Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Secret to Getting the Grading Done

I refuse to turn on the heat. I might break down in November. My (somewhat whack) theory about heat is that if the pipes don't need it, then neither do I. So far, my pipes haven't frozen, but I, on the other hand, have discovered that it's really not such a bad deal to pay $6 for a bowl of soup in a coffee shop, since then I get to sit in the coffee shop soaking up the heat, and I can take off my jacket for a brief while. At home, the jacket stays on until I get to crawl under the 20 pounds of blankets I have set up on my bed.

Anyway, I was sitting in the coffee shop with the bowl of soup, and I got out my tests, and I was really on a roll, grading like a machine, when a cute guy with a little girl squatted down beside me to talk about teaching the math. He teaches math at a small Montessori charter school. Asked me my name twice. Made intense eye contact. Then, oops, mentioned his wife. Oh, well, my coffee-shop romance was nice while it lasted.

I could feel that the grading was practically going to do itself as I basked in the free coffee-shop heat, when suddenly I got an uncomfortable feeling that everyone else was leaving. Damn. Was this one of those crazy Minneapolis places that closes at 6:00? Yes, alas, it was. Sometimes I miss Portland. Besides, in Portland, Mr. Montessori Blue Eyes wouldn't have a wife at his age.

And so I was left with a class and a half of tests to grade and a cold, uninviting home to grade them in. Where in my neighborhood would be open late enough in the evening for me to take in the warmth while I got my work done? Where, oh where? And then it hit me. There are places open late into the night. Warm places, places with a lot of people and music and beverages. I found such a place (an old favorite: The Chatterbox), and I sat alone in a corner with my tall glass of cold beverage and my stack of tests, and before too long I had just a half a class left. My lips weren't even blue, and by the time I got home to finish the last class I barely even minded the cold.