Once Upon a Stage

Once upon a time, I picked up an easy two-hour subbing assignment (for which I would be paid as if I worked four hours). Enter stage left.

Drama as a class in high school is something I have plenty of experience with.

Drama as most high school students want to play it is something I’d rather avoid.

What’s a Mime?

During the last class of the day, a sub expects robust energy. Yes, while the teacher’s mind is fading, blinking out to the large drink and crispy apple waiting at home, the students are revving up to do whatever it is they’re going to do once the final bell rings.

A mime is a silent actor.

The TA did her best to introduce the giddy dramatists to turn off their voices and exaggerate the movements she directed.

I applaud this girl. She had stage presence and enough projection to silence any craziness. In fact, she was able to keep a higher percentage of the class on task than I did in my last middle school final-class-of-the-day.

One girl had silent music she jitterbugged to the entire time. A skinny boy wearing a plaid shirt mimed his force pulls and throws pretty impressively.

And I wonder how often we’re going through the motions of life. Listening to some offstage voice calling out moves.

Isn’t there more to life than this? Shouldn’t I be going somewhere?

But watching the ladder-climbing or stair-climbing mimes distracts from any deep reflection.
Like so many unnamed distractions from those things that would add meaning to our lives.

And I’m back in the auditorium supervising a group of students. The class period is winding down. I can tell by the deconstruction of the actors’ concentration on the invisible treasure chest.

Sounds like this once upon a stage ends in a happily ever after. Exit stage right.

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Flashback or Dream Sequence

I find myself seated in the center of the second row in a nearly empty auditorium. Am I having a flashback to high school play auditions? Or is this a dream where I’m the director seeking a cast for my original short production?

Or maybe it’s neither.

It’s my other job…as a substitute teacher.

And it gives me plenty of flashbacks. Although the dreamlike-moments are far and few between.

An Easy Two Hours

The permanent teacher’s sub plans are the shortest (if not the sweetest) I’ve ever seen. “Hi there. Thanks for taking my classes. I have two amazing TAs who will run the class, so sit back, relax and make sure everyone keeps their phones away and no one dies.”

Seriously. Those are the exact words.

What would any writer do when told to relax?

Write, of course. So that’s what I’m doing. Because this blog needs content, and if I was home, I’d be working on the never-ending edits.

The TAs were responsible. They happily ran the classes (not like other TAs who balked when I asked them to step up to the plate for any reason).

Strangely Disconcerting

My brain rebels at the thought of sitting in a cushy chair while others lead in my place. Even if I’m clueless about what the class might expect.

After all, I’m getting paid for this. Shouldn’t I do something to earn the paycheck?

That’s one hundred percent my mother’s influence on my psyche. No one had a stronger work ethic than she did.

Industriousness isn’t reclining with an iPad on your lap, even if you’re spewing words that will appear on your website at a later date.

Burst of raucous laughter break my train of thought. They’re playing a game, acting off the cuff. Some have a bigger ham-bone than others. You can tell the ones who’ve spent more time onstage.

What about you? Do you find it disconcerting when something is much easier than you expected? Do you feel dishonest getting paid if you don’t really “work”?

If this post appealed to you, you might like Hero Delivery. It’s a bulletin with deals and specials from Sharon Hughson. It can be on the way to your inbox in a few clicks.
Check out Finding Focus and my other books. You’re sure to find something worth reading.
Already read one or more? Please leave an honest review on your favorite site. Those reviews are the same as the author discovering a gold nugget in the bottom of her washing machine.