Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Believe in the Crossing Guard

This year I tried something new in my English class: "This I Believe" essays inspired by the NPR series. Students read, listened to, and discussed a variety of essays then created their own. Throughout the unit I contemplated my own beliefs as I tried to write my own essay. Today as I was walking to the train to work I realized what I believe in.

I believe in the crossing guard. At her post every week day at 7:30am. Guiding all those making their way across Empire Boulevard with a smile, a hello and always, "Have a blessed day."

I believe in getting to know the people in your neighborhood, having a familiar face to greet you as you leave and another to greet you on your way home. Someone who lets the rest of your neighborhood know, "Hey, she belongs here and I got her back."

I believe in starting your day off right, on a positive note. You may be running late or stressed about what the day will hold, but she is always there with a smile, a hello, and a "Have a blessed day" at 7:30am.

The crossing guard provides a fresh start to the day or just a reminder of how much better it feels to start the day off friendly and smiling. A pleasant interaction before you step onto the crowded train where people push and shove, pretend not to see the elderly, disabled or pregnant woman hovering over them, more deserving of a seat, and yell, curse, kick, and spit at each other if someone's newspaper gets crinkled in the cluster fuck.

Once you cross paths with the crossing guard, you can commute peacefully, ignoring the grumps that fill the train. Later, you take the crossing guard's aura to your classroom and spread it to each student who enters. A friendly hello and a smile to all whether they return your greeting or not.

I believe in saying hello to the people you see every day. In bringing a smile to those you know. I believe in kindness in all our daily interactions. I believe in the bodega guy at the end of a long day, always there to greet you as you pass his corner, "Hello friend. How are you?"

Thursday, October 2, 2014

what is happiness?

happiness is getting to sleep in a hour later
because it's exam week at school

happiness is spending the day cleaning out your desk
filled with someone else's stuff
pausing to appreciate the little things she kept
hearing the story of each item
before throwing it in the trash
and being able to see how much progress was made
at the end of the day

happiness is going on a long walk during your lunch break
when your stomach is churning with hunger pains
and finding the original sandwich shoppe
where an old New Yorker in a white t-shirt and an apron works behind the counter
and you think that's exactly the kind of guy you want to make your sandwich
and the sandwich is delicious

happiness is coming home
and taking a shower
without the tub filling up to your ankles in water

happiness is when your cat jumps on the counter
and smells your cheese
so you try to shove her off
and she spasms and splatters your red wine everywhere
but then you taste the last remaining sip of red wine and it's turned to vinegar

happiness is eating a brownie sundae for dinner
when you haven't had a sundae in years
and feeling sick afterward

happiness is going to bed early
because you're still tired from all the fun you had over the weekend
and it's Wednesday night