T/Th 8 a.m. Class

This was the class self had to teach only hours after she got the news about Ying.

And she knew, right away, that she wouldn’t tell anyone in any of her classes. Because it would simply have been too much. She knew, too, that she was going to teach, even with eyes as red and swollen as — as — well, she has nothing to compare the appearance of red and swollen eyes with, at the moment. Thankfully, none of the students remarked on self’s appearance, and she was able to conduct the class as she normally does.

Now self realizes that being in the classroom is the only thing that makes her feel at all like herself, right now. It’s like being in a bubble. Or a cocoon. What a relief it is to be surrounded by young people who are so cheerful and lively, and who know nothing about self’s personal life. This week we are reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, and self is in awe over Ehrenreich’s powers of description. This evening, while hubby watches “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” on HDTV, self reads the following description of the experience of being in a Motel 6 in Portland, Maine:

There are two kinds of low-rent motel rooms in America: the Hampton Inn type, which are clearly calibrated, rather than decorated, to produce an atmosphere of menacing sterility — and the other kind, in which history has been allowed to accumulate in the form of carpet stains, lingering deposits of cigarette smoke, and Cheeto crumbs under the bed. This Motel 6 is in the latter category, which makes it homier, you might say, or maybe only more haunted. Walking out from the main entrance, through the VIP Auto Parts parking lot, you reach the Texaco station with a Clipper Mart attached. Crossing the turnpike from the Texaco — a feat that, performed on foot, demands both speed and nerve — brings you to more substantial sources of sustenance, including a Pizza Hut and a Shop-n-Save. This is, of course, a considerable step up from the situation described in J. G. Ballard’s harrowing novel Concrete Island, in which the hero crashes onto a median island and finds himself marooned by the traffic, forced to live off the contents of his car and whatever food items he can scrounge from the debris left by motorists.

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