I traveled 7 hours form my school in Queens to my home in Long Island yesterday (pro-city people, please don't hate me. Leaving my beloved Brooklyn was a necessary step in order to remained married and (more importantly) around my daughter every day).
That's seven hours in a car in a snowstorm and I was one of "those teachers" who went right back in to work today. I only went because I knew there would be dedicated students who braved a commute to go and I wanted to make sure they saw my face there too. Funny thing: Today was the quickest commute I've ever had. It took me 40 minutes to get there and 35 minutes to get back.
The highways to and around the city were clean and dry today: Back to Normal!
Why did I go to work today? Well, like I said, I didn't want the students going in to school without seeing their history teacher (who had, by the way, a full engaging lesson ready to go). Plus, I like the feeling of normal. I'm a teacher -a 'normmeister' if you will. I norm students around things like rules and academic expectations and even social expectations. I'm the rock of normal in a world of ever changing teenage quicksandy confusion -and I like it that way. I like being the stability in kid' lives. That, my fiends, is how I roll. That's why I went to work today -and why I worked their butts off in class!
Ed, teaching a full lesson, despite having 40% attendance in his school: Back to Normal!
So anyway, I was watching Netflix on my cell phone during my nightmare commute last night. I saw a few movies and caught up on some old TV shows (really, the same thing I do at home). I saw a Schwarzenneger movie called "The Last Stand". Have you seen this? It was made in 2012 after he left the governor's mansion in California. Not bad if you watch it on a cell phone.
Hey, you remember that governorship, don't you? He took advantage of an unpopular democratic governor who had taken the blame (unfairly, mind you) for the power outages and was recalled by the voters. Arnold came into office promising an era of post-partisanship and a'new day' for California. There was talk of him running for the white house while he was governor, even amending the constitution to let him do so.
Until the recession hit and California's state budget took a harder hit than any other state in the union. The Arnold quietly let his term expire and a seasoned (populist) politician was elected to right the ship (which he did).
Arnold Schwarzenneger making campy action flicks again: Back to Normal!
So anyway, I woke up and read in the paper today that Mayor Bill de Blasio had taken some heat from the Murdoch press for not plowing the Upper East Side. Apparently, rich people don't like a fair tax structure, but do like their streets plowed at the public's expense (you're sucking off of the public dole, rich people! You're sucking off of the public dole!)! What struck me about this wonderfully constructed investigative piece (bla-haha) was the way the New York Post moved to this 'rich people vs. everyone else' narrative. I'm used to them constructing 'teachers vs everyone else' narrative. Sorry. I meant to say the 'criminals vs. everyone else' narra. ..no. That's not right. Wait, oh yes, it's the 'poor people vs. everyone else' narrative. No, wait, They stopped using that one after the '08 collapse. I think.
Anyway, Not this time. This time, they shot straight for the one per centers. It must have been a popular piece, too! They did a follow up on it for today's issue.
The New York Post engaging in classwarfare in a desperate attempt to increase readerhip? Back to Normal!
One more thought about the plow business. This is New York politics in the post-Bloomberg age and you should get used to it. Well, sort of. You see, this was New York politics in the pre Bloomberg age, too. Politics tend works this way. The people who want power launch brickbats at the people who have power. That's just how it goes.
There are three types of power players in a democratic structure: 1)Those who have power 2)those who don't, but are willing to trade their integrity for it and 3) those who firmly believe they should be the ones who have power and struggle for more For the last twelve years, MR Bloomberg had either bought off or scared that middle group of people half to death. As a consequence, stakeholders shut up and life on the surface seemed pretty tame. But now things are messy again (the way democracy should be!) and at the moment, the rich don't feel like they have power ...but they do have newspapers! So let the fun begin (get used to it, by the way. They'll keep at it until they find something with some real traction; frikin' grousers that they are).
Bloomberg is gone and good old fashioned, messy politics have returned: Back to Normal!
Hey, that reminds me, have you read my piece about the anonymous billboard placed in Times Square attacking Randi Weingarten? It was erected by a group called the 'Center for Union Facts' which is really just a front for right-wing Washington DC lobbyist Rick Berman. Of course I had to research to find that information, because, you know, the aftfacts.com website advertised on the billboard doesn't tell you who's behind it.
Ridiculous anonymous attacks on a union from a faceless right-wing group: Back to Normal!
Yes yes yes! The movie stars and money-makers have all left the scene to go back to making movies and money. The Press engages in class warfare. Whatsmore, anonymous rich people are attacking civil servants -and the New York City Public Schools was the only district the Northeast Corridor that opened today. Sounds pretty normal to me.
Soon the snow will melt and Spring will come and maybe we'll all even get raises. And when these things happen, just remember; that's what normal feels like.