Life as an Extreme Sport


A bad mood snuck up on me Monday afternoon. I shook it off as low blood sugar, got some food, and seemed to be okay. It crashed down on me again yesterday, right after lunch. Okay, not a blood sugar issue.

A person issue.


I’ve lost a bit of my zen calm, it appears, and have let someone’s constant challenging of authority get under my skin. And it’s not that I even see myself as an authority – not even when I’m standing up lecturing about something. If I did see myself in such a light, you can sure as hell bet I wouldn’t 1) go out drinking til who knows when with students in my classroom, 2) be willing to sit down and talk with any students at any point about anything or 3) make jokes and other comments on papers while grading them.

I have to keep reminding myself that the other person may have been having a bad week. Perhaps two sour moods just hit and mixed badly. Or hell, maybe they really do have an issue with me – whatever. I need to not take it personally…

…except that’s really the problem with the pedagogical (if you will) method that I inhabit. This is personal for me. I pour everything into what I do, and to have that rejected sucks. More than that, it hurts. I just want the best for the folks I happen to get into student/instructor relationship with. Hell, I tend to be possessive and watchful of them long beyond when I should be (failing of mine, I admit).

I just don’t want what feels like the constant battle, and feel like it’s really stupid for it to even be there. And so I indulge in petty fantasies of handing back a paper with little to no markings on it, of removing myself from conversational opportunities, and withdrawing and becoming distant. I have too much a sense of responsibility to do the first, but I suspect the latter two will indeed happen in outside-my-classroom spaces. If I don’t want to get engaged in that sort of thing, I need to remove myself from the potential.

And if you think you’re detecting a note of sour grapes, yes, you are. I don’t want to remove myself from conversation with a dynamic, interesting person. Of course, the other option would be the mature route – the one that sits down and says “what the fuck is up with you?” and goes from there. Maybe when I regain a bit of center and balance, I’ll even take it. Right now, it’s more fun to fantasize about being six.