Tuesdays at McDonalds

This morning I decided to take my daughter to our local McDonalds to have a “nutritious” breakfast (They wanted $1.92 for a teeny bag of sliced apples. Robbery, I tell ya.).  They have a pretty neat play area and a free wifi connection so it makes us both happy. This is the first time we have come on a weekday.

I knew that coming on a Tuesday at 8 o’clock in the morning would prove to have a dearth of children for my daughter to play with. That’s okay. She’s an only child and really does like to play by herself. Plus, there are these little touch to play video games that she loves to entertain herself with. She just likes to hang out and run around. This play is WAY more fun than our house.

Let me tell you, I wasn’t prepared for what I saw when I got there. It is winter and we live in an area where the winter visitors proliferate, partaking in the enjoyable 70 degree weather. Who wouldn’t want to be able to wear shorts in December? I know that I enjoy it. It is one of the rewards for surviving the stifling heat during the summer. But I digress.

As we entered the playground area, it was full of people. Real people with white hair and magnificent stories. I had stumbled upon the morning meeting place for a local trailer park. Apparently Tuesday morning is free Senior coffee day. The play room was filled. Both of the touch to play games were taken up by seniors playing them. It looked exactly like they were at the casino, playing video poker. The intensity was tangible. I kept on expecting tokens to come pouring out.

When I was younger, I was freaked out by older people. To me they were a signal of impending death and the end of it all. I don’t know where I got that notion. Probably because my grandmother was ancient and the youngest in her family. It seemed as if everyone around her was dying. Luckily, I’ve outgrown that and I’ve come to realize exactly how wonderful so many of them are.

Their stories amaze me. This group has seen so much in their lives. When they were born, there was no Internet. Gasp. Choke. Sob. I don’t know how they managed! They’ve seen beta tapes, vhs tapes, laser discs. 8-tracks. 8-tracks! I remember listening to the audio version of Star Wars on the 8-track player on our van sized stereo. Darth Vader’s voice clicking in the middle as the tracks changed. I used to know exactly where the clicks were.

As my daughter was playing and I was attempting to blog, I was listening to some of the conversations that they were having. They were telling somewhat dirty jokes (Oh.Em.Gee.) and talking about things that my friends and I would talk about. It made me sort of wish that I could come every Tuesday morning to get to know them. Maybe they could teach me a lesson about life. Maybe they could sneak me a free coffee. I bet some of them would be willing.

One thing I figured out though… there is more life experience in that place on Tuesday mornings than possibly anywhere else in good ol’ AJ.

To post or not to post, that is the question

There is a fabulously written* post about my last visit to the doctor sitting in my draft folder, waiting to be let out and play with the other ones.

This blog post could make me a BLOGSTAR!!**

The big question is, why don’t I publish it? Why haven’t I pushed that button and let it roam free? Those are very good questions. Thanks for asking. Here is the conversation about this that I imagine we would have if we were sitting in the same room.

You: Why haven’t you published this stupendous blog post?

Me: The answer is simple, but complex. Paradoxical even.

You:  >.>  Huh?

Me: I don’t want to lose my job. I am an educator.

You:  <.<  Oh-kay? What does that have to do with anything?

Me: (entering justified– in my humble but accurate opinion– rant) Anything I post is subject to scrutiny. I can’t joke about how I wish sometimes that teenagers weren’t allowed outside or in public when I am around and especially after dark. If I talk about imbibing an alcoholic beverage or, goodness forbid, have a picture posted of me with said beverage, there is the possibility of administrative sanctions. Even though I am of legal age. Swearing in my blog? Heavens no! What if one of my students saw it and decided that it was appropriate? Please understand, though, that I am not one for swearing. However, an occasional swear provides emphasis. Sometimes I like to drop a curse. I have to watch what I write because I could get into trouble. If there is one thing that I hate more than anything else, it is getting into trouble! There are so many teachers out there who have been put on administrative leave or lost their jobs because of these innocent things. I don’t want to be one of them.

You: O.o

Me: Inorite?

Unless I want to blog anonymously (and seriously, don’t we blog to be famous??), I have to watch what I write. Will I get fired if I do any of the above things? Probably not. My district is a good one to work for; my principal is understanding. However, the risk is still there. Because social media is relatively new the rules in academia haven’t been determined. There is no standard that I can follow, no set guidelines to … um… guide me, and no way to know whether or not my post about waiting for my doctor can get me into trouble.

I guess that is one of the reasons why I don’t blog as consistently as I ought to. I have ideas jostling around in my head, fighting to get out, but I worry about what ramifications will occur if I post them. Every post is an act of self-censorship and it kind of makes me sad.

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*I know this because my mom told me it was fabulously written.

**application of @lucysfootball’s emphatic style (read her blog; it rocks!)