1000 Words, Take Two

1000 Words Take Two

A picture is worth a thousand words.

I have never been to the place where this picture was taken. More than anything this picture reminds me of a snapshot from a dream.

The cable car is ascending, so perhaps the passengers are making their way to their destination. The past looks deserted. The present is filled with motion, and the future is yet to come. How do I know? More steps. More climbing. More ascending. Upward. Onward.

Not there yet.

Dreams mean something to me. Sometimes I think my subconscious is talking to me. Sometimes I know God is speaking to me. The colors of my dreams offer clues to interpretation.

This photo is much like the mysterious dreams I’ve had. There isn’t much color, so I can’t decipher the good from the bad. When I dream in vivid color, I am at the peak of my creativity. When I dream in black and white, I feel as though an omen has lit upon me.

I’ve had three types of recurring dreams: my Idaho Customs House dreams, the bathroom dreams, and the cityscape dreams.

For a year or more, I used to dream of a Customs House in Idaho. Week after week. Day after day. And then the dreams stopped. To this day, I have no idea why I dreamed about this place. As far as I know, it does not exist. Why Idaho? Why a Customs House?

I’ve never been to Idaho. But the video that played in my mind was accurate. Beautiful. Well, as much of the Idaho scenery as I could see. In my dreams I was always on the inside looking outward—somewhat of a twist on the outside looking in scenario that might color most people’s dreams.

The Customs House itself was a busy place, lots of hustle bustle. It was old and wooden. I remember everything being brown, but it was a comforting shade of brown, warm, inviting. I always felt as though I had stepped back in time when I entered the Customs House. Truth be told, prior to having this dream, I really didn’t know what a Customs House was. I had to look it up.

A customs house, or custom house, is a building that houses the offices of government officials who process the paperwork for goods going in or out of a country.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a customs house. I passed by The Custom House in Salem, Massachusetts, and without knowing it, I have driven by the one on Broadway in Nashville at least a zillion times.

But the Customs House in my dreams looks nothing like what I’ve seen in pictures. And to this day I don’t know why I spent so many nights thinking about it.

As for the bathroom dreams, I’m embarrassed to say I still have them. But who wants to talk about bathroom dreams? Who wants to have bathroom dreams?

My bathroom dreams are always dark, as if I have walked into a partially lit room. But over and over—it’s never the SAME bathroom—I dream that I am in a bathroom in an abandoned building. It’s eerie. Nothing bad ever happens. I just find myself wandering in a cold place, looking for something. I never know what it is.

Psychologists would tell me that I am suppressing emotions that I need to release. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Not something I prefer to dwell on. Ewwww.

And then there is the cityscape dreams. These dreams are a combination of the Customs House and the bathroom dreams. I have traveled through New York City a couple of times at night. I remember riding on a multi-level bridge. I couldn’t see much around me as it was dark. I do remember seeing the water and the apartment buildings, side by side, one after another. I felt small in such a big space, scared, alone, as if danger I could not see was close by my side.

My cityscape dreams are similar to my New York City trips—dark, foreboding, mysterious. In these dreams I’m lost and looking for my way out. Sometimes I’m being chased.

When I look at the picture above, I feel as though I have stepped into a dream. I don’t know where I am. I don’t know the people. I can’t understand their emotions. As I look closely at the photo, I admire the mystique of the mosaic steps, but I can’t help but notice that the patterns of the rock resemble the scales of a snake.

The climb is so steep. How easy would it be to fall backwards and keep going?

Why is the cable car so narrow? Why are there only a few people outside it? Are they waiting to board? Could the cable car represent the passage from this life to the next? Could the people who are embracing be saying their final goodbyes?

A picture is truly worth a thousand words, but in this case it has inspired 834.

Need inspiration for your writing? Check out WordPress’s Weekly Writing Challenge. Let this photo inspire you to write a thousand words, more or less.

One more totally inappropriate blog

I should write a blog about blogs a writer should never write. Every day I come up with yet something else that’s not printable.

Don’t jump to conclusions. I’m not talking about X-rated or even R-rated material. I’m talking about the stupid, “you-had-to-be-there” kind of ideas that only you and your dog—or cat—would find hilarious.

But  considering the kind of week I’ve had, I am breaking my “no rant, no stupid” blogging rule, and I’m ranting about a topic that’s dear to my heart—and other body parts.

The bathroom.

Most of you have “normal” jobs. I am a teacher. There is nothing normal about being a teacher. We never grow up. We’re conditioned like Pavlov’s dog to respond to bells, and if we know in advance we’re going to kick the bucket, we’d better turn in our lesson plans a day early.

And we teachers have limited privileges.

“Yeah, right. I’d like to have a two-month vacation,” you say.

Believe me. We pay for our two-month “vacation,” both literally and figuratively. We don’t work 9-5, or even 8-3. We take our work everywhere we go, on vacations, to our kids’ ballgames. I recall one pregnant teacher phoning in her lesson plans while she was the delivery room.

But the basic necessity we teachers lack that most other members of the workplace take for granted is the opportunity to go to the bathroom as need arrives. We must pre-schedule our visits—or not go at all. To a teacher, a semi-private bathroom, one we don’t have to share with students, is a luxury.

It never fails. Every time I make a quick trip to the student restroom, which is closest to my classroom, I’m under constant scrutiny. I’m the enemy. The students shut up then whisper, “Not now. Teacher.” Then everyone shuts up to see what I’m going to do.

Awkward.

Here’s the problem. The teacher bathroom at my school is on the opposite end of the building from my room so if I need to visit, I must manuever through hundreds of students during class change or slip out of my room during instructional time and hope, nay, pray, my students don’t torment each other or—worse yet—an administrator doesn’t enter the room without me present.

Teachers aren’t supposed to talk on the cell phones during class time. Sometimes we can’t even answer when nature calls.

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I’m one of those people who have recurring dreams—and they’re all about bathrooms. I find that bizarre, don’t you? I decided to do a little research to find out why. I didn’t consult a medium or witch doctor. I Googled.

Psychologists suggest my bathroom dreams reveal I am repressing my feelings and not admitting to how I really feel about something.

Well, great. Blogging is a wonderful idea. Letting go of my bathroom troubles is cleansing, renewing. Maybe I can just rant and flush these troubles away.

Yeah, right.

This past week I suffered a great dilemma. When I arrived at school, I had limited time to carry in my book bag and the many bags of groceries I brought for our annual Thanksgiving food basket drive. I knew I would have to make many trips and then go sign in and do hall duty before school started. Somewhere in between those duties, I needed to go to the bathroom.

My first trips to my room were easy. Arms loaded, I balanced just right, and unlocked my classroom door. I still had a few minutes to spare. With only one bag left in the car, I estimated I could do it…sign in and visit the ladies’ room before the bell rang. I rushed back to my Explorer.

Then it happened.

When I picked up my bag, a jar of peanut butter fell out. And it rolled. And rolled. Underneath the SUV next to me.

Keep in mind, I was dressed in my professional attire, not my Saturday afternoon jeans and t-shirt.

My school is undergoing extensive re-modeling; construction workers abound. I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of them, but I got down on my hands and knees on the gravel drive and peered under the automobile.

I couldn’t reach the peanut butter.

I had my options. I could leave it, waste the money, and turn in an incomplete basket. I could ask the driver to move the car, or I could go inside and hunt for a broom to whack the peanut butter closer so I get my fingers on it.

But here’s the problem. I had limited time. I didn’t want to waste the money or the time it took to hunt down the driver or a broom.

So I did what any insane, improper, undignified teacher would do. I put down the bag, dropped to my belly, and crawled combat style under the SUV to retrieve the peanut butter.

Total humiliation. (If a construction worker asks you about some nut rolling around in the teacher parking lot, please pretend as if you know nothing.  Let’s keep it our little secret.)

And you want to know what’s worse? The next day our school had a lock down during our first period class. I followed my principal’s directives. I locked my door and told my students we were completely safe. NO ONE could get in.

And then the ceiling gave away, and the roof started leaking. Drip. Drip. Drip. But we still had a huge barrel to catch the water from the many other episodes of leaks we’ve had since last year.

There was one problem. I had to go to bathroom. I could not leave the room for any reason. The class period extended for another forty minutes or so.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

But we were safe. NO ONE could get in our room because I had locked the door.

But the door opened.

And a man entered.

And he carried something in his hand. I thought it was a Glock. It was a flashlight.

One of our hard-working maintenance personnel peeked in to check on my ceiling. He arrived just in time. The ceiling immediately exploded with multiple leaks, and we only had one bucket.

Drippity, drippity, drippity, drip, drip, drip. And I still had to go to the bathroom.

But I couldn’t go to the bathroom, not even the next class period.

I was scheduled to be observed as part of our state evaluation program. If I left my room, I risked points being deducted from my score for not being on time and prepared.

Drippity, drippity, drippity, drip, drip, drip.

There are those times when a teacher has to do what a teacher has to do.

The principal announced the end of the lock down, and out the door I flew. I found my evaluator. I rescheduled my observation and rushed to the teacher’s bathroom on the other side of the building.

But it was locked. I couldn’t get in. Like my room, the women’s bathroom had suffered too much water damage and had to be closed for repairs.

ARRGGGGG!

So here I am at home on Thanksgiving break. Bet you can guess one of the reasons why I’m thankful. We have two bathrooms in our house, and when Mama says, “Mine!” my boys know I mean business.