Combined thoughts about the end of 2/25

So I just left that meeting. *shrug*. I wish I could say that it ended up being “good.” Hell, I wish I could say that it ended up “bad.” It just was. At the moment, I just feel like it was going through the motions. Things were said. Questions were asked. Thoughts were clarified. I think factions walked in with preconceived notions and will leave without have those perceptions majorly altered.

A sentiment oft repeated is, “It’s all about the journey, not the destination.” With that in mind, I don’t mind having attended the meeting because it was part of today’s journey. But, y’know, as much as I used to love just driving around and taking long road trips, I now prefer to have at least a general destination in mind before getting in the car. I honestly feel like there are a bunch of people in this RUSD car intending on going somewhere… probably different places and planning on different stops along the way while listening to different things on the radio. I’m not even surprised that the superintendent didn’t show up for the ride.

I’m getting off at the next stop, and I truly hope that the rest of the passengers end up getting where they would like to. I would like to end up in that general area too. Disembarking from this analogous car here might cause me to take longer to arrive at that destination, or I might get there a whole heck-of-lot earlier and have to sit around twiddling my thumbs. I likely get sidetracked and lost on the way to where I was going, but that doesn’t really bother me. I’m thankful and excited to continue my journey my own way — with only the people I choose.

That reminds me of the first longish road trip I took by myself. I wanted to go to a Renaissance faire being held in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It was a nine hour drive. At one point  I stopped for gas at a truck stop and saw a Star Wars video game. I stayed there for about an hour and a half playing that video game at a truck stop in the middle of Iowa. Sometimes during that journey I thought I should feel lonely or like a loser because I was taking a long trip… through Iowa of all places… to go to a Renaissance faire… by myself (granted, I was meeting someone there and ended up meeting another person that would become a long-time friend), but there were a couple of points that were really profound for me. The first was playing that video game in a truck stop. I didn’t have to be concerned that I was infringing on anyone else’s desire to get moving again. I wasn’t worried that someone else I was with would be bored watching me play the video game, or worse, want to take a turn. I could stay as long as I wanted with only myself to please.

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Iowa Sunset taken with a Sony Mavica camera 1999

The second point was when the sun was setting. It was gorgeous. Here I was on an open road surrounded by cornfields in the middle of Iowa with hardly any traffic. I think I was on an Interstate, but it didn’t really matter. I pulled over to the side of the road, took out my digital camera, and shot some pictures of the sunset. No one was telling me that I shouldn’t do that or couldn’t.

The last point was on the way home. I had intended to drive straight through, but I ended up getting tired. I pulled over into the nearest Best Western and got a room for the night. Again, I appreciated where the journey was taking me and the freedom to just do what I wanted to do. The room was pretty darn cool, like a castle chamber. I shit you not, there was a four-post king sized bed with a canopy. Fortunately there was also a pool, and I had brought a pair of swim trunks. You betcha, I decided to enjoy the pool. As I was kicking back in the hot tub, there was another couple in there with me playing smoochie-face (with themselves, not me). At that point I felt a bit awkward. But, only a little bit. Maybe more than a little bit. I don’t know. I remember it — okay!?

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Rogues and Gypsies Council Bluffs, Iowa 1999

Yeah, I remember thinking I had some really great moments on that trip feeling liberated and free in my mostly solitary adventure that had a few really awesome moments of fellowship. I remember weighing the scales of those experiences against this one striking moment of awkwardness. Being able to impulsively stop there for the night was pretty cool, but if I had a companion, I wouldn’t have necessarily needed to stop. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have taken the chance to stay in that really neat room. Still, if we had stopped, I wouldn’t have thought about that couple.

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Recreating a lesson from Dive! at Trader Joe’s April 14, 2014

That brings me back to how I perceive getting out of the car I’m riding in now. To some degree, yeah, it feels like that trip to Iowa. But, fortunately, there is one big difference. I know I’m not completely alone. I’ll have a companion, and while I might carry a wee bit of concern about stopping at a truck stop for an hour and a half to play a video game or possibly have to defend the sublime serenity and wonder of pulling over on the side of a highway to take a picture of a sunrise because it’s making a largely dull road-trip just a tad longer, I’m pretty confident that she’ll humor those types of whims — usually. There’s no question that it will be infinitely more comfortable not being a lone, strange creeper sharing a hot tub with an amorous couple.

In other news, I’m looking at a closing S&P value of 1951.70. It breached a hard upper barrier I’ve been watching for. If it remains above 1950 all day tomorrow, I may pick up a leveraged bull ETF to hold for a week or so. But, after market trading has it at 1949.25. It would make more sense to me that it will dip again tomorrow until around 1915 before turning back up again. I think it would be a wiser play to wait for that to occur. Yeah… that would be a wiser decision. I’m glad I took the experience of playing the currency markets. It was too easy making gut decisions — I’m seeing it as the difference between playing a game of chess vs. speed chess.

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This stupid meeting

I’m going to a meeting this afternoon that causes my brain to race in so many directions. And, while I’d love to explore all those thoughts, I simply don’t have time to do so.

Basically, the meeting was called by our superintendent to gather the high school department chairs together because our input is soooooo valuable. But, here’s the thing: I decided last November that this would be my last year teaching primarily because our district has consistently disregarded effective communication practices.

Granted there are many reasons leading to my decision to quit teaching. However, I sincerely began this school year with the intention of continuing to teach, at least part time, for as long as I felt my time was well spent. Again, there’s a lot of internal conflict there because I know that there will always be reasons that continuing be a teacher would be time well spent. Suffice it to say that when all extraneous motivators have been removed, and I’m left with the decision of does the time I spend devoted to being a teacher in Racine impact me more beneficially or negatively, I’m afraid I’ve been left feeling more angry lately than valued.

That brings me to this meeting tonight. Simply, I don’t want to go. I’ve made my decision and there’s no point belabor the reasons or defend them. The decision has not been made impulsively. It has been the culmination of sixteen years of experiences and one-and-half years of allowing my mind to separate and process the decision of quitting between because I can and because I want to. But, the line between those two is difficult to describe. And, I fear that attending this meeting tonight, I won’t be able to accurately portray that distinction. I’m worried that anything I contribute will be easy to refute with something along the lines of, “Yeah, well Justin can afford to say that because he can quit his job.” Yep. That’s true. What’s also true is that I have absolutely no idea how I would react to everything that’s happened at work over the past couple of years if that wasn’t the case. There’s a strong likelihood that I’d miserably stay in the situation because I couldn’t afford to quit. But, there’s also a strong likelihood that I would have behaved differently along the way.

Unfortunately, in the end none of that really matters, and I’m left in a place where if I put myself in someone else’s shoes, it’s simply not fair that I can look at all the upcoming transformations and say, “I’m outta here.” It’s not. I believe many of my colleagues would say the same thing if they had the financial security to do so — and that’s a problem. It’s a problem I perceive as being solvable with authentic and effective communication. It’s a problem that I used to be able to articulate much better, but the priority of being able to do so has drifted away. So, I’ll be going to this meeting tonight because I feel that I should — since it is an attempt to involve department chairs in a process of communication. But, I also think that’s all it is: a token action to say an attempt at communication has been made.

In my mind, my contribution to the discussion goes something like this: “This attempt *grunt* *smirk* *sneer* obviously not *shrug*… Screw it. What’s the point?”

Oops. I’ve been watching the clock that’s fifteen minutes slow and have to be running along to work now.