Monday, June 11, 2007

The Home Stretch

(Note: If the formatting of this blog is weird to you, get Firefox already, loser)
Ringham Originals, eat your heart out

On this, the three week pre-anniversary of my homecoming, let me pause to take a moment and reflect upon the current state of affairs here in Sandy Bay.

There is, needless to say, a certain energy in the air. It’s as if the winds have changed direction, and everyone can feel it. This all started some two weeks ago, when our principal called the staff in for a meeting after school. It was there that he announced my decision not to come back next year, which produced some strange feelings within me. It felt as though a weight had been lifted, his saying that. I’d been wrestling with the question for some time of how to tell the locals I’ve become friendly with that I wasn’t returning (the implicit statement being that their hometown is so unbearable, I can’t stand to live in it). Well, good ole Arden got that out of the way for me, so that was nice.

I now find myself in this odd position whereby I’m only one of two staff members who are definitely not coming back (there are one or two on the fence, so far as I can tell, but no decisions have been made to my knowledge). There have been a few meetings lately about timetabling, scheduling, attendance and the like for next year, and I definitely feel like the odd man out at these affairs. Hell, the VP and others have said on numerous occasions that there’s really no point of me being there. They’re just being nice and saving me some time, of course, but I do feel like something of a pariah; a quitter sneaking out of town with his tail between his legs. I mean, the year was as tough on the rest of the staff as it was on me, so why am I the only guy taking off? It’s an odd little feeling, like I’m no longer a part of the team.

The next three weeks or so should be interesting. At school, there is the matter of cramming in some end of year business and trying to pass those 2-3 students who are on the bubble. After 3:30, though, I think things are going to start getting interesting. Northlands College teaching for George and some others is starting to wind down, freeing up his after school schedule; the weather is finally starting to turn (Saturday afternoon had to have been in the single digits again), making way for some prime fishing time (with the possibility of a tan); and liquor.

I must say, the after school “extra-curricular” meetings have been on the rise lately, along with staff attendance. There may be a tacit understanding between some of us that there’s no shame at this point in getting snarbuckled more often than not until we hit the end (or perhaps I’ve been reading into it the wrong way). I had a teacher grab me a half gallon of liquor over the weekend and… after taking a look at it last night and asking myself if it could really withstand the next 2.5 weeks, I’ve requested that another teacher make a trip to the bottle shop in Flin Flon on my behalf tomorrow to give myself an even gallon. And if that doesn’t cover it, there’s always Listerine (a word that MS Word will capitalize for you if you don’t). Maybe I’m getting a tad too dramatic, but I don’t quite know how I’d have made it this far in the year without booze. There is definitely a shared appreciation of alcohol among staff members, and it’s something I quite enjoyed. It’s a good way for the staff to bond that I doubt you’d find in a school back home.

Last week was Sandy Bay’s annual Culture Week. Basically, a bunch of people from the community show up and teach kids how to make crafts, drums, baskets and the like. It was a real gong show with respect to planning and timing, but I’d like to think that the kids got something out of it… right? Friday’s closing ceremonies in particular were a disaster of comical proportions, and I don’t think I’ll ever quite forget that day.

Wednesday was interesting, as it was the annual Treaty Day in Sandy Bay. Very curious affair, that. Back in the 1870s, I do believe, when the ancestors of the native residents of Sandy Bay entered into the Treaty agreement with the government, they and their descendants were promised $5 a year, each. Now, back in those days I’m sure $5 wasn’t chump change. It is today, though, but that doesn’t stop the odd spectacle of a few hundred people showing up to grab their crisp $5 bills. It’s quite a thing, with dancing, dignitaries and even RCMP in dress uniforms.

Hey, the Union Jack at Treaty Day! Guess there's no hard feelings?

On a different note, I made an interesting scientific discovery this past Saturday at 4 am. I started playing Mega Man 2 (inarguably the greatest Mega Man game of all time) at 1 or so, and just never gave up. Looking out the window at about 4, I noticed it was bright! Like… really bright. I knew the sun got a little wacky this far north, but I’d never been awake to really notice. So, essentially, the sun goes down somewhere after 10:30 (you can still see its glow over the horizon well past 11, thus ruining any chance of seeing the Northern Lights), and comes up around 3 am. Very strange. Note the photo I took at 4 in the morning (and the sightly chicken wire over my window).

Damn you, tilted axis of the planet!
Anyway, that’s the lay of the land right now. Not much longer to go until George and I hightail it out of here and head for the nexus of rampant crime, depraved beastiality, brazen drive-by shootings and other examples of moral depravity that is the GTA – as per a number of resident Saskatchewanians (which, technically, I’ve been for 9.5 months).


Blogger sare said...

Wow! Only 3 weeks to go?? I'm glad you made that decision - you clearly aren't Sandy Bay material. I maintain that you should head out east to teach! Why the hell not?
Well thanks for keeping us all up to date on the dead dogs, and dead cars and the restaurants that probably serve dead dogs and cars.
Talk to you soon.

PS. I am going to Tokyo :P

7:45 am  
Blogger Tara said...

Hey Mike. Hey.

1:54 pm  
Blogger Jennaper Teacher said...

Mike... I can't believe you will be home soon. You must be giddy with glee!
You should head north east and then you'll see the northern lights.. I saw them almost every night when I was in the Yukon! Had a shitty camera though, so none of my shots turned out..
Hope your homecoming is everything you need and want..
talk to you soon.

2:13 pm  

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