Friday, April 28, 2006
"I Had a Bad Day" or Why Lo Wants To Be A Plumber
There is some Big Drama going on at my school about leadership. I really can't post about it right now, though I will when I can (one of the Major Players has requested confidentiality). I am looking forward to blogging about this power struggle, because there have been some hysterically funny moments. Today the Business Manager, a sweet grandfather who is rumored to be a Republican, and who was slightly flustered when he and I had to talk about domestic partnership, made a joke about testicles in front of me. That is not normal in our community.
Suffice to say, this nonsense has kept me busier than any human being should be who is a) not applying for a job and b) not earning a six figure salary. However, I really believe in my school (a small community that is diverse in race, class, ability, you name it...) so I'm fighting 'cause, well, someone has to.
Tonight, while I was lying half-clothed face down on the floor trying to figure out why the dishwasher won't drain, I was making a list in my head of reasons it might be a good idea to try being a plumber. Now, I am not mechanically inclined. I found out through experiential learning tonight that there are sharp things in dishwashers. (Band-Aid now on left index finger.) I have to pause and think "right tighty lefty loosy" every single time I pick up a screwdriver. I would be a really lousy plumber, and your pipes will thank me for staying out of this field. However, I had a pretty long list in my head noting why plumbing (is that a word?) is better than teaching. I almost convinced myself it would be a good idea to look for apprenticeships.
And the truth is, I love teaching, there is really little else I could do well in this world. My mother has pictures of me at four in which she says I am "teaching" someone. (Well, that might say more about my mom than it does about me...)
Another thing I was very aware of, as I was poking around inside the dishwasher with a toothpick (as per the instruction manual): I get tired of being female sometimes. I sometimes feel very helpless as a female (this power thing at school has involved lots and lots and lots of men yelling at and even threatening women, including myself) and I know that the thing between me and the dishwasher was my attempt to dominate something in my life. I teach 7th grade, and when you teach 7th grade, every single day is all about struggling for dominance. (I don't mind that so much with the children, since mostly I watch them struggle for dominance with each other. I may not be taller than all of them, but I do not want to be friends with any of them, and that gives me power.)
I am no shrinking violet, but I am relatively short (about 5' 4") and I have a strong startle reflex. When men shout at me and move towards me physically, well, I don't like it. And to tell the truth I don't really know what to do about it, either (except for getting involved politically and trying to win that way).
N.B.: I do not mean in any way to imply that my lack of mechanical/technical inclination is because I am female. It's really not. My parents tried...my dad gave me his childhood Erector set and they bought me very few dolls. It's just about who I am. I do have some traits people would consider "male."
The end of the dishwasher story is that I figured out the problem, but since I am uncertain of how to fix it, I'd rather call someone who does (a.k.a. our Very Cool Super) than risk screwing it up further with my experiential learning. 'Cause that could get expensive....and we're saving our money for sperm. :-)