Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day #33

Highlights from Northbay:

'Sleeping' in the cabin with the 7th grade boys. I was up until 2am before finally kicking off because I didn't want to get punked; soon as I fell asleep Slick Lorr was up in my grill. I'm a light sleeper so before he could do whatever he had in mind I had him wrapped up in a sleeper hold on the floor.

"Dag, muthafucka like a cat," Lorr said. "Even his eyes!" He shone his flashlight in my face. Lorr was up half the night hunting stinkbugs with his flashlight. Every time he found one he would talk to it before killing it.

At around 4:30am Tiefighter was up on his top bunk delivering a monologue right out of Dostoevsky: "When we finally get to that damn Northbay gift shop I am buying myself a pair of fucking Northbay earmuffs. Gottdamn Nimoy I cannot sleep with your trifling ass snoring all night. Bitch! Why don't you shut that noise out?" He went off in this vein for more than 30 minutes straight, 'packing' and 'riding' Nimoy for his snoring, 'packing' his family tree all the way back to the 1830's, 'riding' his breath, his 'lame ass thumb-sucking self,' etc, etc. I observed this soliloquy alone--even Slick Lorr was asleep at this time. I found it fascinating. Nimoy's snoring wasn't even that bad.

The sixth grade boys were no fun either. I was their companion teacher during the day, accompanying them on their various excursions and classes. Their behavior was often ridiculous. On a trip into the woods to study vultures they totally disregarded the educator; shortly after he told them to stay behind him on the trail they rushed out ahead. He and I chatted briefly and decided to follow them. We had a PLAN. After about 30 minutes they got stuck in a briar patch. We arrived and the educator said "you didn't stay behind me on the trail. We are no where near where we are supposed to be. You have to come together as a team and figure out the way back." What followed was somewhere between Lord of the Flies and the Blair Witch Project. There was crying, fighting, shrieking, hissy-fits, panic attacks, glossolalia, episodes of possession by assorted Loa, spontaneous recitations in Enochian, and at least one manifestation of the stigmata. It took 90 minutes for them to even circle up and start communicating. It is one of the most disturbing and wonderful things I've ever seen.

The next day the 6th grade boys vandalized their cabin by urinating all over the floor. Because of this, we didn't get to ride the Human Swing. Instead, we had to do a circle and figure out a way to pay back the fine folks at Northbay. The kids voted to ask how they could repay the damage they'd done, and they were assigned a 90-minute work shift with Housekeeping. They cleaned rest rooms, they picked up trash, they folded laundry, and did themselves proud.

I was sad, because I wanted to ride the Human Swing. It looked terrifying! I'd already done the zipline, the rock wall, and the rope course with the boys.

Northbay is a cool place. Their focus on environmental ed is awesome, and their character building presentations were mostly cool. It got a bit cultish at the end, however, with laying on of hands and some sort of brick worship ceremony which I found awkward. But whatever. I'll go back next year. Maybe I'll stay in the Teacher's Roost the whole time. Those nights in the cabin were off the hook. I worked like 90 hours last week!


Shelley said...

Okay, as a writer myself, I gotta tell you: this has to be a book.

Nyarlathotep said...

After my 3-year stint in B'more City is over I'll have a decision to make: continue teaching these kids, or quit and write a book about it. Tough choice!