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Life is so full of distractions, it’s amazing that any of us make it from our bed in the morning back to our same bed at night. That full circle—based on good Christian values and healthy habits of course—can sometimes be elusive, especially when your life is as tricky as mine.
First we have summer school starting up again, a brand-new batch of online students looking to continue their education—an education often lost under their very own bed because they haven’t looked there for a couple years, or packed away in a storage unit for two decades, mummified. This is always my fault, that the education has been misplaced or postponed—but never mind. I still do my job: Every morning I get up, park myself in front of the computer, and start teaching. There are e-mails to read, assignments to grade, questions to answer…lots of questions:
Q. OMG!!! When does this class start???
A. Last week.
Q. Can I use the blue textbook? I got it for cheap.
A. No. It’s cheap because it’s not for this class.
Q. Can I write about the legalization of marijuana and lowering the drinking age?
A. No. And please do not write your essays when you are high or drunk.
Q. I’m going on a cruise for three weeks in the middle of the session. There won’t be any Internet service. Is that okay?
A. Only if failing the course is okay with you.
After a couple hours of getting everybody straightened out, I can start working on my own problems, like trying to convince my home insurance company that putting new shingles on only half my hail-damaged roof is going to negatively affect my resale value because it will look stupid, AS IF my resale value could be negatively affected even more because I’m so far underwater, I’ve discovered new marine species.
And then there’s trying to get my benefits program to reimburse me out of my own money for medical costs they know very well that I have incurred because they are holding the receipts in their hands. It’s just that these are not the Special Kind of Receipts, and they would prefer me to break into their own system, download The Special Receipts, and then fax those in.
“Can you not see the Special Receipt on the screen before you?” I said on the phone yesterday.
“Yes I can, ma’am. You just go ahead and print that out and fax it in.”
“But you already have it,” I said. “You generated it. It’s right there in front of you.”
“Yes ma’am. But it’s your responsibility to fax it in. And I advise you to not get the barrel of the gun too close to your head because you don’t have enough money left in your account to cover death and dismemberment.”
Fine fine fine. Since my PC was virus-ridden and certainly not capable of printing or faxing anything, I disconnected the hard drive and hauled it in to my college’s shop for cleansing. Arizona once again feels like the devil’s birth canal, so I was red-faced and wet when I got there. Somebody picked me up by the feet and spanked me, then I could scream. Thanks, tech guys.
With the computer in the shop for an indefinite period of time, I decided to go get groceries. My list was unusually long, so my cart was full by the time I reached the cat litter section at the far end of the store. I shoved two heavy boxes onto the shelf under my cart, and started pushing my way slowly up to the register, my mind weighed down with student issues, house problems, medical reimbursements and my poor computer.
Not until I reached the register five minutes later did I realize that I had the wrong cart. I had taken somebody else’s full cart! This one had juice boxes and frozen chicken tenders and kids’ cereal in it—I had a mom’s cart! Where was MY cart with MY purse!? The only thing in this cart that belonged to me was forty pounds of cat litter.
I left the mom’s cart at the register and sprinted back to the pet section. There was my cart, my groceries untouched, my purse unstolen. Whew. I pushed it all the way through the store and heaved my boxes of cat litter from the mom’s cart onto the check-out counter. I glanced around: I didn’t see a mom looking for a cart. Maybe she hadn’t realized it was missing yet. Maybe she’d gotten frustrated and started from scratch. I silently apologized to what must have been a very frazzled woman as I left the store and walked back into the devil’s womb.
Every night, sitting on my bed, I strengthen my core the way physical therapy is teaching me: tighten and release. Tighten and release. Lift and hold for thirty seconds. Nice gentle stretch. My spine stable and my conscious clear, I climb under the covers to sleep, glad to have made it full circle again.