Thursday, December 10, 2009

"It Sounds Like a Disease"

Today was one of those days. I think everyone has one just before Christmas, if you don't have ten. I woke up on the wrong side of the futon because my Asiago cheese bagel got stuck in the toaster and everything went downhill from there. I strongly considered calling in sick, if only to prevent myself from making some poor child cry, but I was too embarrassed to call in sick because my desk is an unholy mess. I ended up in my classroom, ten minutes before first period, literally, out loud, talking to myself: "Do NOT scream at the children. It's only first period. They haven't done anything yet."

My classes, as it often happens on those days, ended up cheering me up rather than bringing me down. One of my kids, who we'll call Oliver, asked me while we were having some composing time, "Miss Eyre, what's a word that means, like, feeling more than one feeling at once?"

I knew what he meant. "How about ambivalent?" I suggested.

He tried it on for size. "Ambivalent," he repeated. "That's an adjective, right?"

"You got it," I said. "The noun form would be ambivalence."

His tablemate, Jemima, commented, "It sounds like a disease. Like, 'Wow, you have ambivalence? That sucks.'"

"Like, 'Oh, I'm calling in sick. I have ambivalence,'" I offered.

We all laughed. But as I walked away, I thought, in fact, that ambivalence is a fine reason for calling in sick. Maybe I'll call in with ambivalence tomorrow. God knows I have it right now.