Wednesday, February 19, 2003

So the regular gym teacher makes some crack about how all blacks are on welfare. And I counter with the middle class black population overlooked by all the stereotypes. I see this black middle class through Esther’s co-workers, and in my bicycle rides around Rockford’s west side. Most blacks quietly pursue the American Dream and achieve it. Blacks represent disproportionate percentage of the population in the American prison system and the black illegitimacy rate hovers at 70 percent. Of course, the white middle class is overlooked too.

Mr. P showed his racist cards. He’s one of these guys living in a new Roscoe subdivision. To try and connect with the ethnic element of the school he says aight, instead of all right. Imagine this thick, lugubrious Italian voice going aight. So fake. So condescending. His statement of contempt. There was a young lady working as a teacher’s aid who sat in on the gym class and he invited her out for a drink. I am Italian. He’s the Italian stereotype.

Mr. P was absent today, so I ran the gym classes on my own. I was able to get them all bowling, except for the last two classes, a second grade class and a kindergarten class. The kindergartners, well, they’re too young, and the second grade class is one of my wildest. So I decided to wrap it up with a third grade bi-lingual class composed of mostly Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian refugees. I’m trying to teach them the push, step, swing, roll four step approach to bowling. It’s interesting to see how the children react. They don’t take well to it, and I have the challenge of coordinating them. But my gift as teacher is recognizing where they are deficient, and that comes from watching sports so many years and recognizing the difference between a good play and bad. The children universally have difficulties swinging the ball while they walk. I keyed in on that because multi-task coordination is difficult for anyone, much less children.

Today was another beautiful blue sky sunny 40-degree-something day, and I was tempted to go out for a walk. Instead, I stopped at a French-Vietnamese restaurant on 7th Street called Nui Hee (sp?). Very upscale, linen napkins and cloth table cloths, considering the somewhat downscale surroundings, but with reasonable prices. I love 7th Street. It’s very old town Rockford. My bed comes from the Rockford Mattress Company, a local company on 7th street. I remember when I was in the Phantom Regiment Cadets and the start of parades would be on 7th Street. Lots of bums on 7th Street, a very colorful liquor store, where once a crackhead with rheumy soulful eyes hit me up for change. Above the aging downtown storefront businesses are burned out apartments. These second floor denizens hide their poverty, almost, but for the dilapidated state of their window blinds.

I’m drunk now, very drunk by my reckoning, seven beers in, spread out over 5 hours. Not bad, now that I document it such. Guess I can have one more. Guinness is the only beer that’s fun to watch. I don’t know what causes its downward cascading. And the way I just poured the head it looks like a bubbling pancake. Ahh, the processes of nature, carbonation and fermentation and bubbling yeasty flavorfulness. Yippee Kay Aye.

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