A is for Alien

English: the picture consist of articles on bu...

English: the picture consist of articles on bullying, I obtained it from public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes I seriously believe that I’ll discover the ship that brought me here. Of late, being an alien from another planet has been the prevailing feeling and thought. Why is this? I’ll tell you why. It’s because the whole world has gone crazy that’s why!

Young people are committing suicide because classmates, neighbours and strangers are bullying them via cyber-space. So many things are strange about that one statement.

Classmates? What has become of the ‘family’ that classmates used to be? Children used to play with and protect people from “their class”. Teachers used to inculcate a sense of community and talk about things that are special about “our class”.

Neighbours? Parents used to know each other and children came out to ride their bikes in the street while the mothers look on. The ‘weird’ neighbours were the ones who didn’t allow their children to play with others and those who scowled at you when you said good morning. The ‘scary’ house in the neighbourhood was the one that was always quiet and closed because two elderly people lived there.

Strangers? – The rule used to be “Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t accept anything from strangers. Don’t get into a car with strangers.” I guess now we need to say, “Don’t accept friend requests from strangers.” Friend used to have a meaning. Now, strangers become friends with the click of a button.

Bullying? – I never encountered one outside of my own big brother and all I had to do was tell my parents about him then cry for him when he was being punished for bullying me! (silly me) In the movies, the bullies always eventually ended up being deflated by the very victim who pulled that courage out of himself after deciding that enough was enough. Now… hmmmn, how my heart aches. Girls bringing five more to beat one girl in a cafeteria and no one standing up to them? No one.

Cyber-space? – The bullies are not even the big, muscular guys taking advantage of the skinny, bispectacled, nerdy boy. No… all that’s big about them are their mouths and their own hurts and anger. All they need to do is be able to spell words that can cause hurt and pain to others then click the send button. Most of the words cannot be found in the Oxford or Webster Dictionaries. Cyberspace makes bullying an easy job. Cyberspace makes it that you don’t need to know the victim personally to just jump on the bandwagon of hate. Type and send, type and send.

I left this one for last:

Young people committing suicide? – Depression, anxiety, anger, loneliness… these are not new experiences to young people. I experienced every one ot them as a child. Parents used to talk to their children then even when we thought they couldn’t possibly understand. We used to talk about our issues face to face with friends, teachers, someone at church. In short, we were taught resilience, problem solving, anger management, manners and most of all, how to pray.

I feel like I’m standing in the aftermath of a horific attack on earth from aliens. Everything is destroyed and I am standing with sadness and shock as all has come to an end. There is an eerie atmosphere surrounding me. Then the fog clears and I see businessmen going about their business, parents continuing to be busy, politicians promising to reduce crime and all sorts of other things, teachers too tired and too bound by the many laws to really make a difference. Then it gets even worse. I see young people jesting about the horible sight. Laughing and saying it serves them right for being x, y or z. I turn away in deep inner pain and see so few, so very few with the same expression of grief on their faces, trying to fix the little space they’re standing in. They express their sorrow, they weep and they pray.

I look for my ship because my world was not destroyed by aliens. It was destroyed by its own inhabitants through bad laws, bad music, bad movies, bad drugs, bad books, and bad people using good technology.

I am  alien and let nothing alien be human to me.


Several Shades of Black

What's in my bag? - School

What’s in my bag? – School (Photo credit: Brandy Shaul)

School re-opened one week ago.  That means that this blog is about what happened two weeks ago.  You see, every time school is about to open, I go through certain stages.

First come the nightmares.  This has been happening to me for years.  I would dream of reaching to work late on the first day or not being prepared or not remembering that I had to do assembly.  This time was no different except for the fact that I only had one nightmare.  Good news?  Not so much.  You see, with only one, puny nightmare, my brain didn’t get enough time to purge itself of the fear or rather the dread of returning to school.  So, there were some roll-over points in the next stage.

The obsessive behaviour:  I would clean everything.  Every tile must be bleached, every item of clothing washed, every cupboard packed.  Even my pencil case gets a spring cleaning.  I would buy new stuff that would help me to organize – new water bottles for the boys, new bowls to pack food in the freezer.  I would count the number of white vests to make sure that the boys had enough, count rags, pack pencil cases.   The problem here was that the boys didn’t need new bottles, I didn’t get to go shopping for new bowls, and vests and rags were in order.  That meant that I had more nervous energy to expend than was necessary.  I’m not OCD really, I just can’t function without order and organization.  So, instead of calming me it became more roll-over points.

Since my central nervous system wasn’t getting the chance to let it all out through nightmares and obsessive-compulsive behaviour, a strange thing took over.  Veggie-state.  I lacked luster.  I lacked zeal.  I lacked energy.  I simply couldn’t do anything at all.  I couldn’t plan work (which I do during my vacation – yes)  I just couldn’t.  I could not prepare for school!

Then it happened.  The socks!  Yes!  I was going to get to be all OCD after all.  There is a little basket in my boys’ room called “The socks basket.”  It contains socks, all single sides in all different shades of black.  Really, it’s true.  I took that basket and added to it all the black socks from my husband’s drawer and the obsession and the nightmare became one.  I was in the living room, surrounded by fifty shades of black.  I matched and sorted and paired together.  I threw away some and tied others together that refused to be paired.  For all I know I probably threw away one side and kept the other thinking that the next side would turn up one day.  It probably took an hour but I sorted black socks.  I felt… a tiny bit better.

I knew that the ensuing weeks would be better.  I knew that when I began teaching, I would be better but with only one little nightmare, and one obsessive behaviour, I still ended up in a mood that was the darkest shade of all the blacks.

School re-opened one week ago…

Sittin’ and Waitin’

This has nothing to do with children or school or teaching or parenting but I simply must write about it and since this is my place, my blog I guess some space should be made here for it.  So here goes.

I really dislike sitting in public places to wait on someone.  Today, my husband asked me to meet his at a particular place and as expected I arrived first.  Also as expected I had to wait approximately forty-five minutes.  So there I was, sitting in a public place, waiting.  Luckily for HIM, there was a stall nearby which caught my attention.  It was a small stall with computer accessories on sale.  Although none of the items at the stall were of interest to me, the variety of people who visited the stall was very interesting… and so my time was spent observing the people.

There were males and females; young, middle-aged and old.  Some looked real fashionable, others looked like real geeks.  Some looked like parents.  One guy looked like a cowboy – no kidding – hat ‘n all.  There were some older folk with grey hair.  It was amazing.

Yet there were two people who caught my attention the most.  One was a lady dressed in a track pants, T-shirt and sneakers.  She had a messenger bag on her left shoulder and a knapsack on her right shoulder.  Her hair was almost totally grey.  She was interested in the price of a bag.  It was a laptop bag of course but I guess she thought it was an ordinary knapsack like the one on her right shoulder so she asked in local palance, “How much for the bag?”  Her reaction to the $200+ response was subtle, but to so keen an observer as I, it was hilarious.  Her eyebrows shot up, her eyes opened wide and her head went back a notch in shock.  In an effort to compose herself she mumbled something about how those bags ‘mash up’ so quickly, motioning to the one on her right shoulder.  I looked at it because I was a keen observer and heard her very mumblings which were probably missed by others in closer proximity and of lesser interest or observation skills.  With that, she put her head in the air and walked away as if to say, “Although I cannot afford that bag, which looks quite like the cheap one on my right shoulder, I am in no way a lesser human being that you all who happened to witness my utter shock at the price.”  When she was a safe distance away and I came out of the reverie, for I was quite taken with her, I laughed – visibly and heartily.

You may recall that I mentioned two characters who caught my attention.  Well the second was a guy whom I thought I knew from somewhere and it was this thought that kept me looking at him.  He approached the stall, asked a few questions then walked away.  Shortly afterwards, he returned to the stall, took out a few hundred-dollar bills and walked away with a big bag and a big smile… literally.  I knew the feeling of owning a new electronic gadget or computer accessory.  It’s sheer joy!  Yet as he walked away, my thoughts were not joyful.  I thought about how easy it was for him to simply hand over several hundred dollars to the sales clerk when for me, I would have had to save for a month or two before getting myself that coveted gadget.  That thought snapped me plumb out of my observations and reminded me of where I was and what I was doing… sitting and waiting and oh how I dislike sitting and waiting.