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Arte De Clase
Nov 28, 2008


Was I going back to high school? There I was in the cafeteria on day one, accompanied by Scott Leahy and someone else. It was not an eating scene though. there may have been some food but it was till frozen or in boxes, still in transition, just as all the kids were - standing in twos and threes, either to chat or in waiting for their new schedules. We made our way through a kinetic cafeteria, still unsure why we were there, and feeling a little different and more cautious than the rest of the students. after all, if anything were like reality in our own identities, well, we'd already graduated high school, and college for that matter, more than 6 years ago.

Something was in place though. in dreams, everything is out of place but somehow in place. We walked through the hallways with skinny little yellow lockers feeling the vibes from the unspoken power relations between individuals, or individual pairs and triplets of people. I felt confident but I was not necessarily powerful. perhaps i was not seen.

I finally asked an adult (whether she was a teacher or anonymous "faculty" member didnt matter; in high school every adult would know everything, barring lunch ladies and janitors) where I could find my schedule for the upcoming semester. She pointed me to a line. The line was 5 or 6 people deep. Scott and I wanted to be somewhere, but i had no choice but to wait. at round table were seated one or two teachers. One of them may have been Mrs. Walsh; and if not, Mrs Walsh may have shown up in my dream at another point. In any case her presence was felt.

At the table there were packets of papers. The cover sheet on each packet had the name of the person the packet pertained to, as well as some other information.
They found mine, and I opened it.

I had had dreams before of highschool. It looked very similar to my real highschool, some of the corners and hallways were identical. In my dream, though, the lockers were smalller. And there were some rooms that resembled daycare centers, with bright colored blocks and games, dark brown carpets, and no desk-chairs. Still, highschool in my dream was never a comforting place; there was always a risk of being late for class, or in some cases, missing the class entirely, usually a morning math or history class, the missing of which was always trouble because it meant i would get behind and not know how to catch up. In a couple other dreams I missed almost entire semesters of a history (or was it math) class, to the point that I had forgotten they were on my shedule, and as soon as someone enlightened me to the fact that i'd missed almost the entire semester (yes, semester is a college word) i would come to know how fucked i was. sometimes i would care, sometimes i wouldnt.

this information was only background for the dream at hand, which took place on a much more hopeful day, the first day. as it turned out, it was even a sort of pre-first day. it was just the day when you get to walk through the back of the cafeteria pretending to be lost, catching glimpses of the food deliveries before they were put into the freezer, or to see lunch ladies without their hair nets, or to walk comfortably by people you might later be beat up by. why? because everyone was equal. no one had fucked up yet. no one had claimed the territory of a particular hallway or classroom or specialty. anything was possible.

On the cover of my packet of papers, it had my name and a title, supposedly of one of my classes. I thought it said Art Class - Something. I looked closer, and it actually said Arte de Clase. This meant only one thing - that I was going to be a spanish teacher! it dawned on me that this made more sense. i was older, and i knew spanish - i had just forgotten that I had signed up to be a spanish teacher. Scott was as equally surprised as I was, and it was somewhat of a joyous occasion because it meant something new; not just another year of competition, of 'will i pass', of scrutiny, of rat race. I mean, sure there would be some scrutiny, teachers have to do a job and be evaluated too. But I knew spanish very well, better than some of the teachers i had had myself. And teachers have faculty rooms I had never seen, where they sipped coffee and shared secrets and lounged around. They were the rulers of the school, and good teachers were respected.

My worriment went away when i thought about how fun i would make the class. I would show them "Amores Perros", my favorite movie in spanish, and a rather difficult dialogue to understand if you're not fluent in mexican street slang. Still, I knew the benefit of watching a movie like that... there was just enough violence and sex and reality to show the kids that spanish was important. I would have them write down words or phrases they recognized and we would talk about them afterwards. Undoubtedly, "cabron" would be one of them. kids would like learning a word like that in the first few days. it would seal my popularity. I would be a new kind of teacher, perhaps revolutionary, and undoubtedly more than just a few kids would take lifelong lessons from my wisdom.

I was in bed with Ting, telling her about my idea. She nodded in acklowedgment of its impetus but did not think it would be a good idea. that soured me a little. I still thought it was a good idea.

Scott and I were at the field. It was the field from my junior high school, but it was high school. the grass was greener than i'd ever seen it. There was a delivery truck on the side, and a guy gave me an entire platter of subs. a student might have enough money for just one of these on any given school day. but i was a teacher now. I could have entire platters of sandwhiches for free. I was overjoyed. I took the platter and thanked him and off we went.

Scott and I were walking through the highschool parking lot. it was nighttime now. I was still on my "omg i'm going to be a teacher" kick. There was a black girl walking in the same direction across the parking lot. just as in reality, I had a sensitivity towards black people. There were two of us, me and scott, and I didnt want the girl to feel threatened or anything, especially after i leaned down to stuff my heels into the back of my shoes. Scott and I were talking jovially the upcoming semester and walking at a faster pace than the black girl. I felt confident that our demeanor gave her no reason to fear us.

I looked around main street for a donut shop that might be open, but Scott had to catch a train anyway, so we said goodbye and i was alone for a brief second, the excitement beginning to wear off, like the steam rising from your skin after a hot shower, leaving your vulnerable body to its devices in cold air.