Mar 09 2011

The Times, They Are A’ Changin’

Published by at 6:04 pm under Animals,Teaching

Why is there an a before changin‘? That doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe he meant, well, uh, changin’.

I’m roasting owl pellets. Ever since Eleni discovered them under a conifer in the front yard last weekend, I’ve been harvesting. The scent of baking owl pellets is one I suggest you avoid if possible. But since I want to examine them for tiny skulls and mouse kneecaps and stuff, and am not eager to traffic with e coli or salmonella, I thought it best to bake first. That’s what the Internet said to do, and who am I to challenge that. I only hope my landlord doesn’t start to notice the stench and knock on my door to make an inquiry, and discover that I’m using his oven and broiling pan for nefarious purposes. The scent is just what you’d expect of a potpourri of talons, fur, brains and tails.

Grief is driving me under. I’ve managed, however, to learn the truth of the assertion that teaching is like acting. Each of my twelve classes so far this week, I’ve entered the room wanting to say nothing, look at no one and turn my face to the wall. To my amazement, with a deep breath I have become another person, not at all who I am. It’s exhausting work, far more difficult than trying to notch up your mood a little for the benefit of friends. I truly have to become someone else entirely.

Today I thanked the director of this program for having hired me, and told her how much I’ve enjoyed my colleagues, which is absolutely true. She hugged me and said, We love you! I said, You’re kidding! Really?!?!?!? which probably wasn’t the right response. She then insisted that I come back to work there in the summer and fall, when there are more classes available.

There are three girls in one of my classes who have low English comprehension and speaking skills. Their way of coping, it seems, is to be arrogant, disruptive and disinterested. With them, I feel like the unpopular girl that I always was in high school, and it’s hard not to get my feelings hurt. I may be imagining this, but I have to say that I’ve noticed a shift in their behavior in the last couple weeks. They still giggle and whisper, but I swear, they’re trying harder now. And the ringleader, who was openly unpleasant to me, will now smile and try to listen. Only after that will she get snarky. This is gratifying, and I’m proud of them.

Man, this regurgitated dead rodent smell is getting overpowering, even with doors and windows open and oven fan cranked. The dog lurks near my door with interest. I keep trying to think of what I’ll say if I get busted with an inquiry by the landlord. Oh, sorry for the smell. I’m just cooking up a little, uh, well… actually, I’m baking some, well, it’s sort of like dirt. Why? Oh, you know: it’s good for… it’s a flavor they use in… I mean, it’s an ingredient that makes things taste, uh… The thing is, there’s only one thing that smells like this, and that’s dead things.

I’ve just figured it out. If they ask, I’ll say it’s Chinese herbs. Except you don’t bake Chinese herbs. So I’m going to go put a big kettle on the stove.

Oh, crap. The big pots are packed.

Ooh, I just heard my landlady say to my landlord, Are you ready? Either they’re about to break into my apartment and arrest me, or they’re leaving for a while. What a relief that would be.

I wonder if my former tenants cooked digested mammal bits in my oven too. Who could blame them.

I hate hospitals and doctors. I went to have my TB test read today (it’s fine, of course) and being in that setting made me deeply sad. So did one student’s inclusion of a photo of the Northern Lights in his presentation today. M & I had planned to go to Alaska to see them last January, but then I got this job.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “The Times, They Are A’ Changin’”

  1. M says:

    Why is there an “a-” before changing? Well, Ginsy, let me tell you. In English dialects like Appalachian English, it is a prefix which often (but not always) marks present tense progressive-aspect verb participles.

    Your owl-pellet-scent comments remind me of this uplifting recent Davis news: (It’s not really uplifting. I sorry.)

  2. Ginna says:

    M: I was just testing you to see if you you’ve been a’larnin’ anything at that college of yours. So it seems it can also mark the perfect aspects, wouldn’t you say?

  3. Eleni says:

    No no no-this is simply a case of misheard lyrics: the times, they are UNchangin’, doncha know.

  4. Oleg K. says:

    I always thought that they just needed an extra syllable.

  5. Ginna says:

    The Oleg: If that were the case, why wouldn’t they have used “glorp” or something else more creative. “The times they are glorp changin'” resonates with me.

  6. Oleg K. says:

    Glorp is one of those 5-dollar words that academics like you use. “a” on the other hand is more likely to be used by folksy folks. The very folksy folks that wrote this song.

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