...but I have no recollection of Tuesday, and no notes. Probably there was work! Q had his first day of basketball at ABGC -- I'm never sure what to call this, it doesn't feel like a "class", it's not a "league", there's not a "season", he's not on a "team", he's not "practicing" for anything, who knows; anyway -- and seemed to like it. (I wasn't there, but based on his reports, and Amy's.) Junie's LEGO robotics class (see, that one feels like a class! shrug) is a week shorter, so it starts next week but ends the same week as Q's basketball. That's all I got.
1 second interview
This summer was way more frustrating about teaching jobs than it has been in the past, in no small part because I really truly was doing an awesome job of applying places. I thought I was doing relatively well at interviewing. Maybe my references weren't as good as they could be, but in general, I was really putting myself out there and trying...and still getting nothing.
On Wednesday the 23rd of August, I got a call --would you be willing to come in?
On Thursday the 24th of August, I had an interview.
On Friday the 25th of August, I got a call.
On Monday the 28th of August, my perfect birthday, I woke up unbearably early and biked to school. Monday and Tuesday were teacher days, Wednesday was the first day with students. It's now partway through the fourth week of school, and I have finally gotten the HR bullshit sorted out and a paycheck into my bank account and that means it's really truly officially real.
I am a professional high school mathematics teacher.
For the whole year, from the beginning. At a public high school, with all the diversity and benefits that implies. With five classes and about eighty students (a frankly amazing average ratio) and oh my _dear sweet weeping gods_.
I am fully, blessedly, employed, in a place I love, doing exactly the thing I want to be doing with my life. Yes, it's frustrating that all my work searching this summer was for naught, but I can forgive the universe its machinations.
I've been sitting tight on announcing this until it was real, and it's been killing me. No matter how much I will complain over the next ten months about the early mornings and endless prep work, I am so so unbelievably very happy.
On Monday, August 28th, I celebrated my perfect birthday by starting at my perfect job.
FAQs: No I won't tell you where specifically online. Algebra 1, Discrete Math, and Calculus. Some 9th graders, mostly 12th graders. Yes the commute sucks less than the private school one. Yes the pay is better --I'm making a bit over $50k this year. Yes, I am so so so so happy.
And then, the dinner parties. A Civil Contract (1961 Georgette Heyer Regency novel) and Home Again (2017 Reese Witherspoon film) might seem like an odd pair of works to want to pair up for reviewing, but actually they're perfect, because Civil Contract is a difficult novel because it refuses to give in to the pull of wish fulfillment, while Home Again is an enjoyable movie because it's wish fulfillment all the way down, and they both involve the male romantic lead standing up the female romantic lead for an important dinner party.
Civil Contract's dude hoped to be career military, but dad/untimely death/aristocratic responsibilities, you've heard this before if you read Regencies at all. He's in love with someone, but he's broke, so he has to marry her friend, the daughter of a rich businessman, instead, to save his estate. If Courtney Milan is writing this plot, he would discover that she had some kind of awesome interest or compelling backstory, he would fall in love with her, yay. Heyer, however, doesn't let us have that fantasy - while he does come to *appreciate* his wife's comparative lack of drama, and the comfort that he gets from her catering to him, there's no real indication that he finds her attractive, or is interested in her as a person. (She's been in love with him all along, which is why she's so willing to completely shape her life around his comfort, and do all the emotional labor of managing her feelings without ever bothering him with them.) In theory, I like the idea of a romance novel pairing that focuses more on in-jokes and child raising than bodice-ripping sex, but in practice, it doesn't even really feel like a romance. I am interested in the decentering of *desire* from the narrative, but what I really read romance for is the mutual passionate admiration! That's the stuff! It doesn't feel like a happy ending to me if she's in limerence with him and he's not with her. (There is a long and excellent discussion thread here with, among others, Courtney Milan herself basically making this argument.)
Home Again, in contrast, delivers passionate admiration in spades. Our 40-year-old recently-separated mom heroine has *three* nice young men fall for her; she's only ever romantic with one, but she gets to bask in attention (and emotional and household labor!) from all three of them. It's not just a fantasy of still being desirable, although that's obviously part of it, it's a fantasy of getting to enjoy the excitement and fun of a new romance even after already having had one good marriage. (Although her ex as we see him onscreen is awful, I think we're supposed to have the impression that it was a good relationship for a long time, until it wasn't anymore.) She eventually decides that the life-stage gap between her and her young man is too big for a relationship, but they all three will still be around as part of a found family with her and her kids and her mom, yay - she may have given up the sex, but she gets to keep the admiration.
Oh, and the dinner parties? I had curiously opposite reactions to them. In Home Again, the missed dinner party is the precipitating event for the end of the relationship - it's supposed to be their first "real date" beyond their fling at her house, he's going to meet her friends, but he stands her up rather than risk offending the guy he's hoping will help them get their movie made. She decides that this means their priorities are just too different, but I found myself more sympathetic to the dude than she was - the movie pushes how these guys are these aspiring filmmakers who Really Believe In Films, and he's young and new to navigating Hollywood, and believes this is an important chance. And unfortunately it falls into her ex's pattern of blowing her off for flimsy work reasons, so it makes sense that *she's* just like "I'm not doing this again", but it didn't make *me* think they wouldn't work. Civil Contract dude on the other hand has promised to be home for his sister's engagement party but instead borrows a ton of money to gamble wildly on a military outcome so that he can have money of "his own" instead of his wife's money - it turns out he's right but, ugh, he takes this enormous risk for no real important benefit, I lost so much sympathy for the character and of course his wife is just like "that's all right honey you know best, nice work honey". It's the climax of the book and I guess the idea is that now that he doesn't "owe" her he's more able to realize that he's fond of her and doesn't resent her for having had to marry her. In a way, these stories end the same - with a friendship rather than a romance - but what a difference, coming to it from opposite directions.
On the flight back I got great news from the minion whose fate was hanging in the balance in my last corporate-whining post: he's found a job in his new office, helped along perhaps by my own letters to his soon-to-be-manager. Which means that my bumbling (and the director's bumbling) didn't ultimately cost him his job, and he's not lost to Zillian just because he's lost to my team -- which now happens at/around the end of October, rather than in two weeks. My relief practically made me melt on the plane.
In weirder news, norwoodbridge went from an OKC hello chat to "yeah, I liked her, we had sex!" with a new person while I was gone. I spent about a day having no idea how I felt about that, because I don't always access my emotional side too well while on a business trip (and I hadn't seen norwoodbridge for a week and a half at that point, so he wasn't feeling very real either). I was pleased a day or so later to find that I felt fine: the new girl seems cool, the whole thing is reasonable, she lives far enough away that she can't be, uh, super spontaneous in a way that would bother me. Basically I know Norwood's been wanting a new thing and this new thing seems good. I might even be compersing, mildly? Too early to say, but this very initial response seems decently in line with, I guess, being the person I'd like to be. More generous. Not so damn scared all the time.
(heisenbug also has a first date on Thursday. The poly network is really hopping.)
I finished The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, a lovely SF book that focuses on the humanity of the characters (yes, even the alien ones) and generally satisfies. I foresee it making an appearance around Christmas for certain people who like it character-driven, and I also foresee its sequel arriving at my door in a couple of days. I'm trying to think what to compare it to... it has a small cast of specific characters kind of like Starfish or The Sparrow, but its characters have a warmth and depth more like The Book of Strange New Things or Never Let Me Go. At any rate, recommended.
Depeche Mode performs less than 3 miles from my house in about 24 hours, and 15 years ago I would have been raring to go, deadlines and sleep deprivation and budget notwithstanding. Instead, I'll go to a dance lesson if I can wrap up work in time, and hope to hit the hay before the concert's even over, and if those things don't happen, maybe I'll crank up "Where's the Revolution?" to an unseemly volume while I crunch through whatever needs to be catapulted through its hoops.
But, grumpy as I feel about not feeling up for things (this !@#%@ cough: !@#@!#!% it!), small pleasures abound. I spent part of my afternoon writing to the childhood friend who introduced me to Depeche Mode, and I had a baseball stamp to use on the envelope. I have a new batch of bread dough rising, and snipped thyme from my yard for fried rice. It is far simpler to contact public servants now that my phone plan has unlimited long distance. (The calls themselves don't rate as a pleasure, but it is nice not having to faff with Skype and other workarounds, or -- going further back -- constantly calculating how much each call was going to cost.) The rosebush is still blooming, as are the zinnias. There is a huge pile of ironing, and there is Italian wine in my glass. :)
Back near the start of June, Captain Awkward1 posted a link to the Ingrid Michaelson video "Girls Chase Boys". I'd seen it before, but not in a while, so hell yeah it was time for a rewatch.
And somewhere in the thirty or fifty rewatches I've done this summer, I came to a really striking realization about my sexuality. I feel queer2 or straight entirely independent of the gender of the person I am being attracted towards.
Like, this is probably a pretty logical end result of not having a gender myself. I can't be a lesbian if I'm not a woman3, but I'm also not able to be het with a woman if I'm not a man. Bisexual has served me fine as a term for years now (and queer even moreso). I am content and secure in my attractions4.
But it was a weird moment of clarity when I realized that the attraction I feel for the men in that video is decidedly queer attraction. And weirder still to realize that I can, and often do, feel straight attraction towards men. And continually weird to realize that my attraction towards women can be either queer or straight as well. Like, these are two markedly different feelings for me, apparently. They both have the same root (I want to get romantic and-or sexual with this person because I am aesthetically or otherwise pleased by them) but they feel different.
After some soul-searching5, I determined that a big part of what makes me feel queer vs straight attraction is whether the person I am attracted to is giving out queer vs straight signals. These can be either gender-queer or sexuality-queer, but apparently I save my straight attraction for the hets.
I don't know what to do with all this information. Hell, I don't even know if it's useful information to have, or if the back of my brain has latent transphobia in this regard (many of the attractive trans women I know are some variation of enby, almost all of them are sexuality-queer --I don't tend to feel straight attraction to people who I don't perceive as relatively straight, but would I automatically feel queer attraction to any trans woman, even a straight one?)
But it's a thing my brain is doing, and I like paying attention to those.
1: Captain Awkward is probably the single best advice blog on the internet, and I highly recommend pawing through her archives occasionally. She is better at teaching people how to be adults than just about anyone else, and I try very very hard to behave as would make her happy.
2: "Gay" would also be accurate here, but I very much prefer queer.
3: TRANS LESBIANS ARE LESBIANS. TERFS CAN FUCK OFF.
4: This is absolutely not true, I'm into a lot of straight men for an enby. The fact that I'm demonstrably more androsexual than gynosexual freaks me out on the regular, because boy howdy, is it hard to actually be "bisexual". But for the sake of this post, let's pretend I feel not-weird about myself.
5: Translation: Looking at a lot of different attractive people for science.
September 17 is Constitution Day in the United States.
I’ve literally seen Kaepernick do this. In Oakland. Teaching the Constitution to young black men. Even got a pic as evidence. https://t.co/CzEWNBCAoT— jelani cobb (@jelani9) September 16, 2017
A brother who's degree is about to be revoked for plagiarizism is questioning someone else's authenticity?— Christina Jefferson (@tampagirl19655) September 17, 2017
"Melissa you’re going to like this guy," she recalled Amanda Lynch, a former Harvard roommate, telling her. "He has the preamble to the Constitution tattooed on his back."