Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Never sit with your back to the door

Two days ago, my brother told me that although he is a loudtalker and that his loudest is much louder than my loudest, in the morning, it seems that I'm capable of being very loud, seemingly from the moment I get out of bed. I agreed that my first period students have said much the same thing about me over the years. He and Paige speculated that my ability to be fully
alert from the time I first become aware of dawn's rosy fingers arises from the fact that I don't drink any coffee at all and, therefore, am not reliant upon those chemicals to wake me up.

Today, I wish I drank coffee. I had a tough start to my day today. Who knows why. I just did. Getting out of bed wasn't any harder than it normally is but becoming cheerful was. Even after a reasonable shower, eating breakfast, enjoying my orange juice and catching the earlier train, followed by getting the opportunity to read this good book that I'm immersed in for half an hour while I rode the El, I still wasn't engaged enough with the world to smile out of anything more than polite response.

And my coworkers noticed.

There aren't many people there when I get here at 7:45, so I thought that only Fred (who I was going to ride with to go pay for gas for the truck) would have the chance to say something. And he did. And I smiled. And over the course of the conversation in the truck to and from the gas station, I began to open up to being alive and I felt a little better. So I thought that was that.

Apparently, though, my colleagues rely upon my smiling disposition in the morning a little more than I thought because when we returned, James, who doesn't say much at all, told me, "Now, that's the face I wanted to see this morning." What? James saw me this morning before Fred did? Why didn't I see him? That's actually not all that creepy because James is often up in the warehouse racking working with the inventory and I certainly was in no mood to be looking up this morning. James continued, saying, "You looked like you were dragging this morning." It's interesting to know that when I didn't realize I was being observed, my countenance reflected my inner feelings. Too many novels when I was growing up about intelligent, spunky kids having to endure oppressive educational environments have left me with the delusion that I'm actually capable of schooling my features to hide my thoughts like those protagonists could. Although I know that it is a fantasy similar to the fantasy that most of my male friends have that if they sit facing the door in the restaurant, their ability to see their
attacker sooner will actually make a difference in their ability to protect themselves and me, it's good to have it proven every once in awhile that I'm not a plucky heroine, just like they are not actually a spy or a cowboy.

It's also good to know that my co-workers see me as consistently joyful to the point that they notice when I'm not. On days like today, it's helpful to have proof that not every day is like today. In fact, most of them aren't.

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