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Standing up, Countdown to Italy and lateness

October 25, 2010

What does it mean that I am writing standing up? I’ve got the computer on the counter next to the kitchen sink in case I need to wash a dish? Pack a lunch? Anne Bradstreet used to write poetry in her head while she was nursing babies and stirring pots. I write blogs in my head while I am stirring the pancake batter for tomorrow’s breakfast (yes, I am that organized) and making lists of the three billion things we have to do. If I did sit down, my son might think I was relaxed about the passage of time, something I am never relaxed about. He’d better be ready; I am about to march in and turn off his light, but I need to feel that the one trillion things as yet undone might get done.

Tomorrow is a writing day. But school does not go away just because I don’t actually teach any classes. There are tests as yet unwritten. Books unread, assignments ungiven. I am haunted by the fact that the students in my genocide class don’t know where Afghanistan is and can’t say Phnom Penh, let alone remember what Phnom Penh is or where it is. Today, I got so distracted by explaining who Nixon was that the Cambodian genocide, the thing we are supposed to be talking about, went unexplained. Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge all got swallowed up by Watergate and Viet Nam. And hanging over all of this is the unwritten talk I have to give two weeks from now in Italy. Yes, that is right. Italy. And yes, unwritten. The talk which had better be written by then and I arrive in Pisa on Nov 8th. I am going to stay on the Arno a few doors down from where the Shelleys lived. Then, I am going to Florence to track down all of their old homes. I also want to go to the Gulf of Spezia to see where Shelley drowned and to see the last house they lived in. Do I rent a car? Do I see if I can afford a driver? I know I can’t, so why would I even look into it? I want to google Tour Guides in Pisa, but my son is still awake. This is why we are always late to school. I get involved in some project and then he stays up too late. Now he is telling me he needs new blue jeans. Now. Right when his eyes should be closing. He has a point; he can’t fit into his old ones anymore. Maybe we should go online and order him some. We got a stern letter from one of his teachers last week about his lateness. I felt guilty all weekend. But we can’t seem to stop ourselves. He is out of bed now and on the computer finding jeans. I have a horrible feeling that we are going to be late again tomorrow.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Carolyn Cooke permalink
    October 26, 2010 12:27 am

    I love that by the way you are going to Pisa in November. Please give me one idea for essential research!

  2. Ruth permalink
    October 26, 2010 5:59 am

    Charlotte, you WILL get everything done and research (:-} shows people work best when they are standing.

  3. October 26, 2010 10:55 am

    Don’t you have to go to Egypt to research Amitov Ghosh?

  4. Cathy Schuyler permalink
    October 26, 2010 2:10 pm

    Not completely surprisingly, my kid is also up too late, struggles to get to school on time, and needed new jeans last week. In her end-of-the-year alphabet book about third grade, X was for eXcuses, notes written by her parents explaining/excusing her far-too-common tardiness.

  5. October 26, 2010 2:22 pm

    your mom’s hours always inspire me. Maybe we all take after her.

  6. alison permalink
    October 26, 2010 8:36 pm

    if it weren’t for the facts that my sense of direction is practically non-existent and that my language skills (a tiny bit of French) are useless, I would offer to be your right hand. Or whatever it would take to get you through. You are inspiring in your ideas and thoughts and expression, Charlotte. Hang out the offer, and you will have takers to help you achieve the little bits left.

  7. October 26, 2010 9:55 pm

    I wish you could come!

  8. Robin Willcox permalink
    October 27, 2010 10:44 pm

    Sounds like the last thing you need is an excuse to stay up late and research on the web, but anyway I will recommend this travel website…..they and their links at the bottom of entries can be a great resource for things like drivers, etc. This link will take you to one of their Italy pages…..

  9. October 28, 2010 7:57 am

    Robin, thank you so much!!!

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