Sunny Days are First World Problems (in suburban middle class Michigan)

I got ready to leave today and thought, “I don’t wannnnna.” In my head, I was a surly four year old whose mother just asked her to pick up her Barbie dolls. In my head, I stomped my foot. I slammed my doors. I cursed the day for just being Wednesday.

Sunny days are first world problems in suburban, middle class, Michigan.

I leave to “begin” my Wednesdays at 2:00 in the afternoon. It is hard. By 2:00 in the afternoon, I am well into the goals I set for the day and the routine that I have established.

Today, when I left the sun wasn’t shining. In fact it had just rained. But when I arrived at my destination, the sun was out. In Michigan! And in March… The sun was out and it was kissing 60 degrees.

I am quite happy to have the obligations that I have on Monday and Wednesday, but I wish that I could begin the day early and end at a “normal” time. As much as I would hate a 9:00-5:00 job, 5:00 p.m.. is a reasonable “quitting time”. And because I am a morning person, by 5:00 p.m., as I write this in fact, my brain is slowly turning itself off for the night.

I didn’t used to be a morning person. As a child, teenager, and even as a younger adult, it wasn’t happening. I wasn’t much of a night owl either though. I was a mid-day lion. I don’t know when the switch occurred, but it has and I can’t deny that I am much more productive and have my best “game” earlier in the day.

I spent ten minutes thinking about getting out of my car. It is good that I arrived early. I call my car “Barbie Beach Mobile” because a.) it suits the model, and b.) there are few things that I like better than sunshine, sand, and flip flops. I am a summer girl through and through.

“Ahhh… blessed be” I thought. I sat with the window down, my glamorous pink sunglasses on, and my hand gently resting out of the open window.

It took me a full ten minutes to muster up the get up and go to actually get up and go. I walked into the building, and in my head, the four year old was still pouting. She was having a ballistic fit that she was inside and it was sunny. She wanted the Barbie dolls thrown all over the living room.

Sometimes adulting is hard.

But then I saw a sight that never stops getting old.

I saw two people that I have the pleasure of teaching and they were walking in together. I walked in behind them, but I was a good distance away from them.

“I love this class” one said.

“I know. I do too” the other acknowledged, “the pronoun joke was actually kinda funny.”

“She is kinda funny.”

The four year old in my head was sent to her room and the adult in me took over.

This is why I am here. I am here to create moments like “the pronoun joke” and to have people looking forward to learning what I have to teach.

Am I going to create that kind of excitement for every person? No. I’m only one person.

But I am one person that loves what she does, even on sunny March days, in Michigan.

People poured into the room and one by one they all said “hi” and I asked how every person’s day was going.

As is habit, when class started, I asked “how are you today, how are things, anything we need to talk about before we talk about writing?” I ask this every day. My best friend taught me once that sometimes, one just needs to get the wiggles out. I let them get their wiggles out first thing.

“It was really damn hard to come to class today!”

I looked right at the person that said it and asked why.

“It’s finally sorta nice out.”

The rest of the class agreed.

“How about this,” I started, “what if… when it gets nice, stays nice, and dries out, we take our act on the road once or twice when we can?”

The class looked at me like I’d told another pronoun joke.

Take our act on the road?

“Let’s go outside when we can. If we don’t ‘need’ tables or computers, let’s go outside. We can all sit someplace and conduct class on the grass.”

I’ve given them a million dollars.

No, two million dollars.

The person that mentioned liking the class on the way into it asked, “like, for real?”

“Yes! I’ve done it before. It’s a nice change. As long as you let me wear my glamorous pink sunglasses.”

They agreed to let me be fabulous and we could go outside when Michigan says it’s okay.

After we made a plan to go outside when we could, the four year olds in all of us went to our rooms, put away our toys, and waited patiently for dinner. We were good kids again.

We discussed research methodology and ethical incorporation of source material. I talked about annotation and we looked through databases.

On the way out, they hoped that it was sunny and warm on Monday.

The “I love this class” student walked up to me before leaving and said, “you know, thanks for offering to take us outside.”

“Of course” I replied “I love being outside and it really is a nice change of pace.”

“Well, I appreciate that you can tell that people get restless. That’s pretty cool. See you Monday! And I hope it’s sunny again.”

Sunny days are first world problems in suburban, middle class, Michigan. But they can be the greatest aid to a teacher of writing and the college freshman that just want to be four from time to time.

Adulting is hard. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring.





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