Relaxing, finally, at a genuine bakery with a New York staple – the buttered roll. What took her so long to find this place especially after all the times she’d walk by it over the past two years like she did yesterday no less! (Ok, a string of thoughts in the present, sitting here now.) It said bakery in the name. Thank goodness the light finally clicked on. “All those days pining for something that no other café offered, yet all the while this one did. All their sweet junk, gooey iced scones – blasphemy!” Of course the cappuccino was American size, a small soup bowl that beats a large coffee mug any day, too much milk, but it was good enough not to need sugar sprinkled over the top. “I do like the sugar…” Working her way through froth what Ruth could taste of the coffee wasn’t so bad. It sure wasn’t New York but it’d do.
“Take small things when they come around. The time! Better stop writing, got to get to work.”
She put the iPad away.
Should I Have Gone To Harvard, Caveat Emptor, Or Both?
One of the headlines of Yahoo News, you know that feed that runs along the page you click on ‘mail’ that takes you to your email login, yeah, right there, is going on yet again about useless degrees and wouldn’t you know mine are on the top of the list. I can’t tell you how tired I am hearing about how useless my degrees are – yes, that’s right, this isn’t the first time. What’s happening here? Are we now being directed to high paying fields, those precious few in demand, for the purpose of flooding them and then what? Is it a cheap-shot marketing stunt? Have the terrorists been at it all this time? They are such a nuisance; I’m so tired of them. Be that as it may or may not, this is how my education happened; you tell me if you think at any given moment in time I was doing something useless.
Once upon a time I thought I might go to college – someday. Now these were the times it was cool to drop out to prove your point concerning the ‘establishment’, but I’ve always liked school and thought I might go anyway possibly to become a teacher having been inspired by my 9th grade English instructor; I didn’t really know concretely just yet. The day finally came, later than I expected but still, that I was finally going to go back to school only now enough years had gone by that dropping out was a no and had become trendy bordering on in-demand to get a college education. I was in the medical profession by then and had taken my position as a nurse technician / med tech (CMT) as far as it could through certification. If I wanted to do anything else in my field I’d have to get licensure through education anyway, after all, no one gets promoted to doctor. I began my at-least-ten-year academic career majoring in Nursing figuring at the completion of a BSN continue graduate studies to become a Human Resources Administrator. Before my first semester was done I knew I didn’t have to have a degree in nursing to be in Human Resources, didn’t really want one anyway, in order to ‘pay-it-forward’ as the saying goes and take care of colleagues. After 10 years in the field I knew how to change the system, what needed improving, how to staff so medical professionals weren’t overworked beyond exhaustion – lots of stuff. My goal was to write new policy, procedure, pay scales, shifts and benefits. I would have been good.
When I changed my major I was told the best thing for me would be Philosophy, which requires a second major and if I chose Classics, especially with an emphasis in Latin, I’d still be in touch with the medical profession as pre-med, I’d also be pre-law, and pre-business, all three of which were part of being a medical professional, pre-education, pre-most everything else. It all sounded useful in that many doors would be open to me in the professional world and as a bonus I’d loved Latin since being introduced to it in 7th grade. As the year of graduation approached my hospital was taken over by the university I was attending. I called Human Resources to discover I no longer had employment options, the position I’d had was lost, the people who knew of my endeavors weren’t there anymore and I’d have to begin at square one. Having been in the business world, knowing how it changes, preparing contingency backup in the spirit of the unforeseen, I’d taken classes outside my degree programs, some of which had to do with Education, a good thing because square one wasn’t going to pan out.
After graduation I bounced around a year with hit-and-miss jobs, then decided to take my education the next step and study for a Masters. Online learning was coming into being, I saw value with being able to work and study so I spoke with an academic advisor about what I’d been doing, what I’d been studying, what I wanted to achieve, what my ultimate goal was and was told getting a Masters in Organizational Management, what I called business psychology, would tie in all that I’d done academically and in business and be useful for Human Resource Management opening doors to me for an array of employment possibilities. After 3 years I had an MAOM but Human Resource jobs weren’t as interested in me as I’d hoped. There were other requirements such as specific certifications in order to be employed that required additional education not included with what I’d done. Why wasn’t I told this from the beginning? These programs were available, in fact I found them at the university’s site after being refused employment because of my lack of certification and was dumbfounded at the specificity of how there were at least three options I could have taken and been certified employable. I felt duped on this one but the degree did tie in with what I had been studying and work experiences I’d had to a point but I was now left in a position accumulating jobs, one of which was teaching, was necessary in order to make an acceptable income. During this time I discovered those with business degrees were welcomed to teach especially abroad, so I took a break from studies, took a course in Rome to be certified to teach English all over Europe, Asia, et al which in the long run added to my education would make me highly marketable. Looks like I’m going to become a teacher after all and what I’d accomplished so far was right on, you know, useful.
Things were going fine in Europe. I wound up settling in Istanbul, the general plan for my life’s direction was unfolding nicely but I was detoured back to the states to be a grandma. When I got back the economic crisis was in play making the MBA all the rage for job opportunities and practically it did tie in with my education, past jobs, life experience and teaching. Before I’d left for Europe I’d begun an MBA to balance out the MAOM then decided to wait until the MAOM was done. It was to my benefit to have an MBA class under my belt plus a professional degree. Classes were applied to my degree program, required credit hours were adjusted thanks to been there – done that, and in a couple of years I had the MBA. I breathed potential of being involved with a new profession; I knew change for the good was in the air. I had confidence businesses would want me but that’s not how it panned out.
Philosophy / Classics, Latin notwithstanding but sadly included in Arts and Science, according to Business Insider are useless degrees, Human Resources and Personnel Development (there goes my MAOM – no one cares I wanted to run a hospital) is a useless profession, and last but not least the kicker: an MBA is invaluable for the business edge DEPENDING on what college you attended. Harvard being the Holy Grail ivy notwithstanding, the private college I attended isn’t even a typo on the list. Let’s see, 4 years undergraduate study double major giving me 2 BAs, 3 years first Masters, 2 years second Masters equals 9 years of useless study and 4 useless degrees that can’t even be applied toward a useless profession.
Believe it or not, and I know Ripley’s wouldn’t be interested, I’d begun a Ph.D. program recently I was thoroughly enjoying, felt I should drop the class until the finance department got its act together and my student aid straightened out during which time I discovered several distasteful things about the university, decided not to continue with them – imagine blowing smoke about how much aid they were going to pay that didn’t jive with notifications of what I would receive – and to date haven’t found a place worth its salt in education. Have I learned something or have I just grown too old to have patience for inexperienced instructors, apathetic tenures, students without a clue I could train working in university offices who want to have a pissing contest with me over who’s the smartest, universities trying to sell me a useless degree, or all of the above?
Coming to you live from limbo? Nah, I’m standing securely in mid-air waiting for the next trapeze to swing in my direction.
Do I remember good times, you bet. A new grandson’s on the way and the First I’ve witnessed becoming a miniature person. It’s not over yet and always a wonder to me, like watching a flower in slow motion, to see.
Sorry there aren’t other events. Having been ‘cloistered’ granny-nanny until recently I hadn’t gotten to traveling anywhere noteworthy, but I’ve seen some good movies, went Christmas shopping online, bought a bottle of Prosecco to toast the new year after I tuck my grandson in and utilize what remains in a mimosa, straight juice for him, for January 1st’s brunch.
The Prompt: “…think about your past year… Remember a good time, experience, meeting or event and share it in 100 words.”
We used to meet up, us three
Regulars lent character, created atmosphere
You cooked so your sister’d be spoiled
It caught in my throat as I walked not far from my place
Not much exercise to boast
How will it feel, no need to ask
This way, thoughts to desserts but my reflection
passing restaurant glass, a jab to distract from the stab
crossed decadence off
Instead a scoop, chocolate drizzle, iced coffee combined
As cicadas numerous as biblical plagues
drowned music piped
But when all’s said and done, I won’t return
Miss you son
The prompt this week:
Hallucinate visions from the corner of my eye
This way then vanished never there
Dream recurring all different times
Far off place little man at my side
Surrounded by the rich the famous I see
Checking in a room quite a view
A place of great elegance good music good food
They insist to be friends an honor would be but
Not rich an unknown why talk to me
A wonderment for certain
Did I nod?
Where am I?
Shouldn’t take these things
Medication not mine
I hear a din, a sound
Little ones play company surrounds
Not alone any more
Weakened mind little man fades
Catch a glimpse again
Trails on a chest of drawers, is something there
Look close it’s gone
Unsafe dread feeling abounds
Get out now
It began to dissolve as heads dropped in shame
Children stopped laughing images away
Alone were we in an elegant place
Bright and early 7 a.m. I arrived. He looks a little rough but I know he’s been up for a few hours by now tending his herd. Poor guy. Can’t say I blame him for using his wife’s B&O suppositories occasionally. He’d shown me pictures of them together on his bike, a Harley I think it was, popular in these parts. She was hefty, tough looking the two of them turned toward the camera. Here she was now wasting away in a hospital bed in their home. One side paralyzed, couldn’t speak and certainly didn’t like other women around. She still knew her husband. My assignment was four days a week, the maximum any agency could give. I wouldn’t miss it for his sake and I’d take whatever it was she’d throw at me. He had to hold her one good arm still so she wouldn’t try to pummel me with it. He did let go one day and I still don’t believe she wrestled it away; he wanted a little thrill for himself. She grabbed my breast and squeezed with all her might. “Aaagh” I said as I looked up at him. Nothing I could do about it with one hand on the enema bag and the other digging her out. He was quick to recover although he could’ve been quicker. In fact, he couldn’t have let it happen at all. It wasn’t my fault he was having an affair with the housekeeper. I wouldn’t mess with him and diplomatically rerouted any implication or advances. She had to see that. Whatever happened she was first, I was there for her. Her husband I’d show respect to and support in how he wanted her care, that’s about all. He was critical of my technique but I stopped him dead in his tracks respectfully nonetheless. “Look, I have to learn these procedures and employ them but each person is different. Not everything works with everyone though some things are beneficial to keep infection down. What did you do when you were taking care of her before we got here?” I’d taken car of a bedridden diabetic man a while back who got bedsores on a regular basis. The nurse used the same medicated patches on the sores that would give him an infection every time because he was allergic to what they were made of – a vicious circle that after the sore healed he’d have to take an antibiotic for what he’d developed. So, why did the nurse keep using it? Anyway, that did it. We’d discuss, he’d ask questions, we’d figure out what was best according what I was trained to do and what he knew worked with his wife and together we came up with a morning routine. Still, it’s funny what happens when “for better or worse” becomes reality. Not everyone does well with “for worse”, one too many times all bets are off.
Confident enough, after the enema he’d stepped out to give attention to farming keeping in mind when I’d be leaving. As she peacefully slept I gently clicked the rails to her bed locked, made certain she was covered up and packed my supplies. En route to my car he pulled up in his truck, that look was on his face. “What about my bath?” I stopped and looked up at him. “Vince, do you want me to go back in the house? You’re the only visit I have today.” I spoke in a scolding tone. He thought for a minute, “Nah, you go ahead.” “Alright” and I continued to the car. Glad I didn’t have to do anything further to thwart that one. As a rule he doesn’t make those kinds of requests. Must’ve satisfied him enough.
He needs to lay off those things.
Years ago we thought
A Substitute Teacher meant free class
No rules were followed at least we tried not to
Students spoke out of turn, never crude
Wanted to get out of schoolwork as a rule
Well I didn’t exactly under fear of what my parents would do to me if I were taken to the principal’s office for committing such an offense, but that didn’t stop anyone else. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing quite honestly as I sat, a giddy terror taking hold way back in the day. They’d eventually settle down and listen anyway.
This hasn’t changed over time when a teacher is new
Who started it?
I wonder and have wondered why
I’m here now
Sub for the day
Appalled at what’s before my eyes
And ears for that matter
As students scoff, interrupt and mock
Undaunted I continue what the teacher expects
One rags on my hair counting its grays
A boy says “you’ll get old too”
“But I won’t look like that” she sneerily retorts
Am I not standing here
Rude wouldn’t you say?
But I pause the film and ask questions anyway
“Can we get on with it” another bitingly chimes in
Holding back a shudder I sigh
Won’t let fatigue take hold
Though badgered I be
Curling up on the desk to sleep would be worse
I speak to those who listen
Those precious few
Now there’s schoolwork to do
Packets to fill
“Please work on your own
It’s what your teacher says”
Dissed and dismissed
They do what they want
Redirect though I must
It’s to no avail
Administrators come with Pretense their support
Favorite students acting up you see
They don’t behave like this normally debatable philosophy
I’m left in a quandary that I don’t know
I find out soon enough
All responsibility falls on me
Though I’ve followed example set by other teachers I’ve seen
There are other schools to teach fortunately
But the outcome weighs, won’t leave
Heartsick I move on
They’re raising terrorists here
Don’t they realize action’s truth
The next generation of looters
When the lights fail
Yet they look the other way
Under protection’s guise
I fear the students knew
With what they’d get away
And what about the sub
Being reduced insignificant
Turned for the worse vocation’s risk
Let’s go back to those days
Of giddy terror of innocent misbehave
A reverence for life that’s not thrown away
The sea was cold today. I sat upstairs, the ferry’s engine rumbled; as we floated back turning toward open water I felt the icy spray. I admire how gulls light on the surface bobbing with ripples and crests, unmoved and unimpressed. They have the good life but what about the rest?
It causes me to consider.
Creationism at it’s worst; splitting the atom – creation energy in a tube – all impressive. I remember don’t eat of this fruit, you’ll make yourself a god knowing good and evil and be exiled from the garden. Respect, knowing and forms make the garden that I see. Am I alone? Doesn’t anyone agree?
The sea is rough as well as cold; icy spray refreshes from thought. Dolphins swim along side laughing out loud at the cloudy sky; the junction where currents collide impress them not as they dance. I watch. Thoughts become present again.
Brutalized by students. They act out, they cheat, they reason, “we’re legion and she’ll never know, we can get away with crime” or at least it is in their mind but why would one want to loot in the dark? Why is the aspiration to outwit what’s right, because it can’t see? But, it can. They don’t know me. Yet there’s no victory if I identify each one. Did I prevail? No though I asked their help, they directed me. I paid for their responsibility, for the responsibility of the higher ranking than me as far up as the principal and here I sit. My heart aches, is heavy, and I wonder if I should have let them rule the day accepting my fate. But, I’m a teacher. I thought it was my job, to guide, to teach, to show the right way. Let’s make your teacher happy who’s gone these couple days. Let her see how much you can do, your commitment, the contract… I’m exhausted.
I hope life goes on. What an awful way to feel.
Bennett said Nietsche is dead, God remains, but Nietsche’s writings remain too his spirit present, his thoughts survive. Now what do we do? The ferry has docked; I think I’ll walk and get a fish sandwich to go with an espresso to take the chill; then up to a top floor and rooftop café overlooking the city above fog, pollution and mist. What can I say? Even cloudy it can be a good day.