It’s the first day of the spring semester. As one of my students put it in an email last week, “you are going to need to find all of us – little pebbles in the forest – wash us off, put us in order and enliven us again.” Sighing as I read her words, “yes,” I thought, “I will have to do that – but who is going to do that for me?” After her email, I resorted to an M.-focused weekend – he deserved that after all of these years chasing tenure.
However, it was the spirit of Tiryaki, the little Karagoz puppet who is an opium addict, who is nodding off most of the time, who awoke me to day and reminded me of the pebbles to be collected. “Tiryaki,” I said, who is going to find ME in the forest? Who is going to clean ME off? Who is going to enliven ME?” Taking a big fat toke of the joint he was working on (in between his opium binges), he threw his head back and with a knowing glance, blew smoke in M.’s direction.
M. was otherwise engaged in the early morning rush to get out the door, but I thought about what M. always advises me to do with my students, and it is always said this way:
“In Turkey, the students have MUCH more respect for the teachers – you should not coddle to their feelings so much. BUT you should grade them more easily than you do. You should give more As (top grades).”
As I wound my way through snow and slush-infused traffic for almost two hours, cursing my commute the whole way, in between fantasizing about retiring early to Bozcaada or some other such Turkish place, I thought about how to apply M.’s advice to ME for a change.
Maybe now that the tenure committee has made their recommendation to the Provost to keep me for life, well, maybe now I can start to respect MY time, respect MY body by sleeping and eating enough and at the right times, MY sanity, etc. And as for giving more As? Well, maybe I need to reduce the numbers of things I am involved in, so that I can give MYSELF more As. Tiryaki’s call to arms – which wasn’t REALLY a call to smoking opium – was to tune out a bit – and I suppose there is a lesson in that for this workaholic.
I didn’t like the Tiryaki haze that overtook me today – it even lasted after caffeine intake, lunch and teaching – the adrenalin rush of teaching just never showed up. So, Tiryaki has me right proper, hook, line and sinker, to use the fishing analogy. So, I guess my task at the moment is to learn what I can from the haze, embrace the haze.
- On the 6th day of Christmas: Meet Tiryaki the opium addict with narcolepsy (slowly-by-slowly.com)
- Karagöz puppets in Pansyland: M’lady and the puppets review Perking the Pansies: Jack and Liam Move to Turkey (slowly-by-slowly.com)
- The Twelve Days of Christmas: Karagöz puppet-style (slowly-by-slowly.com)
- Back to life, back to reality: On Rumi, writing and tripe (yes, tripe) (slowly-by-slowly.com)