Thursday, June 14, 2007


Function: noun

1 a : passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another : CHANGE b : a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another

2 a : a musical modulation b : a musical passage leading from one section of a piece to another

3 : an abrupt change in energy state or level (as of an atomic nucleus or a molecule) usually accompanied by loss or gain of a single quantum of energy

This week's personal transition is a number 3 according to Merriam-Webster. Tuesday was my last day of work at my high school, where I taught English to seniors this past year. This is my fourth year at my first high school teaching job (although it was only my third year teaching due to a leave of absence last year). Teaching is a full contact sport. When summer starts, there is an abrupt change from full energy 6 am starts to days that loom with no bells to govern when to eat or move between classes. Suddenly, the abundance of time weighs me down.

My colleagues feted my resignation with flowers and short stacks at a local pancake house before we went to work and finished our packing and grades for the year. I was finished with all my tasks by noon. So I went shopping. I don't enjoy shopping as a habit. Yet it was soothing to buy our household an expensive, razor sharp 8-inch knife. I also bought an oven thermometer for our trip to Transylvania this summer, where I hope to conjure American chocolate chip cookies from a gas stove. I dropped into a salon and treated myself to an impromptu pedicure. My toes are now buffed and bearing a shade called something like "A Taste of India." Then I was home by three o'clock with NOTHING to do. My husband wouldn't be home for hours. The house was clean. Oprah was a rerun.

So I ate a pint of Ben & Jerry's and fell into a three-hour coma with the soft blare of the television on the edge of my dreamless sleep.

Currently I am still in a state of loss. One negative quantum.

I do have many tasks to accomplish: writing, editing my book, finding an apartment in Boston, cleaning my toilet, responding to all those wonderful emails I never have time to fully address, visiting the doctor to diagnose the weird lump in my arm (he told me to come back in two weeks), feeling guilty about not working out, picking up the dry cleaning, hanging my new painting, "ism" by Scott Hatt (my very first painting!), playing tennis with my husband, reading the stacks of books that have been patiently waiting for me for months, etc. It will take a gain in quantum energy to transition into this new summer self.

I have temporarily banned Ben & Jerry's from our household.

In the meantime, my new kitchen knife slices through red bell peppers and broccoli with barely a shrug of my shoulder, no wrist action needed at all. What is more risky in times of abrupt change? Ben & Jerry's or a new kitchen knife? At least I'll be getting my daily dose of fresh vegetables.

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