Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Prop Joe, eyeglasses, geek chic, Mr. Bald, and Marlo

Last night, right before bed, I made the mistake of watching episode 4 of the 5th season of The Wire, which I've slowly been making my way through. For those of you who have not watched the final season, just skip ahead to the next paragraph. For those of you who have watched it, it's at the end of this episode where Prop Joe meets his final fate. For some reason, the final scene between Joe, Marlo, and Chris just haunted me. I just lay there for an hour or more in my bed, replaying it over and over again in my head. Joe telling Marlo that he'd treated him like a son. Marlo saying that he didn't want to be nobody's son. Joe's last plea. His eyes. Marlo telling Joe that it wouldn't hurt a bit, to close his eyes. Joe does this, reluctantly but dutifully. Marlo nods to Chris, and Chris shoots Joe. The camera closes on Marlo's face.

The vision of Marlo's face - somehow both calming and horrifying, and juxtaposed alongside Joe's last glance up at him - stayed in my head, unshakably, through most of the first hour of my many hours long insomnia last night. Haunted me. I couldn't sleep. This was compounded by the fact that I decided to work out for an hour on the eliptical while I was watching the episode, from 10pm-11pm, and by the fact that I drank a heckuva lot of water throughout the evening hours, so had to keep running to the bathroom.

I didn't fall asleep until it was almost time to wake up. I skipped the gym trip in the morning, and slept in an extra couple hours, waking up at almost 7 a.m. I still only got a few hours of restless sleep, though.

What does this all have to do with teaching? Not a whole lot. This is one of those entries that I might have put on my new more personal blog, Time Will Do the Talking, named after the Patty Griffin song, which I started writing dumb stuff in about a week ago, and where I'll continue to discuss things Baltimore, pop culture, and politics. But enough about that: this is about teaching, in a way.

Because I had to wear my glasses today.

I figured - correctly - that my eyes would dry out like crazy throughout the morning and afternoon, a day when I was very, very tired, and so wore my eyeglasses instead. Now, I hate wearing glasses, and much prefer contacts. Still, I got new eyeglasses over the summer, and I kind of like them. They're very old school. A colleague said I looked like I stepped off the set of the movie J.F.K..

I feel like teaching in the city can really make one both humble and honest. This was true today; my students' reactions were swift. This year's students were too scared, but last year's were not. I got called a geek from a smiling sophomore with big dorky glasses herself. I got called chic by Alexis, a diva of sophomore fashion. I was told I look nerdy by another. Another accused of wearing them only for fashion reasons. I was accused of not really having blue eyes, because they were harder to see behind the glare of the glass. I was accused of wanting to look smarter, but of not fooling anyone. Yes, they sure are honest.

Someday, I'm going to cause a huge ruckus with them all, and shave my head. It's really only a matter of time. While I am enjoying the salting of grey that is coming in at a few places, I think Mr. Bald will beat Mr. Gray by a few laps, and eventually I'll give in. I've spent the last several years wondering what I'd look like with a shaved head. Someday, soon, I'll know. And the kids will go crazy. Maybe best to make one of those big appearance changes over the summer, eh?


bdc said...

I was very sad when Joe died. Great show. Wish it was still on.
I would wait and shave your head over the summer unless you really want to freak everyone out.
How does a school run out of paper? That is crazy.

Teach Baltimore said...

It's the first time since the big budget crunch of 2003 that it happened.

We did have more today, at least.