Consider today's post a solicitation for moral support for my wife, who very early this morning marched slowly down the Death Row that is the 26 miles of highway between home and work, at a school in a neighborhood outside Chicago that is beyond underprivileged.
The air around the young teenagers of this town normally courses with a manic energy so desperate that it often devours even the kindliest hand seeking to calm it, which makes every day for my wife a wonderful new adventure.
She's uniquely suited to this job, though, so even on days when she comes home completely spent and incredibly frustrated, the latter is far more often caused by the incompetent administration above her than the special-needs students around her.
Given that this is always the case, you are undoubtedly wondering what brings it all up today. Well, next week is Spring Break at her school, which you may remember from your days as a student being a very happy time.
The reason you remember it being so happy is because you and your classmates had the strength in numbers to just check your brains at the door each morning and spend the rest of the day doing pretty much whatever irritating little time-wasting activity sprang to mind while the frantic teacher was amusingly attempting to capture your attention.
Now that my wife is that teacher, it is no longer funny.
She spent this weekend dreading going back to school like I have never seen before, after her students, who are as a rule very kind and extremely loyal 80% of the time, spent last week acting out for her an unbelievably detailed preview of what they have planned for this week.
The only reason she isn't spending Day 1 (at least) huddled under a blanket coughing and wheezing away the best Fake Germs she can manage is because her lousy, ungrateful hip ate up all her sick days months ago.
Furthermore, her cold-hearted bastard of a husband, seen here hiding for his own safety behind a mysterious blue tube, expressed a curious aversion to unpaid work days.
So what I need from you, especially if you are a teacher, is some reasons why she should keep showing up to work each day this week, and, if possible, some really good reasons why she shouldn't kill me or make me suffer even a little bit for making her do so.
Keep in mind when suggesting things* that I've already: 1) made her two fun lunches to choose from today; 2) found her some magazines she likes at the library; and 3) told her she could nap guilt-free even longer than usual when she gets home.
Actually, I didn't tell her that last one until now. But my promises of a lazy, super-fun Spring Break have done nothing to shake her steadfast dread or insistence that this will be a week from somewhere below Hell, and that nothing else matters, so I've got to keep raising the stakes.
Or maybe I should quit before she holds out for too much more. I have a feeling it's going to be a long week for all of us.
* Since I'm clearly a saint, feel free to suggest that she work off her stress and anger each day after work by polishing my sneakers (I insist it must be possible!), cooking dinner, or writing blog posts.