Just a thought

A warning: this post has the potential to start out sounding kind of grandiose, like I’ve got a Big Point to make and I’m Going Somewhere; don’t be fooled, this is just an anecdote that is a bit too complicated for Twitter or Mastodon. Calibrate your expectations accordingly.

My wife does the grocery shopping every week, on Saturday or Sunday morning. This started out as a Covid thing where it made more sense for just one of us to be out in the world being exposed to people and has more or less solidified into What We Do Around Here since then. While she’s gone, I clean up the kitchen and get the dishes washed. This involves emptying and refilling the dishwasher, which means I’m putting glasses and cups back into the cabinets.

How many of you put your glasses upside down in the cabinets? Is this something everyone does? An Indiana thing? I have no idea, because it’s not like I’ve paid attention in other people’s houses, and when I *am* in someone else’s house and getting a cup out of a cabinet, it’s likely that it’s someone related to me, so they have the same practices. I have no idea if this is “normal” or not.

Anyway, as I was putting a glass into the cabinet this morning, it floated through my head that the reason I have always done it this way is that it keeps bugs out of the glasses. That’s why you put them upside down. It’s so bugs can’t get in. That’s the reason.

And that thought kind of stopped me short for a minute. Like I literally froze, glass in hand, thinking about that belief that I’ve harbored, unexamined, for my whole Goddamn life.

Because you know what I’ve never had a problem with, not one time, in my entire life, from growing up in my parents’ house, to a couple of college dorms, to various apartments and now the whole-ass house I’ve lived in for the last twelve years? Bugs in cabinets. And one of those apartments had an ant problem for a while. I have probably at some point or another found a stinkbug in a cabinet. One. Because during stinkbug season those fuckers get everywhere. But that’s it. And this belief, that you keep glasses upside-down in the cabinet because that’s how you keep bugs out of them, has been hard-coded into me for my whole damn life.

Which got me wondering how many generations back you have to go, to find the ancestor who had cabinets and had a bug problem, one bad enough that decades later that person’s descendants are still automatically following this rule they– well, she, let’s be real– created. I know it came through my mother because when I was a kid mothers did all the housework, but my grandfather on Mom’s side had a lifelong, solid, post-WWII Silent Generation union job in a factory and if they were ever poor enough that keeping the bugs out was an issue I have never heard about it. So we’re talking probably at least three generations back.

It really makes me wonder what other things I do without thinking about it that can be traced back to, like, the Depression or something like that.

In which assessment is stupid

My kids– most of them, anyway– took a test today, and I cannot for the life of me decide whether I have made a massive error in entering this career. On one hand, way more of them failed than should have; I was pretty confident going into today, and my raw pass rates and scores were … not good.

On the other hand, we use a pretest/posttest model, and out of the seventy some kids who took the test today and who I have pre-test scores for (a bunch of them will have to test tomorrow for one reason or another) all but, like, five improved their scores. Not one of them was above 33% on the pretest– not surprising, given that they hadn’t been taught the material– and while there were a lot of failures there weren’t many kids under that mark. So … that’s progress, right? Of a kind, at least?

What if I told you that the kid who skipped my class nine days out of ten during the first semester and has been here every day during the second got a 90% on the test, was given a gold star sticker for her efforts, and when I saw her in the hall a few minutes later was wearing said sticker on her face? Because, I tell you what, I’m going to be grooving on that feeling for a week or two.

Meanwhile, I’ve been sitting at my desk grading and recording test data for, like, two and a half hours, so I think I’ll go interact with my family for a bit before everyone goes to bed.

Just FYI

Much better day today, although I’m not super keen on spending the whole evening in front of my computer, so not much of a post tonight. But hey. At least it was a better day.

Free advice

If, after a reasonably relaxing six-and-a-half hour sleep cycle, you nearly die on the highway on the way to work because 1) somebody parked their car in a really shitty place on an offramp and oh also 2) you’re honestly fighting falling asleep for basically the entire drive, and then you get to work and, bleary-eyed and brainless, try to open your classroom door with your keycard badge, which, uh, doesn’t work on those kinds of doors, just go home. The day is not going to get better.

I also screwed up solving a problem on the whiteboard for my first hour class, only not only could I not find my error, neither could the entire class, and we sat and stared at it as a group for probably ten minutes. Turns out that, while 1.5 is half of three, that doesn’t mean that 3/1.5 equals 1/2! It equals two.

One grown adult, fifteen honors students, and it took me until lunchtime to figure out what I’d done wrong. I definitely should have given up and gone home after first hour.

In which I had shit to do today

I have discovered, at my son’s suggestion, a game called Archvale, which I played for nine fucking hours today, and it is only 5:07 PM. I had to tear myself away from the Xbox, an act requiring much more willpower than I was expecting, in order to make sure that my minor son, who I am both legally and morally responsible for, ate lunch. And also to make sure that he was, like, in the house.

My fingers are numb. It has been a very fucking long time since I played a video game until it caused injury. And here’s the real bullshit– I still have to play more video games tonight (“have to,” he said) if I want there to be content for my stupid little YouTube channel tomorrow, since I recorded none of that nine hours.

(It’s not that kind of game, I think. I coulda live-streamed the whole mess, I suppose, but it’s not good for episodes.)

Anyway. I have lesson planning to do now, I suppose. Graaaaaaah.