Monday, December 11, 2006

The keyboard types in Chinese

In early December in Kansas, there is grass to smoke and Camus provides bedside reading. The Beat spirits warm the icy rooms, the icy rooms laden with quilts handmade and handed down to the new generation swinging, reading and painting and bopping.

In Shanghai, the cold morning comes. You wake up and blow the electricity with the bathroom heat blasting.

You knock on the next door neighbor’s front door. He answers. The next door neighbor is friendly. He is kind. He is an older man. He chats to you in Chinese. You do not know what he is saying. His son looks at your fuse box. He must do more than flick switches he must operate. He looks at your wire. The problem is in the wire. Your wire is blown. He nods his head.

You have your door open. The chill invades your apartment. The neighbor motions for you to go inside to your apartment. That is what you do while his son operates. This could take five minutes. This could take twenty. You hope this does not take an hour. You hope you have electricity on Monday morning. You hope you never hear ‘Hotel California’ or ‘All Right now’ ever again. Suddenly, you realize you no longer mind hearing 'Stairway to Heaven' as overplayed as it has been in your life.

Nothing is hopeless. There is always hope.

There is always the Velvet Underground and songs about the Velvet Underground. There is Lou Reed performing ‘Berlin’ in New York City or maybe Brooklyn. This must be for the 30th anniversary of 'Berlin's' release. You wonder about this as you try to go on about your morning.

You drink the coffee that you forgot to stir. You did not stir the grounds. You reprimand yourself for not being a proper coffee maker, a non-grounds-stirring man. You waited the four minutes for it to set in the French press.

The next door neighbor presents the new wire. The new wire is put into its place. He explains something of great importance to you. You try to call Michelle, Athena, random Chinese friends…maybe one of them can explain. Your switch is fixed. You are relieved. You do not know what your neighbor is saying. Maybe he is telling you, you cannot run the bathroom heat and the living room heat and the computer at the same time. Maybe he is giving you a recipe for Mao’s perfect chicken feet soup. You do not know, you must go to school.

The time is 8:05. You are not dressed. You throw on a FCUK long sleeve art fag pullover and your favorite pair of Club Monaco cords. You chug the coffee and head to school.

On the stairwell, you bump into Jenny the Australian exchange teacher and Sam and Jordan (Australian exchange students). Sam (short for Samantha) told Jacky on Friday that he has a girl’s name. He did not know how to take this. She then told the eighth graders that Aaron Carter and any other boyband or boy band affiliate was music for 12 year old girls. This was after you asked the class if they could listen to something less gay. This gay musis was in Rebecca’s phone/mp3. Jack and William looked stricken when you called boyband music gay.


Woke up got out of bed dragged a comb across my head…

Today is easy. Today is hard. Today is typical. Today is becoming like all days.

In the art classes we finish watching Time Bandits. In the English classes, the students continue their research. For the lecture class, I need to print out Texas questions with information. Mondays are always hectic. My boss is not in her office. Her office is locked. I cannot retrieve my printing. After I email the document to myself, I head down to the principal’s office to print it. I pantomime to the people there that I need the computer. Everyone shakes their heads okay. I sit down. The keyboard types in Chinese.

With this, I decide fuck it. The lecture class begins soon. In class, I sit at the back of the room Jacky has to translate Chinese to English, something to do with Thanksgiving which will be presented at the English festival on December 27th, in honor of Christmas. He wants me to help translate something that absolutely makes no sense, something that seems to say “We come dirt and see like sky.” Maybe this is some lost Star Trek episode that I have wandered into unwillingly, willingly, unwillingly, willingly.
I want to ride my bicycle. I want to ride my bike.

Every time he wants me to put in a word, I put in ‘butt.’ This makes him laugh and he says I am making him crazy. He laughs more and I cannot stop it. I keep saying ‘butt’ each time. I can absolutely not stop. Why I think this is so funny I do not know, but it is funny really funny because he laughs every time. Each time before I say butt, I wait. There is a pregnant pause.

He says that this is to thank parents. Now I get serious, not thinking I tell him we can thank parents from the bottom of our hearts. This sends him over the edge when I say ‘bottom.’ He start laughing and cannot stop.

She puts the weights into my little heart.

I tell Eric - who I just call Piggy now which always makes the Korean (who may or may not have one extra chromosome) laugh – I tell him we were going to do something fun but I cannot print the fun stuff that we are going to do. He tells me I can go down on the second floor and use that computer. I tell him I did but it is typing in Chinese. He tells me he will go with me to translate. He then tells me Neisha will go. Neisha would love to get out of the classroom anyway. She asks Noam to go. I love Noam. She is from Israel and is the sweetest student. I ask Venus to come with us. When we leave the room, I tell these three girls I would prefer to have the three of them in my class. I could do without the others.

Because Noam is shy, Neisha tells me that Noam would like to get into my English class. I tell Noam I would love to have her in our English class. Frankly, I had not thought about it but now that I think about it I am puzzled that she is not in my English class.

We walk into the office. The girls tell the Chinese staff in the office what we want to do. Neisha actually knows how to switch the computer from Chinese to English. She does this. I print out the Texas questions. The print shop lady takes the documents and prints them while we watch her. We go back upstairs. I hand the document out and tell everyone to get busy. Eric tells me that I had said it would be something fun. I tell him I lied.


At Metro, which is basically the Chinese equivalent of Sam’s club, I walk around and check out the gadgets. The Denon home theater system is out of my price range. Actually, I could afford it but there is that not knowing how long I am going to be here syndrome that I deal with daily.

Yes, I thought I was maybe taking a job in West Africa. This turned out to be a scam. Yes, I have the job - the acceptance letter stated I need to send the lady (from the finance department at the school) $650. Needless to say, I did not send the cash to this lady.

But now, now I think I am here to stay. I will go to the States to see friends in the summer but I love my apartment and I love that I get so many cheap movies. Maybe that is where I should truly focus my talents. Maybe I should not be a teacher. Maybe I should work in pictures be a grip, be a best boy, be a gaffer.

At the appliances in Metro, I stop and look at a bright red toaster oven that is approximately $30. This is something that I may come back and get. Here, no one has ovens. Most people use stove tops, rice cookers and microwaves for cooking.

There are so many things that would be nice in an oven. Instantly, the picture of a medium rare sirloin steak flashes into my head. Some people prefer filet mignon, T-Bones, prime rib; but me, I like a good old sirloin. Probably of all of the sirloins I have ever had, the best sirloin I have had was grilled outside on the grill by the pool on one June evening by Midway Bob. No one, absolutely no one can cook a steak as perfectly as he can.

Nachos are the other thing I would like in an oven. At the moment, I do not have a microwave and I have been hearing all of these scary things that microwaves do to food so I am trying to not break down and get one. Really, when it comes right down to it, I do not need my food that fast. Nachos in a toaster oven, I can live with that. Of course, I do have to find chips.

Finally, I find a somewhat savaged bag of generic brand tortilla chips. The second bag of tortilla chips that I have found the 9 months that I have been in China. This bag costs $3.50. I bend over and pay it. I must have chips. Visions of finding Tostitos, Doritos, or Santitas go down the Yangtze.

In my head, I rationalize. In New York, when I drank, I thought nothing of buying a few martinis for $7 apiece. Of course, I did not buy many but I would buy a few. Now, I do not drink and I see a tin of Twinnings English Breakfast Tea for a little less than what one martini would cost me in New York. I think about it do I need a tin to keep tea in? Yes, I am ridiculous. I do drink a lot of tea these days, probably more English tea than anything else. And yes, I probably drink as much tea as the typical British tea drinker. I grab the tin of tea. It is nice, classic, something I will use. When I was drunk, I would drink and drink and drink until I had at least a $40 bar tab. Those days are gone, I hope.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I told her to never touch Evil (or is it evil?) in the microwave.

Okay, probably, I should not call sweet innocent Lillian a baby killer. In their science class, the sixth graders have to carry chicken eggs with them. Lillian and Sooham have both already broke their eggs. Sumran tells me that they have to put them under pillows under their shirts during PE class. Every time I call Lillian a baby killer, Sumran laughs. Lillian asks me a question. I respond with “What did you say, Baby Killer?”

Sumran has now gotten on to the subject of biting monkeys. Sooham was bitten by a monkey when they lived in India. This happened in 2002. The story sounds uncannily like the beginning of An American Werewolf in London, suspiciously close. Whether I should believe them or not, I do not know. I am fairly certain, however, that they have not seen An American Werewolf in London.

The tale Sumran weaves goes something like this. The two of them were wandering on an unlit dark road at night wearing white school uniforms. The white of the uniform attracted the monkey. The monkey started chasing them. They ran to get away from the monkey. Sooham fell. The monkey bit him. He has a small unnoticeable scar on his cheek that looks like it could possibly be an acne scar. Oscar says Sooham is now half monkey.

The seventh graders got no treats today. Although, part of the way into the class period, everyone was quiet and watched the movie. Kim (the Korean who I love and hate) smacked me on the head with the eraser from the chalkboard. I turned around and took it and beat her about the head with it which left chalk dust all over the top of her head. She looked like she was about to cry but then Alice and Laura (aka Laura the Nightmare) started laughing. Once they started laughing, she laughed too.

Vincent is bending over to get a pencil off of the floor. I smack him on the backside with the Time Bandits DVD case. This is because I can and because he has adopted the horse bite as his own. Now, out of nowhere, he runs up and gives me a horse bite.

We finished watching Time Bandits today. Oscar wants to know why the parents blow up in the end. He is concerned about this. Sometimes, I think he may have some sort of humanity about him after all. Yes, he does love it when Evil blew up things but he did not understand why the parents exploded in the end. I tell him they touched Evil - or maybe they touched evil. He was transfixed by the movie. Sumran was baffled by the exploding parents as well. This did not exactly give the movie a happy ending. I told her to never touch Evil in the microwave. This should be a lesson to us all.

The end of the day, I am leaving school and I hear someone calling my name. I look up at the fourth floor windows first and then the third and second floor. Finally, I look up at the windows in the stairwell. Kim (the Korean who, again, I love and hate) yells “I love you Tyson.” I yell back “I love you too.” They do think that I am a crazy old man. Constantly I threaten to give all of them the smack down. Now I am beginning to think that they may actually like getting the smack down. Those little retarded dwarf masochists make me nuts.

Walking back to my apartment, on the sidewalk along the school, the sixth grade girls are walking. I ask them if they are getting candy, drinks, dumplings? They tell me no they are getting food. I ask Vicky who may actually be Mika – I tend to get forget their names – if she liked the movie. She tells me she liked the last one. I do not know if she means the last of the movie or the last and only movie we have seen in the class. I do not know.

As she is talking, out of nowhere, Vincent and Sean run by us. As they run by, Vincent yells horse bite and pinches my calf as he runs off. The street is alive with after-school, late afternoon activity. This I am sure is not the proper behavior for a student toward a teacher. I quickly turn into my apartment complex acting as if I do not know them.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Oscar laughed every time Evil blew up a cohort.

The music begins during the opening credits. The music, the music is a mystery. I will have to think on this one for the opening.The film could start with a medium shot of a long marble counter, an institutional type counter. The camera pans from some silk sunflowers in a non-descript blue striped ceramic vase to a pile of papers lying scattered on the counter. At this point, the viewer gets a hint the film takes place in Asia because the scattered papers, on closer inspection are a mix of English script and Chinese characters. Among the documents are a passport and another document that looks like a passport. This is the hero’s foreign expert certificate. We do not know who this hero is yet.

The camera pans up. The intro music fades into the cacophonous sound of a bank. Here is when the camera pans up to the face of a hapless American. A Chinese man in a suit is speaking to the hapless American in broken English. The hapless American is nodding, dazed. The camera pans down to the American’s hands. He is filling out a form.

His first words are “Why do you need my bank account information in America if I am getting US money in cash?”

The bank official, a kind man, smiles apologetically at the American. The bank official then turns around to a man sitting at the desk and scolds him in Chinese and then slaps him a bit. The man sitting, a clerk, now has tears in his eyes.

“Follow me,” the Chinese man in the suit says to the hapless American. The Chinese man in the suit ignores the teary eyed clerk. The American follows the Chinese man in the suit to a teller window. The bank is crowded. As the hapless American and the Chinese man in the suit who is the manager of the bank walk up to the teller, a customer leaves the window.

The manager says something to the teller in Chinese and then walks away. A loud argument can be heard in the background. The camera is focused on the teller. The teller does not pay attention to the argument. The camera follows the hapless American’s eyes to the small group of customers – two men and a woman - standing arguing in Chinese. The manager, the Chinese man in the suit, is in the middle trying to placate them. The camera pans back over to the teller. He is trying to get the manager’s attention by making eye contact with him. The manager is embroiled in the argument. And, there are no subtitles to any of this. The viewer should feel a bit lost, a bit confused.

Finally, the teller uses the public address system to get the attention of the manager. The manager looks up, points to the teller to the arguers and walks back to the window. As the manager walks up, the hapless American says “It looks like you have your hands full.”

The manager simply smiles and says to the American – “Yes, Yes.” His smile says more than his words.

The above was a brief, oh so brief, dramatization of me trying to get RMB changed to dollars this morning. It was a nightmare, a laughable nightmare. I got to the bank at 8:45, fifteen minutes before the bank opened. I was the third in line. Changing money over took until 11 am. I am not sure why. If I tried to explain it here, I would fail miserably. All I can say is that I had to fill out multiple forms and go to multiple tellers for help. At ten thirty, after the manager had kindly told me fifteen or twenty minutes earlier to sit down to wait for the order to be processed, I started to get antsy. My first lesson of the day on Tuesday is at 11:20. With the slow molasses way that things move here, I thought I should track him down and find out the story. He had disappeared.

When I finally found him he looked at me as if perhaps he had forgotten about me. At this point, he went to a new teller and said something in Chinese. Thirty minutes after this, after filling out duplicate forms and standing around for no good reason, I had the thousand dollars in my hand that I had intended to take to the Post Office to send Western Union to Meg to pay my credit card. However, instead, I had to jump into a cab and head back to my apartment to grab my backpack so that I could head to school.

All of this is frustrating beyond belief. Yesterday, when I told Mary I had to send money Western Union to pay a credit card. She told me I should just transfer from the Bank of China. Okay, yeah, that is a great idea, that in fact is the idea I had over a month ago when I decided to wire $800 to my fucking MBNA credit card that is now fucking Bank of America. And you know what?! The money has still not made it!

I may be wrong but are these not maybe the two of the biggest banks in the world. I mean it’s not like I tried to wire money to Ponca City First National Savings and Loan. IT was fucking Bank of America. It is named after a country and maybe even loosely speaking named after a continent. That to me seems like they should know what in the fuck is going on. They don’t. Now, I have been hit with a $200 fine because of this. So, I just have to fucking laugh, laugh, laugh.

Needless to say when Mary told me I should just wire transfer the money through the bank, she got an earful. Furthermore, I just talked to Jennifer my friend from my last school here. She has had the same exact problem with the same exact banks. She tried to wire her credit card. When it didn’t go through she asked Michael at our company about it. He told her about my problem. I told her I sent $800 a month ago. It still has not made it. We are both flabbergasted. Once I pay this sucker off, it is bye bye credit cards for me. The fucking life draining whoreholes.

So, I thought I would be in this really rotten mood when I got to school but for some strange reason, I was almost giddy. I got to school ten minutes before the start of class. My first class of the day was the 7th graders. I really did not have time to prepare anything before hand so I pulled a lesson out of nowhere which turned out to be something they liked doing.

We did research, research that can actually be used by someone like me for instance who may or may not be thinking of taking a job in Africa. For no particular reason, I gave them some questions concerning Ghana, which may or may not be the country in Africa where the job is that I may or may not be thinking of taking.. Most of the questions were fairly nondescript except a red flag came up with the question “How much would an apartment cost in Ghana?”
This is when Eric said – “I think you are making us look because you want to move there and you want us to do the work for you.”
To cover my tracks, I told them I used Ghana as an example, tomorrow they will pick a country that they want to research. Neisha told me she will research France.

The seventh graders and the sixth graders continued watching Time Bandits. Today, the 7th graders actually paid attention to the movie and laughed. The sixth graders still love watching the movie. Oscar laughed every time Evil blew up a cohort. When class was over, they did not want me to take it. I told them we will watch the rest of it tomorrow. This was a design class today. I told them to think about how it looked; the designs in the movie. They did not pay attention to me.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Somehow we got onto the subject of armadillos.

The particulars are vague. Nevertheless, the teacher does not like me. He is teaching math in French. When I enrolled in the class, I must have not realized the class would be taught in French. The year is unspecified. But the teacher is well known. The teacher is that film actor Greg Kinnear. In class, he is a jerk. He calls on me constantly. Maybe he wants to hear me mispronounce every term, every pastry. Now, I have become the class idiot. Maybe this is college. Maybe this is secret school. Maybe this is tomorrow. The same day or 40 days later, I move seats. I am sitting by a pretty girl. I ask her how to spell ‘croiscant.’ She tells me “C-R-O-I-S-S-A-N-T, Croissant.” Mr. Kinnear yells at us. The girl frowns at me. I want out of this class. I think there are cobwebs on my eyes.

Somehow we got onto the subject of armadillos. Actually, I was the one who got us on the subject. During our conversation about Australia, I asked Oscar if they used armadillos for money there.

“What is an armadillo?’
At this point, I asked Sooham to tell Oscar what an armadillo is.
“In America,” Oscar asks, “do they use armadillos for footballs?”
“Exclusively,” I answer. “How did you know?”
“I saw it on Animal Planet.”
“Oh, yes,” I say, “they used to use pigs but pigs are too heavy. They are extraordinarily hard to throw.”
How did I happen upon the subject of armadillos? How, indeed…again, somehow, I had got on the subject of Taco Bell because we –or actually I – was talking about Jello because of Sooham. Sooham does not always make me think of Jello but this morning he did. I tell him he looks very handsome. He tells me he put gel in his hair.
”Jell-o?” I ask.
None of them know what the heck jell-o is. This is a sad Chinese fact. Neither do they know about Kool Aid. However they know about Taco Bell. To them, Taco Bell is fine dining.
“In America,” I say, “we have drive-thru’s.” At this point, I demonstrate driving through. And, this is when I ask Oscar if they use armadillos as money in Australia. As Sooham explains the habits, trial and travails of the armadillo, he draws an armadillo that looks uncannily like your stock, first rate, hot off the assembly line stegosaurus.

the next day, next day next day next day….
Classes are switched. My first class this morning is design with the 6th graders. Prospective students’ parents or the parents of the students in primary are touring the school today to make sure they like. Bells and whistles are being prepared. Poster board with pictures of students performing activities are placed in the corridor. Xiao Ma is a greeter at the entrance to the school. The desks have been rearranged in the sixth grade classroom. 4 or 5 students face each other at these desks.

My sixth graders are drawing the mobile home blueprints. Sooham tells me blueprints are supposed to be blue. That is why they call them blue prints. I tell him he will have to make do with Xeroxed paper with a grid. He gets busy drawing. He, actually, is one of my better students.

Students ask me if I cut my hair or washed my hair. I gelled it back. Maybe I am impersonating Nick Cave, Johnny Cash, Wayne Newton – those men in black.

I was told my 6th grade reading class would not be observed. No English speakers are coming. We were doing research in the library. We are moved to another room which makes it a bit difficult to do research since the research books are in the library. As I am getting the 6th graders settled, a group of adults come into my class. The 6th graders are straggling in and out of the class with books and questions. The English group is unexpected and naturally a shock. I tell myself if I act like I know what I am doing, they will not know that I do not. I tell the women, some of them teachers from the primary school we toured, that I think research is important for the students. I make up some on the spot crap that they may or may not see thru and I add that I did not know they were coming. I have not prepared bells and whistles for a tour group. They tell me to carry on as usual. If they have suggestions or ideas, I would definitely love to hear them. A few of them interact with the students. A stodgy, very proper older woman who speaks Queen’s English and is head of the IBO program at the primary school makes the mistake of trying to talk to Oscar. She calls him by the wrong name. He yells in typical Oscar fashion as if he is on the brink of tears “THAT’S NOT MY NAME.” He yells this right into her ear. I have to smile to myself. Later this woman asks me how much I get paid.

Later, much later, days later, Polly, 8th grade Polly pulls out a pack of pills in film class. As a concerned teacher, I ask if she is pushing drugs, Quaaludes, Black Mollies.
“Are you trippin’?” I ask.
She is trying to convince me she does not understand. Her English is horrible. Okay, I am just entertaining myself. She has a packet of clearly marked cold medicine.

This episode strangely reminds me of when I was in high school, maybe a senior. Dory Terry, who loved Led Zeppelin and said someday when she was old she would kick back and rock to some Led Zeppelin. She would place one speaker on one side and the other speaker would be on the other side and her rocking chair would be in the middle. Yes, she would rock to some Led Zeppelin. Dory once was sent to the office because a teacher thought she saw her give Valium to another student. For weeks, Dory crowed about being busted for having Tylenol 3. Tempted, I would like to ask Polly if she wants to trip or just rock to some Led Zeppelin but this would only be entertaining to me.

The arts class is temporarily a film class. Today, I brought Time Bandits for the kiddos to see. This is quite a tough one to explain the premise to middle school students who do not understand much English. Any movie is tough to explain to middle school students who do not understand much English.

I am in the back sitting by Jacky. He wanted me to sit by him. I have meat flavored – I did not buy meat flavored on purpose, they looked as if they would be hot’n’spicy - Cheetos that I am sharing with him. He is not paying attention. He is talking, talking, talking to me. Most of the students are not paying attention.

The computer in this class has wiring problems. The speaker plug has a short so if anyone gets close to it, the whole thing starts buzzing and you hear nothing but buzzing. So of course, Laura the Nightmare gets up and goes up to the monitorfor no reason than to be an idiot. Well, the idiot accidentally hits the plug with her leg. The whole thing starts buzzing.

I tell Jacky it is broken because of Laura the stupid girl. We both start laughing at her. This, I am sure, is inappropriate. She tries to fix it. She cannot. She must have not paid attention to Xiao Ma messing with it for five minutes to get it to not buzz. Now the whole thing is buzzing. At points, one of the speakers works but we still get the buzzing. I keep saying rather loudly it is because of the Laura the stupid girl. Jacky laughs each time. Laura the nightmare strikes again.

This is what baffles me about the more idiotic elements of the class. They could have something really cool but they would rather not. They would rather screw it up or complain. The seventh graders are one big nightmare. Some of the students may pay attention but the ones who do not ruin it for the others. At this point, with this class, I just could really give half a crap. They are spoiled. My only retaliation is to give Neisha, Venus and Noam handfuls of Cheetos while I am giving the other students one Cheeto each. I say this is because they are good girls. Some of the boys come up and say “I am Neisha! May I have some?” “I am Noam.” I am Venus.” This makes me laugh but I hold to my handfuls for good students, a pittance for the little idiots. The last of the pack I give to Venus since she is always good, disgustingly good as a matter of fact. Oscar, (not the big loud idiot, but the little sneaky idiot) runs up and grabs the bag like a hyena and runs off with it. This, of course, sets me off. I chase after him, smacking and kicking him as I go (again, probably inappropriate). I grab the bag and give it back to Venus as I am administering a few blows to his head and backside. He sits at his desk on the verge of tears. He sulks until someone gives him a pretzel. He is the Eddie Haskel of the group. I got his number. Yeah, I got his number the little bitch.

The eighth graders fare a little better than the seventh graders with their response to the movie. Nevertheless, before class my boss (their classroom teacher) lectured a group of five girls in the class. Someone, a foreigner that is not me, has taught the whole class how to play cards and now everyone likes to play cards in class. Knowing that I teach a blow off class, I could give half a crap. I have decided to not be an authoritarian. Okay, sure, a few minutes ago, I did chase a little weasel around the room whacking the heck out of him for trying to steal the last few bites from a bag of meat flavored Cheetos. However, the eighth graders are not the thorn in my side that the seventh graders have becom. I let them play. I know they are not paying attention to me anyway. This actually makes my job much easier now.

During the movie, I sit by William and we eat Cheetos. He shows me card trick after card trick. This is one thing that I have got from these kids. It seems like they are starved for attention which is weird because they have no siblings. They get their parents’ full attention yet they want more. William does not pay attention to the movie. The rest of the boys – Eric, Jack, Kevin, Ben, Joker – sit at the monitor and watch the movie. I pretend for most of the class time that I do not know they are playing cards more than they are watching the movie but hey did anyone ever learn anything in those blow off art classes in junior high? Okay enough said! When they see me coming near the end of class, the cards get put away. Each of them – except for Kevin because I cannot reach him – I thump on the chest. There is actually one student who is watching the movie and shushes the others; that student is Judy.

The sixth graders surprise me. They love the movie. Even after I tell them there are no Chinese subtitles they still love it. They pay attention. They love the midgets beating up on each other. A bunch of them yell “Robin Hood” when John Cleese appears on the screen as Mr. Hood.

Part of this may be because it is late in the day and they are ready to relax. I am not sure. They really seem to enjoy it. I am quite surprised. At the beginning of class, though, I made everyone clear their desks, some students tried to fool me with books open under their desks that they thought I did not see. Fiona sits near the back of class. When we started the movie and she had not quite cleared her things, I sat down beside her asking if I could sit beside her and with that I gave her a little bump which sent her flying from her chair to the floor. Of course everyone laughed including her.

Once everyone had settled into the movie, during Napoleon’s cameo, I discreetly pulled out my last bag of meat flavored Cheetos and started munching. By this time, I had given Fiona her seat back and was sitting in the back of the room by Linda (which she pronounces Leenda). Most of the students were completely transfixed by the movie in front of us but occasionally one of the students would turn around and almost catch me snacking. Rimbaud at one point did catch me and so I put my finger up to my lips in a shushing motion and then motioned for her to come back and get a handful. She did this very sneakily which made the whole back of the class - who had been fortified with meat flavored Cheetos already – laugh. Fortunately, this happened during a comical scene in the movie except for some of the students did not realize why the back of the class was in hysterics because really it was not fall down on the floor funny like Lily and Coffee seemed to think. Anytime anyone turned around to get a clue from me, I just shrugged my shoulders. After all, I am the teacher; really we are not even human. We don’t know what is going on around us, ever. Some of the students in the back especially loved when I hid the meat flavored Cheetos in Linda’s open backpack. This is when Kevin got nosy. He decided something besides the movie was really funny to us and he wanted to find out what that something was. At one point, Linda tells me she would rather not have my snacks in her bag. At that point, I took them out and gave one to Kevin. The students in the front still did not know what was going on until Kevin took the empty bag to the front of the room. The students around me ratted me out, the ratfinks. I pointed to Rimbaud as if she had brought them and I knew nothing of it. I still claim my innocence in the meat flavored Cheetos matter. Of course, I am the only one. All of those ratfinks are ready to sell me out. They will not be bribed with meat flavored Cheetos.