Yesterday morning I posted this as my status update on Facebook:
The day started with creaks and groans as I slowly tried to make my way out of the station and gain some momentum. I eventually managed to work my way through the rust of an aging train (okay, I know I’m not really that old, but just go with the metaphor) and chugged forward.
I wrote a few words.
I talked to a new passenger.
I gathered a little energy and started moving forward, although still cautious and hesitant.
Eventually I made it to the first dangerous section of the track. This is the section that moves at high-speed with loud clangs, bangs and arguing passengers. If I don’t make it to speed then the train will come crashing off the tracks and everyone on it will fall into the chasm below.
Yesterday I taught Theater Appreciation. I approach the class by introducing the variety of elements and work that go into the making of theater. We read plays, we watch, we talk about acting, directing, designing, etc. We don’t just talk about it though. I have my class do activities to experience all aspects even on a small-scale. So my class rarely consists of lecture, but more of active participation and discussion.
This semester, I have about 26 people in the class. Of those, only about 6 are female. Of the remaining 20, a large portion are athletes, including about 3/4 of the basketball team. Those players, as can be expected, tower over me as they approach the proximity of 7 feet tall.
I am only 5 ft tall.
Needless to say, there is a slight intimidation factor in the room. Despite the fact that I am the instructor with the multiple degrees (or the conductor if I am going to stick with the train metaphor) the combined testosterone in the room can get a little overwhelming.
Yesterday, they decided to act like 5-year-olds. I was writing some information on the white board that they needed to have when someone flashed those obnoxious red pinpoint lights at me. The team snickered.
I got angry and caught the culprit, confiscating his toys. Then they went into a mutual sulk, only wanting to work if they were “getting extra credit.”
I wanted to throw some passengers off the train over a really tall bridge.
I managed to regain control and careen through the rest of the class, eventually moving on to a calmer stretch of track.
After a few more twists, turns, and rumbles I arrived at my final stop of the day; aka the circus. (Okay, not really the circus, but rehearsal for School House Rock!)
Just when I think it will be safe to stop the train, unload the passengers, and get the show started disaster strikes! Someone built a gigantic brick wall on the tracks; I’m not sure if it was intentional sabotage but it sure felt malicious. With a loud squeal of brakes, I crashed.
One of my actors quit. The one with the most lines. The one who plays the teacher. Now, he insisted on calling that the lead role, but in reality the role is kind of just the focal point (or if I am going to rejoin the circus metaphor) the ringmaster. All the other acts are more spectacular and exciting, more musical, but the role exists to help guide the audience to the next ring.
And he quit. 5 seconds before showtime (aka rehearsal).
His explanation, “I have deep issues with musicals. I don’t value them, and this one is just not going to work” or some such inane blather.
But, as any good show person knows, “The Show Must Go On!” I gave myself a minute to gather my emotions together, announced the change of plans, and went on with rehearsal. I think I have even come up with an interesting solution as long as I can convince someone to take on a new role.
The fort made of blankets seems even more appealing today.
Thanks for going with me on a journey of mixed metaphors. I hope today’s ride goes much smoother.
Otherwise, look for me in a pile of blankets somewhere. I won’t be coming out for a while.