At the Sound of the Bell

The thing I hated most about school, as a student and as a teacher, was the clock. Instinctively, I fight it. I fight the deadline, the list, the routine. I have this inner James Dean, who says, “I won’t be controlled.” The defect extends to every corner of my life. I waste a lot of time asking myself: do I have to floss? put gas in the car? load the dishwasher? finish the day’s pages?

I know the answer, and I don’t like it.

In the summer of my discontent, brought on by global warming–you deniers out there should check the thermometer–and the unemployment rate, I find myself as rebellious as my dog on a leash. She resists, even when she wants to walk. For the dog I found a solution, a nifty device called the Gentle Leader. It’s a head collar that points a schnauzer’s nose in the right direction. I slip the loop over her muzzle, and she follows me everywhere.

For me, the solution is painful. I succumb to a schedule. From 7 to 8, coffee. From 8 to 9, exercise. From 9 to 10, journal and blog. At 10, the alarm on the laptop will tell me to work on the book.

It’s 9:55. Time to point my nose the right direction.

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