Friday, October 25, 2002

Got swore at for the first time today. A young black girl, full of anger and defiance. I sent her to the office even though I admire her energy. I felt bad for being such a hard case. And at day's end I am asked to come back Monday, and accept. They weren't that bad. I'll try to cut them some slack. It's a fine line between chaos and being a hard ass. Sometimes you gotta lay the law down. I don't do well with this authority thing.

The beer can chicken turned out great. Only problem is one side cooked better than the other. I figure because there were more coals on that side of the bird. Again, it heats indirectly. Under the bird, amongst the coals, is a drip pan. It took an hour and 45 minutes for the bird to cook, but well worth the wait. Pink hue to the flesh. Crispy skin. Moist meat falls off the bones. The undercooked side of the bird I quartered and placed back on the grill, this time directly above the coals, and left them there until it was time to go over to Dad's for the World Series. (The reason I'm calling my childhood home "Dad's" instead of "Mom and Dad's" or "Parent's" is because Mom is visiting my sister in Houston until the first week in November and Dad's got rule of the roost. Of course, he's got a slew of frozen entrees put together by Mom so he don't starve.)

Esther dropped me off and went to a laundromat near my Dad's with a big cotton sack full of clothes. How is it I can go two weeks on the trail in a much filthier environment and not have any laundry, and then when I do, it is a handful of clothes? But in cleaner civilization a week's load for us weighs 50 pounds? Societal expectations, my friends. Even the Natural Man is not immune from the social pressure to change dress everyday. I try to be good and get at least a couple day's wear out of each outfit, underwear excepted. On the trail I don't even wear undies (TOO much information!!).

Today I rode my bike to West Middle School in a light rainfall and splashed my pant leg in an alley puddle. Also got my butt all wet rear wheel spray. Showed up and all self-consciously slapped my bootie and wiped, hoping that no mud sprayed there. But none of the little hellions said anything derogatory about my bootie, so it must have been clean. I didn't go into the bathroom to check. I locked my bike outside the teacher's entrance and when my break came around I tried to unlock the bike, and even though I had the right combination the lock was stuck. And this is my $25 Kryptonite bike lock. I tried fruitlessly for 20 minutes to jimmy it, but it wouldn't budge. So I went to the front office and asked if they had any wire cutters. Boy, did they! This cranky, crusty old white-beard janitor shows up with a, I'm not exaggerating, 5-FOOT long bolt cutter. On a dolly. And here I was worried that he'd show up with wire cutters. That thing could snip support beams. I drove back to school after having chicken leftovers for lunch.

Class today was easy, outside of the swearing youth sent to office and all their petty bathroom/nurse concerns. We watched the first half of a Kevin Costner/Elijah Wood flick called "The War," yet another southern coming of age tale by the same guy who brought us "Fried Green Tomatoes." It was interesting to gauge the chillen's interest in the movie. There's a little black girl in the movie who has some good "sass" lines. Each class paid close attention to what she said. And each reacted with a "dang" during an early fight scene involving the Elijah Wood character. Bad that I can't remember character names, even after seeing the movie five times.

During my lunch period, a young girl came in asking for help with her algebra homework (scientific notation). I had a moment of panic when I realized we were alone in the room and followed lawsuit avoidance protocol by opening the classroom door. Good thing, too, because many teachers poked their heads in the classroom to see what was going on. Probably because I watched the second half of the movie and the volume was turned up a bit. But it's bad news to be a male teacher and be left alone with a female student. Not because of temptation. I think pedophiles are sick bastards that ought to be executed. But we live in such a litigious age that even the opportunity for impropriety, even in the absence thereof, can lead to trouble. I felt sorry for the girl. She said she doesn't like to eat lunch because she's in cross country and doesn't want to have food in her stomach during practice. She looks so skinny she needs some food.

I found a cool web site when I tried to answer a question posed in 2000 by a fellow thru-hiker at Rusty's Hard Time Hollow. "What the heck is "colitas" that the Eagles refer to in their song, "Hotel California?" The answer can be found Straight Dope Of course, in Spanish, direct translation, it means small tail.
Watching the World Series allows me to see television again and I was impressed by yet another Mitsubishi car commercial, this one featuring a windshield cam view of a hip black guy and the variety of passengers. Cool techno music, "Just Breathe." So I look it up on Kazaa and download it as I write this. Natural Man strays even further from his anti-advertising anti-corporate culture stance. But, hey, I consider it culling gems of integrity and beauty from the wastelands of prurient pop culture. And this song just jams.

Well, now that I'm working again, Esther and I be going out tonight. Steak and drinks. Yippee Americana. Hey, that sounds like a cool name for a band. Guess my first band name, Tall-Headed Woodie, will have to wait. Both have that college radio sound to 'em.

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