A day in the life of me

Assignment for my creative writing class:  Borrow some of the techniques Dean Koontz uses in Odd Thomas
and write your own story titled “A Day in the Life of Me.”

I am a night owl. I like to stay up past midnight when everyone else has gone to sleep and the house is mine. The solitude is mine. My thoughts are mine. And I can write.

But when morning comes I’m never ready to wake up. Just a few more minutes of sleep—I reset the alarm. I hate the alarm.

And I have to dress according to my mood. If I wear the “wrong” thing, well then, my day planks. No, I’m not a fashionista. Maybe it’s a feng shui thing, applied to clothing.

But I can never find my shoes. And off I go in search. Why I don’t look under my computer table, why I dig through the bottom of my closet, I do not know. I cannot wear shoes in my house. Off they go as I sit cross-legged in my rolling chair writing or playing my guitar.

Get dressed, dab on a little make-up, straighten my hair, find my earrings. Oh, have mercy. If I don’t wear my lucky earrings, I am incomplete.

And regardless of the time, I must complete my morning ritual. I check Facebook and WordPress, and I play my guitars, electric and acoustic. I switch them up. Both have their own little nuances.

I can’t put into words what these guitars mean to me. They are my life source.

I’m not saying God isn’t. He is, of course. I’m just saying that for me to be me, I have to find myself through song. Some people march to the beat of their own drummer. I make my own melodies on a six string.

And the first thing I do when I get home from school? Play guitar. And what’s the last thing I do before bed at night? Play guitar. My life source. The one materialistic thing that lets me be me.

And it never fails.

I play too long, or the clock cheats and makes me late. I rush to my Durango to head to school. And then I realize I don’t have my phone. I run back into the house and grab it from my charger and stuff it in my bag. Half way to school, I panic. Where is my phone? I think, “Did I put it in my bag?”

And I madly search for it while trying oh so hard not to go past the 15 mph school zone speed limit. I don’t need another $173 ticket. Nay, I do protest. I’ve lived near the school practically all my life, and it wasn’t until I received my ticket that I ever saw those signs, new of course, marking the extended school zone.

Someone pulled a fast one, and it wasn’t just me. But I was the one stuck with a ticket.

I get to school. Aw, man. Has the bell rung? Can I get signed in before 7:45?

I rush, rush, rush. I used to be an early bird, arriving at 6:30 a.m. But I’m a weary basket case, so 7:40 it is on most days…or 7:45.

I rev up to teach the college English classes. Seniors. Who woulda thunk I’d like them? They’re laid back. Heck they’re almost adults. We can so relate.

Oh, you teachers of K-10. Bless your hearts, especially middle-school teachers. How do you handle the giggles, farts, snickers, and burps? And I can’t believe I just used the f word in my blog. Never. Totally uncouth.

Attendance. I have to take attendance, but my computer will not pull up portal. I spend all of announcement time trying to log on. And then I’m bombarded by students who want one-on-one help. I can’t transition from English to sociology. The same thing happens with the transition to creative writing.

But ah….it’s time for newspaper production, a time when I can work ALONE on the technical aspects of desktop publishing that my students rarely learn. It’s too complicated. I have to do it myself to send the files over the Internet. Word, Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Distiller, Adobe PDF. I do the job of a graphic designer without ever having taken the first college class. And that’s why they pay me the big bucks to take on the school newspaper. Not.

By now I realize I have never turned on my phone. I turn it on and discover a couple of texts. Aw, man. No wonder everything has been quiet.

And I rush, rush, rush. Multi-task. Grade papers. Call parents. Check my email. Check my email. Check my email. Email for high school. Email for Motlow. Email for writing. Email for Harmony House. Would you believe I didn’t check it for a few days, and I exceeded 1,000 messages for one account. I hate email almost as much as I hate my alarm clock.

Then it’s back home.

Oh, what to expect. Usually something LOUD. It starts with boy grumbling about taking out dog. Then there are words. And then there is a quick trip outdoors. Back in. No success. The dog gets irritated and lays a passive aggressive plan in the kitchen. I hear more yelling. It gets ugly. Every day. Same old song and dance.

I must grade. I must grade. I must grade. But I have had my heart and soul telepathically sucked out of me from the other bodies in my room craving my attention. I want to give, but what’s left? I’m tired.

I need a break, so I watch TV. Last night it was Nashville. The show, to me, seems fairly realistic. I’ve been on the far, far outer fringes of the Nashville music scene for years. Been to a few media events. Done my fair share of schmoozing. I love that show. I do. The tension is spot on. I can feel it.

I also watch Criminal Minds, Leverage, Psych, Supernatural, Major Crimes Bones, etc.

Truth be told, though, I really wish I could give up TV. I want to read.

Reading and writing are gifts you give yourself and others. Oh, to read.

And, finally, I lay me down, my soul to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

So many distractions in a day. So many reasons to lose focus. So many sources of discouragement. Sleep is a fine escape.

Snuggled in my Ireland t-shirt and old black sweats, I drift off. I dream. But the dream never lasts long enough. The alarm goes off. And I wake up when the day breaks.

And I do it again.

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I’m gonna get me a new job

I may not make it as a novelist, but I can’t imagine not being a writer. So if the novelist thing doesn’t work out, I have a plan. I will apply at Walmart as a technical writer and create an official Walmart code of conduct manual.

For now, I’ll skip all the boring stuff like employee expectations and give you a preview of the good parts, the section dealing with customer conduct during the last two weeks of May.

EVERYBODY knows the last two weeks of May are the most stressful times in a teacher’s life—testing, grading, averaging, sorting, filing, failing, passing, cleaning. It’s nerve racking. For these reasons, Walmart should be especially sensitive to the needs of the stressed-out teacher. Here are a few ideas.

One
Every customer who enters Walmart during the last two weeks of May should be dutifully informed that the store is most likely packed with intense teachers doing their last-minute, end-of-the-year school shopping.

Therefore, every male customer over six feet tall must agree to never, ever run down the aisles motioning and waving both hands in the air—especially when he is running head on into a short blond female teacher who has no clue who he is.

Granted the man may be trying to get the attention of his wife, who is ten feet behind the teacher, but the man’s actions could lead to an awkward confrontation. Should she be confronted by a large waving man, the frazzled teacner may snap and execute a martial arts take down maneuver. Better hope she’s not packing. There are those who do.

Two
Keeping in mind the highly agitated state of these teachers, Walmart shelf stockers should make readily available only the most fattening, high calorie, sugar-laden snack foods, especially chocolate. Under no circumstance should they ever place the 100-calorie snack items within reach of a frazzled teacher because once the teacher sees just how few chips or nuts are in the pre-packaged 100-calorie snack bags, she will immediately resort to her math skills—even if she is an English teacher—and calculate how many hundreds of calories she consumed earlier that morning after receiving one more memo about something else to do.

Of course, there is the possibility of a positive outcome here. Once the teacher makes the realization that she has already consumed her allotted calorie intake for the next two weeks, she may then resort to violence and clear the shelves, making the job easier for the next guy to stock the shelves with the most fattening, high calorie, sugar-laden snack foods.

Three
Keeping with the weight theme…the Walmart greeter should confiscate the cell phone of every frazzled female teacher entering the store so that she does not get a call from home that says, “Hey, the dogs are out of chow. Can you pick up one of those mega-pound bags of dog food, you know, the ones that are literally over half your size?”

If the phone is not confiscated and the teacher receives such a call, she may then attempt to load the dog food into her own cart without any help. In frustration, she may look for the actual weight of the said dog food bag and discover that it is only 15.5 pounds, which ironically is quite close to the number of pounds she would like to lose this summer.

As these events unfold, the teacher will then drift off to a dream world and picture herself with a 15-pound bag of dog food strapped around her belly. She will then fall into a deep funk, which could result in danger to the well-being of the individual(s) who called her and asked her to bring home the dog food in the first place.

Four
During the last two weeks of May, Walmart should hire a special alert team for parking lot patrol. They should be on the look out for any customer with a weird ring tone: laughing cats, singing chickens, rapping babies, rambling auctioneers, and halleluiah choirs.

After hearing the ringtone and then realizing the rapture hasn’t come, the teacher may forget where she is and yank that bad boy cell phone out of the other customer’s hands, pull out her yellow referrall form to write him up, and remind him he can pick up his phone in the office at the end of a day.

It could get ugly.

So…what do you think? Do I have a future with Walmart? Or should I keep on plugging away at my writing dream?