So Jack's on the debate team again this year, which requires him to spend his Saturdays going to tournaments around the state. These tournaments are in some ways homegrown affairs, in that all events are judged by parents.
There is an online sign-up sheet on Our Fine School's Debate Team website, and all the good and righteous parents promptly sign up at the beginning of the year for the pleasure of leaving home at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning and listening to teenagers discuss the pros and cons of euthanasia, deliver speeches on the importance of protecting the environment, and give dramatic performances of Kiplings' "If--."
I have never signed up. Not once. Not even.
The Man did, once, thus fulfilling our family's burden for the Debate Year 2013-14. He came home from his one tournament drained and pale, having spent the day locked up in a classroom, the flourescent lights flickering, his stomach grumbling, his whole body transported back to 1983, when the hellish road of high school was still his to traverse.
I swore again then I would never, ever sign up to judge.
First of all, there are all sorts of helicopter parents at Our Fine School who eat this stuff up. There is no place they'd rather be than back in high school, reliving past glories and judging other people's children. Why deprive them of their fun?
Secondly, I can't go back to high school. Cannot. Can't face the flickering lights, the stupor that comes over me the second I enter a classroom. And I'm not that good of a listener. I tune out after five minutes. I'd be a horrible judge!
But duty calls. It knocks on the door. In my case, it knocked three times. First, it knocked on Tuesday when the debate coach sent out an email that he needed two more judges for this week's tournament. Then on Wednesday, when he emailed to say he needed one more judge. Please, oh please, I thought, let somebody else sign up!
But nobody did, and this morning, the coach emailed again. His subject line read "A Plea."
Well, I can't stand to see a grown man plead, but it took me two hours to talk myself into emailing him to say, Okay, maybe. I'm not committing just yet, but I might. Will there be pizza?
The coach emailed back within minutes to say thanks for considering it, but someone else had already signed up.
And that's what always happens. Always. I resist when someone asks me to do something I really don't want to do. I say (to myself) No! I will not do it! You can't make me do it! And then, when I finally talk myself into doing it and say, Yes, okay, if you really need me to do this ... Well, I'm almost always let off the hook.
Now why do you think that is? And why do I keep forgetting?
I just don't know. But I do think my Saturday will seem all the sweeter because I said yes and the universe said, You know what? Why don't you sleep in instead? Thanks, universe. I will!
Friday, October 3, 2014
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
My new treadmill desk! I'm walking as I write this!
My decluttering mission has been on hiatus for the last few days. Okay, maybe for a week. The problem came when it started raining last Wednesday. I didn't want to leave out any freecycling, and I didn't want to go to the recycling center in the rain. So my project came to a standstill.
Then, on Saturday the weather was good, but instead of decluttering I took a field trip. There's a plantation site about twenty minutes from my house, and I've been meaning to go out there forever. When the idea seized me on Saturday afternoon to go take the tour, I decided it was exactly the right thing to do.
Well, it was a fascinating tour, and I'm glad I went, even if it got in the way of my life being perfectly organized. The Stagville Plantation was the largest plantation in North Carolina, with over 30,000 acres and 900 slaves. The state owns the land with the main house and another section with a row of slave cabins. Both the main house and the cabins were lived in by sharecroppers until the 1950s, and the buildings are fairly well-preserved and maintained.
When I go to historical sites, what I really like to see is the domestic stuff--the furniture and the kitchenware and the buttons and combs and shoes (leather, unlike cotton, lasts). To my surprise, there wasn't much of that at Stagville. The furniture was sold off by family members years ago. The buttons? They're still there, somewhere under the dirt. There have only been two archaeological digs on the site, and they were small in scope.
So of course I came home and instead of decluttering emailed an archaeology professor on the Stagville Historic Site board of trustees and asked what gives. Turns out she's trying to get a dig going in the next few years. She said I was welcome to volunteer as a digger. I wrote back and said, Sign me up!
I guess it's for the best that I can't go dig now. I need to do finish my own dig here. More reports soon, I hope!