Happy 2012 to all of you!
I have a couple of other subjects I kinda want to write about, but I did promise I'd get back to the mini series I'd started before the holidays. So, channeling my editor, I will try not to take too many asides before getting to the point of this mini series. (A point which does exist, believe it or not.)
Not that I'll share the point at this juncture, because then what would be the purpose of telling these stories? You'd already know the point.
Which you may well already anyway.
But asides aside, the journey to the point takes us to a two month span where I was between places to live. It covered, not coincidentally, the same span of time when I was unemployed.
If you go to school and work at a school, those summer months can be tricky.
So yes, I was a college student, and the way I pieced together paying for college was by being the PE teacher at a private elementary school across town. I scheduled my classes around my job, and reported to work daily (because at the time physical education was considered to be a vital component to a child's development).
This school is now a pricey private school with an upper school, a lower school, headmasters and mistresses and rich clientele galore. At the time, the rich kids in town all went there, but--aside from its setting near a golf course in an exclusive part of town--it didn't look like much. Especially the "locker room" which was located across from the sports fields at the lowest point of the property. The "locker room" was more like a large shack with a tiny office, a modest-sized room which housed the PE equipment, along with a few toilets, sinks, and showers.
Well, it may have been modest (and musty and drafty), but at the end of the school year, I was allowed to keep the keys to it as I'd volunteered to paint the office over the summer. It's not like they had anything to lose my letting me keep the keys--there was nothing of any real value inside the building. Especially not to headmasters and mistresses and people who are accustomed to vacationing in Paris.
Or to me, even.
No, the value to me was the building. After all, it had a toilet and a sink and a shower...and exercise mats to sleep on.
All I needed was a sleeping bag and a pillow and presto, I'd save myself 2 months of rent.
The theory of this was excellent. The reality, not so much. I had a bright blue car (my own doing), very distinctive in its ugliness, and although I could drive it off the pavement and around behind the building, hiding it back there was suspicious in and of itself.
And although the locker room had lights, which was nice, it also had windows so people outside could see the lights on and wonder, why are there lights on in that shack? And hey--what's that distinctively ugly car doing tucked away around the building?
Plus, during the day, there were gardeners. And...people. I didn't know who they were, or what business they had at the school. But they'd drive past in their Mercedes and I'd wonder, Why aren't you in Paris?
So I stayed away during the day (which was harder than it might seem and a lot less fun than it should have been) and lived by flashlight at night.
And I worried the whole time about getting busted.
I should make clear here that I did have other options. Looking back I wonder, Why didn't you just go home? But I wanted to be independent and this was the manner in which I approached independence. Besides, if I had gone home, I would never have fictionalized the core of this experience and put it in...what book?
That's your question for the week!