she said, "You're the first sub to say my name right!"
It's so draining. I guess getting up at 5:30 is a factor. But the emotional exhaustion of being such a close witness to the mess of these kids' lives, it's heart-wrenching and it wears me out. It's like they've never had any socialization, any civilizing influences in their lives. They're like very smart 2-year-olds. Every now and then there's one who is hostile, but for the most part they're just clueless. They have no self-discipline; they literally cannot control themselves. It's like a nursery and an insane asylum and an animal shelter. They're adorable, hilarious, extremely manipulative, and sad as hell. They're feral is what they are.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The other thing is that I'm in a complicated, sort of rough patch in my personal life. Well, most everything is fine except for the fact that I am broke and have no income. And money trouble fucks everything else up. It's the baby on the bus that won't stop screaming so you can't read, you can't sleep, you can't have a conversation. So when I start to blog about my personal life, which I usually kind of enjoy doing, it just all sounds so depressing and I'm tired of talking about how hard life is lately.
Still, since that's what's going on, I decided to just write it down and post it. Maybe getting it down will help me to put things in perspective, and allow me to think about and write about and enjoy some other things besides the litany of woes.
I have about $600 left in the bank. My student loans ripened, or whatever it is they call it, this month, with the first payments due on the 15th, I think. I applied for a deferment on account of unemployment. I didn’t pay my credit card bills this month. I have about $18,000 in credit card debt. I say that it’s from my film, Life in a Box -- originally it was, but the balance has stayed the same for 5 years because I’ve reborrowed as much as I’ve paid back. Bank of America is already starting to call me several times a day to ask me what’s up with not making payments.
In the last few months, I’ve applied for maybe 25 teaching positions in the Austin public schools, high school and middle school English, history, social studies, and one art teacher position. I haven’t been called to interview for any of these positions. I check the job listings on their web site every day and fax resumes when there are any new positions I’m even remotely qualified for. I continue to sub in the Austin schools. I get about 2 or 3 days of work per month at $80 day.
I picked up an application at Bookpeople this week. I could enjoy working at a book store. The pay is $7.25/hour. I haven't had a job that paid that little since I worked at Pearl Paint in New York in 1982. I don’t think I could pay my bills and rent and groceries for that, even as simply and cheaply as I live. I applied for food stamps this week, too. If I am eligible, I’ll get about $200/month. That’ll help. MP, my housemate, told me last night that a friend, who is a nurse, might have a part-time job for me that pays $10/hour. It has something to do with paging doctors. She’s going to call me.
In about 10 days, I can start trying again to get into a drug study. (They won’t take you if you’ve been out of the country recently, so I have to wait 30 days from when I was in Mexico.)
I need about $1,000 to enroll in the July course in teaching English as a second language. I want to have that certification so I’ll have some chance of finding employment in Mexico City when M and I go there, which could be in about a year, depending on whether or not and when he gets a research fellowship. If I can get into one of the higher paying drug studies, it’s possible I could have enough money to get through the summer and pay for the course. The only drawback to the higher paying studies is that they often require you to stay in the facility for weeks, sometimes as much as a month. The advantage is that the facility is air-conditioned.
I was floundering like this when I first moved here, almost 4 years ago. I got the great idea to go back to school, thinking that might open up some possibility for income. I went to school for 2 1/2 years, got a B.A. Now I floundering again. And I have another $15,000 of debt. I’ve never been quite so much at a loss for how to make a living as I have been the last few months.Work:
Tomorrow is the cutoff date for fundraising for my film, Men & Boys, on Kickstarter. I didn’t even break $1,000 out of the $5,000 goal. So, Men & Boys is on the back burner for a while. I have another project that I’m inspired by, though. It doesn’t have a name yet. It’s a short video, composed of the text of my high school diary with photographs from that time. The technique will be similar to Tarnation, but without the home video footage. I haven’t decided if I want to use voice-over, text on screen, or actually scan the diary text and find a way to make it scroll across the screen. The diary contains a long entry in which I come out to myself. I think, I hope, that it could be a very funny, moving piece. The best thing about this project is that I don’t need a cent to make it. I have Final Cut and a scanner, which is all I need.
I’ve been seeing M since around Thanksgiving last year, but I've resisted writing much here about him. Is it because we might be still in that phase where every revelation could be a rock on the rail, every admission of vulnerability feels like a dive off a cliff? I’m ready for that phase to be over. I want to speak clearly about this miraculous new love that grows bigger every day so that my heart feels like it will explode. I know that sounds overdramatic, but I mean it literally. Sometimes I can hardly breathe.
MP and JP are making progress on the container house they’re building for J and me. Possibly this summer, it will be ready for us to move in. When this project started, a year and a half ago, life was pretty different. J and I were like spinster aunts, with our circumscribed domestic life together. Things have gotten all stirred up in the last few months. I’m away from home a lot, spend most nights at M’s. I still cook for J and me, but not as regularly. M and I talk about the possibility of living together in the future, with no set date. M is entangled as well. He lives with a friend in a domestic arrangement similar to J’s and mine, though his friend is not a former partner. They have a lease, they have a way in which they’re accustomed to living together, a friendship, things they rely on each other for. Sometimes it feels impossibly complicated to me, on top of, or maybe because of, the sadness I feel about my changing friendship with J. And my financial insecurity lately makes all these issues particularly hard to see with any clarity.
Summer is coming, and frankly I’m scared. I don’t want to be furious and depressed from May until October, but I fear I am no match for it.