About 3.38 am I'm writhing in my sheets, greasily sweltering in the cool bedroom air. Doona off. Kick. Fling myself over. Now I'm too cold. Now something's crawling on my hand. Flick it off. No, something really is crawling on my neck. Frantic slapping and jerking. Light on. 'Can't see anything,' says the old man, who's up on one elbow assisting with the insect inspection. He drops back onto his pillow and almost immediately the gentle, but fucking annoying, not quite snoring resumes. (Happily I can't hear myself snore. Apparently I regularly reach motor mower on a Sunday morning proportions. In case anyone's interested.)
Why am I thinking about students, at, what is it now, 4.25 am? Haven't been back to sleep, just continued the hot cold twisting, thumping head on the pillow, first this side, then that. To no avail. I'm thinking about how immature these two rangy Bobsy twins are, swanning in late with immaculate foundation and hair swinging, to every lesson. My faultless peripheral vision picks up their incessant signals to each other from their 'seating plan' seats on opposite sides of the room. Why don't I just sit them together and cut out the middle man, me? They're disruptive anyway. Let them sit together and giggle their thirteen year old hearts out about the tricks they've played on 'the hobo' at Watergardens. Suppose they're allowed to be immature at thirteen. But why are they in my head at, what is it now, 5.13? The joys of the red eyed digital clock keeping an exact watch on my insomnia.
I'm not feeling well. I feel positively queasy and belly-cramped. No. I can't be sick. I've got four-on. The year 12s - I've got both classes today - need to get their third Creating and Presenting SAC topic. The Bobsies will ruin the substitute teacher's day. The writing class has got work due in. And it's parent-teacher night on Thursday and I won't get their work marked in time. And we've got to do the change over for the second SAC marking. The year 8s will be all right. They can just go on with English Basics. And I was going to miss last period anyway because I'm going to the Skin Cancer Foundation to get this BCC off my face. The year 12s can just start preparing their next SAC. What are the writing class going to do? Journal writing? They're getting sick of that. Geez, my guts hurt. Doubles up in pain before staggering off to the smallest room, grabbing yesterday's "M" along the way.
Curiously, no matter how ill I am, I still have to read. I usually put the newspaper, book or magazine down when heaving, of course, but it's generally there on standby. A trip to the toilet without a text is a wasted opportunity. At times, caught short, I'll even 'delay' until some tolerant family member can fling some reading material - junk mail, anything - through a crack in the door. In desperation, I've even read the back of my watch. Actually, the iPhone has made staying in camping grounds so much more amenable. It fits discreetly into a pocket. So much reading material.
Where was I?
Will I or won't I? Seven-thirty-three. Decision is made. I can't work today. That's it. Why do I feel so guilty? I leave an apologetic message on the school's answering machine, adding that I'll email my lesson plans before school starts. This is obligatory at our school, for what it's worth. The kids never do the work anyway, but it looks good in the marketing. On occasions, I've been at the computer making up vague plans for my classes, with a bucket handy at my side. Today, I'm hunched over the laptop, hugging my abdomen as I tap out four lesson plans with one finger. Never get a return email thanking me for sending plans through.
The upside? By about 10.24 I'm still in bed but feeling a bit hungry. Showered, I definitely feel better. The sun's breaking through the clouds, and having worked on Saturday, I have no marking to sully the remains of the day. An unexpected plus? I'm at home when my twenty-four year old son gets a phone call telling him he's got his first professional job. Whoo hoo.