Vegetating (Day Six)

I have about 32 more hours as a vegetarian before I can go back to eating meat. When I first thought about doing this there was a real question in my head about whether I’d be able to pull it off or not; that fact is no longer in doubt at all. There is basically no way that I’m going to either accidentally eat meat or be forced to eat meat tomorrow, and I’m all done eating except for a stray snack or two for the day now, so I’m going to pull off a week without meat.

Do I want to try and go for a second week? No. No, not at all, thanks. At least not during the school year. Weirdly, it was lunches that killed me– as a teacher my lunch hour is a) extremely short and b) geographically constrained; I have to either bring my lunch with me, eat food from the school cafeteria (my usual choice) or race at top speed to one of several fast food/ grocery deli options in the area and hope there aren’t red lights or lines in my way. I tried to leave work for lunch once this week and the kids were like zombies outside my classroom door by the time I got down there. I just don’t have the time to leave the building, especially if I’m not racing. And cafeteria food is almost always meat-centered, and when it isn’t it’s rarely something I actually want to eat. (Generally, I don’t rag on our cafeteria food. But it’s terrible if you’re a vegetarian. Just not feasible at all.)

This means that I needed to bring my lunch, and I never really hit on anything that managed to keep me full for the rest of the day. Seventh grade has first lunch, meaning that we eat at eleven, and if I walk out of the building before 3:45 or 4:00 it’s a bloody miracle. So afternoons are long, and I need to make sure my lunches are filling enough that I’m not scavenging the corners in the hallways for scraps by the time I go home. I’ve been snacking a lot. Too much.

I think if I wanted to I could pretty easily shift to a plant-or-fish based diet for dinner five or six nights a week without it being that big of a deal. I do not think right now that I can include lunch in that. If I had a different job, it might be a different story, but with the way my lunches work right now it’s just too much of a pain in the ass to be including arbitrary restrictions into what I’m willing to eat.

Today was exhausting, by the way. My kids weren’t the problem; thinking was at as high a level as it ever gets and I didn’t have any particularly egregious examples of kids trying to pretend they’d never heard or math before or giving up on shit they know how to do. It was just one of those days where every time I thought I’d gotten something done or accomplished I turned around and there were five more things, Hydra-like, waiting where I’d cleared something out. Charmingly, the day ended with me and the security guard and both of our administrators investigating a stolen iPad in one of my classes; I’d not even been aware the thing was in the room, but the thief managed to convince the kid he’d stolen it from that I had confiscated it. The kid came running up to me at the beginning of last hour, practically in tears, begging me to give it back to him and not wait for his parents to get it and I had literally no idea at all what the hell he was talking about. It was lovely.

Oh, and one of the thieves (turned out there were two working together) was seven plus two kid from yesterday. So there’s a few more days where he won’t be in my room learning math. Meanwhile, the other jackass I discussed yesterday didn’t bother showing up for school today, meaning that he still has to serve his three days of in-school suspension when he gets back– so I’ll have him for a maximum of two days next week, and I don’t doubt his ability to do something on Thursday that will get him suspended again on Friday.

I think I’m glad it’s a weekend.

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Luther M. Siler

Teacher, writer of words, and local curmudgeon. Enthusiastically profane. Occasionally hostile.

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