Friday, November 24, 2006

Back by popular demand

Yes, I'm back. Of course, I wish I could say the same about my voice. It seems to come and go. Hopefully it will be back completely by Monday but I doubt it. I have improved from Wednesday. Now I can actually talk at a regular level. But yelling? So not happening.

My first year teaching something similar happened. I showed up to work on a Friday feeling kind of so-so. As the day went on, I started feeling worse. By the time my last class showed up (I was teaching middle school and had three groups of students.), I had almost no voice. Luckily I had won them over by that point in the school year. When they realized that I had almost no voice, the more boisterous members of the class turned and shouted, "Shut up. Can't you see that she has almost lost her voice?" I taught the rest of the day at a near whisper -- and no one missed a word.

That is when I realized the power of whispering. I stopped yelling at my class. Instead, when I really wanted their attention, I would drop my volume. I have tried it a few times this year. They're a little slower to catch on. I try to explain to them that my vocal cords cannot take yelling all day long, even when I am healthy. I have also explained to them that this is why I don't drink coffee, but instead drink tea with honey all day long.

You should have heard me in the grocery stores on Wednesday. It almost made me want to go out drinking. Because my voice had that perfect level of raspiness. What a bummer when I spoke to my dad latter that afternoon and had most of my voice back.

Then again, it gave me a perfect excuse for not going to Sack of tomatoes. It seems that T-day was at my dad's brother-in-law's house. Now, there is only one person in that family who actually likes me, my father's sister-in-law. Of course, she catches a lot of flak from her family as well. Her family's take on me? Spoiled brat. Ummmm. Stop hating the player, hate the game. I know some of you are wondering about the reference. Let's face it. I can play my dad like a fiddle most days. Not that I've played a fiddle but I did take cello. May be why my ex used to say that I should become an actress. (Of course, the only one who always sees through the act is my mother. Then again, some of this I learned from her.) I can't help it that they grew up wanting and all. I don't think they were poor, kind of like my mom's family, but they did not have the finer things in life. I mean shouldn't every 16 year old back in the 80s been well acquainted with Ernie's and Victor's? Well, my sixteenth birthday was not spent at either, but instead at this place, Alexis, which was almost my name. Not around anymore but it was at the peak of (S)Nob Hill across from the Mark Hopkins.

So my stepmother doesn't like me much because I've always had more than she has and I know more stuff than she does. My dad and I have always been huge trivia fans. My dad is also a huge fan of Scrabble thanks to his mom. When my dad puts down some mystery word, I never challenge him because I know that he has studied the Scrabble dictionary in depth. What truly irritates my stepmother is when we watch Jeopardy. Not my fault that I can come up with many answers before Alec has finished reading the clue. To be fair, I started pausing a second or so after Alec finished reading the clue. Same result.

So she belongs to all these organizations -- because she is married to my dad. That is about the only reason why these women welcome her. Me? Well, yes, I am my father's daughter but I am also far more charming and know how to work a room. I remember the venom that seethed under the surface for some of my mom's sorority sisters when I was accepted to a certain deb ball. "How did you get your daughter into that ball?" Easy. One of my mom's college friends knew the women on the committee and knew that I would be able to charm them. The one time my name actually hit the society page (Pat Stiger's column, for locals). Like that will ever happen again. And I read that column like a Bible when I was growing up. I know. Funny for a girl from Richmond but then many people underrate Richmond. I mean, how many of you shelled out dollars to see Coach Carter? (No, that was not my alma mater. Mine was the one that was supposedly the "Owls" in the movie.)

And I guess I should be saying that I will be resting the remainder of the weekend but that would be a lie. Instead, I will be doing a little salsa on Saturday. And if that's dead, then I'll be doing some tiki bar action. With fellow teachers. 'Cause we get down like that when the kids are away. And maybe I'll chainsmoke some cigs so I can hopefully recapture that raspiness again.

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