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When people run in circles

March 18, 2011

I’ve been trying to write a post all day, but my heart isn’t in it. The school district announced another round of layoffs. The names haven’t been released yet, and won’t be until Monday night’s board meeting. But if I’m understanding something cryptic correctly, AJ’s super-fantastic first grade teacher is on the list. She has tenure. She’s had it for years, in fact. All the non-tenured teachers and then some were let go last year. She’s got three little kids and a husband who probably doesn’t make a lot at his job. I’m sure the loss of income will be devastating. But the bigger loss goes to the students who won’t have the privilege of studying with her. She’s a truly gifted individual and a wonderful human being, someone I admire immensely. She’s also the heart and soul of that school, someone who’s been able to pick up morale at the worst of times, to see the good and the joyful in things when no one else can manage it. This is a tragedy.

Still up in the air — is another school going to close? Not up in the air — classes of 35 kids. Also not up in the air — AJ’s very good friend and gifted class partner is moving, thanks to the schools, the economy, sick parents, something. What a mess we are in. And after hiking our taxes by an astronomical percentage, the state still owes us nearly $2 million. It’s all very discouraging. It makes me the worst kind of angry — the kind where you can only rail against some invisible, unreachable opponent. The worst part, though, is that the ones who suffer the fallout are not the ones who made this mess.

I’m also angry at a government that is not reflecting my interests, one that’s trying to get rid of health care for women. There was a time in my life when Planned Parenthood was my only form of health care. They took care of me when I was young and poor and underinsured and when I felt like I couldn’t trust the doctors my HMO forced upon me. And today the House voted to eliminate funding to NPR. If I thought that this were really about money, it would make me more sad than angry. Given the the current state of the economy, I’m having trouble justifying public radio in the sea of need. Although I can justify it a lot more easily than this crazy and expensive war we’re waging. But the amount of money is a drop in the bucket compared to other government expenditures. It’s about control of information and that does make me angry.

But this is all a drop in the bucket to what is happening on the other side of the globe. The stories from my friends in Japan are heartbreaking. Today, as for magpie, it’s all gotten to me. It’s all too much. I am trying to think about the people who are emptying their wallets to help others, whether the victims of the Japan quake and tsunami or a friend or stranger in need closer by. I am trying to think about the heroic actions of the people working in the failing nuclear power plants in Japan. I am trying to remember that things will get better eventually. Things change. The snow is gradually melting. We’ve had some warm weather and tomorrow the moon will be enormous. The sandhill cranes are migrating overhead. The daffodils are pointing through the dead leaves and the remainder of the snow. I remind myself there are still beautiful things and things to look forward to. I’m angry now, but I won’t be angry all the time. There are still things to look forward to. Unfortunately, Monday night’s school board meeting is not one of them.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 19, 2011 8:59 am

    You need some serious cheering up! Sometimes it makes me feel guilty, but I just have to stop listening, thinking and feeling empathy. I can’t let life stop me from enjoying myself or my kids. I can’t go There. Maybe motherhood has made me this way, but I can’t think too hard about anyone suffering. I can donate, I can cognitively know that this is a terrible tragedy, but I can’t let myself feel too much. Or I’m not sure I could get out.

  2. March 19, 2011 4:57 pm

    This is tragic.

  3. March 19, 2011 5:37 pm

    I’m sorry, Harriet. As usual, I can offer drinks or coffee if you want to talk about it.

  4. freshhell permalink
    March 19, 2011 6:18 pm

    I’ve had to stop listening to the news period. I get plenty of bad news via FB and the newspaper but I just can’t take it. I’m donating what I can (drop in the bucket). Just gave PP some. Japan’s a tough one but I know, in the end, because of the Japanese people, things will improve and life will go on. One of our alums is missing in Japan so that’s on my mind. Class of ’08. Went over there to teach English and just….disappeared between the earthquake and the sunami. I think about her parents and what they’re going through and the npr debacle doesn’t seem as awful (though it is in its own way). I try to focus on what’s good, on what I can change. Volunteering for the girl scouts may also be a drop in the bucket, supporting my kids’ teachers may seem miniscule, but you have to something for someone, however how small your effort or the effect. It’s always better than nothing. Your school situation seems untenable and I hope you find a solution that works for you. Seems like finding a job away from there and landing in a different, less bankrupt, county/city/district may eventually be the only workable answer. Which is easy to say and much harder to put in place. Sigh. I have no answers but I share your pain.

  5. March 20, 2011 4:05 pm

    I know. I stuck my head in the sand today. I made scones for breakfast, and we went to the aquarium, and we had deep fat fried hot dogs for lunch. And tomorrow I’ll open the paper and sigh all over again.

  6. March 21, 2011 8:10 am

    My parents found a magnet for my refrigerator some years ago that expresses some of my philosophy about getting through winter and other bad periods: “where there is tea, there is hope.” And now Lass has sent me some really good tea. I’d share the actual tea, but since you have other travel plans, I’ll share the idea that it helps, especially with milk and sugar.

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