Not that I don't like the empty nest, the clean counters, less laundry, spontaneous nights out with FD. Who wouldn't?
I teach one night every other week on-line for a couple of hours. I monopolize the computer room upstairs during that time, sequester myself from interruptions. Teaching kills the night and exhausts me, only because it's the first time I'm teaching this particular class. I have to prepare, reread, relearn material that has passed me by, research concepts lost to the archives of long-term memory. For the most part it's readily accessible, a pleasant surprise.
But I get nervous about presenting the material. And you know, when you get nervous you get a little physically unglued, a little careless. I'm not the best coordinated individual, so for me, being unglued, isn't going to be a good thing.
What's amazing is that a person can be so graceful on a bicycle (K"H)**, can zip around twelve-year olds, make those turns just right, eyeball the distance between the cracks in the sidewalk, and yet, if there's a tumbler, especially if it's full of water, juice, doesn't matter, I'll find it and knock it over. You really have to watch me if you invite me to dinner.
Just about to start the class, the students are chiming in on the computer, and I'm pumped. This material is difficult. I know they're clueless, and it's a huge challenge for me to try to make it all sound easy and accessible. One student is missing. I ask, "Does anyone know where . . is? She can't miss tonight's class and pass the final." The final is in two weeks.
My phone rings. The house phone, the type that has a telephone cord. You may not know what these are, telephone cords. I reach for the phone (we called these receivers), thinking maybe it's the student. The cord is tangled, so I yank at it a little and bam! Eight ounces of water, about an inch of pomegranate juice, if you must know, all over me, the floor, papers, computer cords.
But luckily my son has picked up the line downstairs. He hears the following:
OMG, I just spilled an entire glass of water all over the place. Hold on.I look at the computer screen. The students are frozen in space, waiting for instructions, surely stifling their laughs. Nobody's saying anything. I'm hopelessly hooked up with a headset, my notes are on my lap. There are books everywhere and the water is creeping to its lowest level on the floor.
I tell the person on the phone I'll call him back. It's not the missing student. In an instant my son materializes, several towels in hand. He's bending down, taking care of the spill. We exchange looks. "You're so wonderful." I whisper. "Thank you so much." I hand him the empty plastic tumbler (you learn to use plastic). "Uh, can you bring me a refill? Water with ice?"
He's good. Moments later, another accident, ready to happen.
Let him go? Are you kidding?
*Remember that I try to be funny so don't take everything I say literally or seriously, okay?
**(K"H) stands for kineyin hara, (rhymes win-Mayan-tore-uh) a Hebrish, Yiddish, who knows what, really, expression that wards off the evil eye to prevent what you just talked about from ever happening or to protect you or someone else. Everyone should do this type of hocus-pocus. Very good for the anxiety.