Saturday, January 10, 2009

DI Dinner

Meeting up with friends in LA is harder then then traveling to Europe. All you need for Europe is a plane ticket and a passport. Gathering together a group of friends in LA is like herding feral cats, nobody can commit to anything even though nobody is doing anything.

It's the traffic.

This time trying to get together took twelve text messages and three phone calls, but then there were only three of us.

In LA you want to get people to commit to an appointment you have to serve them with a warrant, otherwise Mercury is in retrograde and their chakra is out of sink and the mocha frap enema they had yesterday is giving them a bout of diarrhea. Sorry, no way we can make it.

I'm gathering with two of my fellow teachers to commiserate about the LA district intern program. Anyone that's been through the district intern program shares a common bond akin to plane crash survivors in the Andes forced to eat dead bodies in order to survive.

For three years every Thursday we met. (And one additional Saturday a month.)

Three years of mind numbing, politically correct dreck of educational pedagogy, learning communities, and brain eating professional development. The interns came, they had to come. It was that or have your emergency credential revoked, no credential. No job.

Goodbye Must See TV.

Bonds were forged beneath the unforgiving glare of our District Intern administrators, small people with cruel mouths accustomed to giving mean orders. We were berated, chastised, infantialized: bow down and give respect worm! Many interns withered and fell away, unable to bear the pressure.

One young woman who had heart surgery broke down in tears, they told her she was in danger of being kicked out of the program because she had missed 3 weeks in a row. Sorry young lady, illness is no excuse!

We rebelled under the yoke of their tyranny, mocked them, cut corners, ignored their directions after they had given an order. People with small hearts are easy to ignore.

We shared stories, spoke of the horrors of the week, cracked jokes, turned mindless projects into multi-media platforms of entertainment. We taught each other with songs, created art, and always found time to laugh, both to spite our adminstrators and to spite them. DI Thursday turned from prison to a spiritual retreat.

Alas, we graduated, and attending classes was no longer a requirement. Now everyone is busy, their chi is unfocused, their kid is sick, and traffic is a bitch.

Now it takes 12 text messages and 3 phone calls just to get 3 of us together.

We meet up at George the Greek's in Long Beach, its the kind of place where you take a girl on a 2nd date, trying to impress her while staying on a budget. (In most cities you have to do this at the Olive Garden.) Being LA all the Greek food is cooked by Mexicans. Hummus, dolmades, mosaka, souvlakia; might as well be tacos, burritos and carne asada.

I'm joined by Alfonso and Parrish. Alfonso is a 5th grade teacher and works part time as a bouncer/chaeuffer driver for a sushi club called Wasabi's. (Sushi by Mexicans.) Gregarious and full of mirth, he is more mountain then man. If you were to try and take him you had better be armed with something like a Lincoln Continental, and that Lincoln Continental should be moving at about 30 miles per hour.

Parrish is a cute blonde with an attitude sharper then razors, the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. I befriended her years ago during a district intern meeting when she confessed to me she wanted to murder the xylophone player who was chiming the end of our break.

We were friends ever since.

Tonight we're discussing the potential strike - the district wants to cut our benefits. Alfonso thinks they are going to slash jobs. Being special ed teachers, none of us are worried about it. "Nobody wants our jobs." Parrish jokes. It would be funny, but no one laughs. It's just true. No one wants to teach inner city special ed.

The topic turns to former interns, then to our instructors who Parrish refers to as the menopausal posse. It's been over a year and a half since we've seen any of them, yet the animosity remains towards the women who made our lives so miserable.

"Who do you think the intern instructors hated the most?" I ask.

Parrish and Alfonso turn and stare.

I smile sheepishly.

"You know, it would have helped if you didn't make fun of them in class."

"I don't think they liked being compared to Komrade Kommissars either."

We discuss New Years. Alfonso tells a story about a girl who tried to take a swing at him, missed, spun 360 degrees and hit the ground face first, then got up to apologize.

Parrish explains that all her friends during the count down took of their shirts and rubbed their breasts together. "The boys we're going crazy, you should have seen them fighting to get in the room!"

Alfonso and I stare at her.

"Well I didn't do it. I don't have young perky breasts. They do."

I don't have a New Year's story. I spent it watching movies with friends. So lame.

Our waitress brings us the check. I detect a faint Southern accent and ask her where's she from. She explains she's from Georgia.

"What's your name?"


I nod, that's pretty Southern.

"Well really, it's Jessie-Jane Anna-Nicole."

That's very Southern. We pay the bill and bid our goodbye's, promise to meet again a month later.

I miss my DI Thursdays.

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