Friday, March 30, 2018

[Part One: Monday 03/16] The First Day in (Teacher) Jail

Roger arrived at the building on Chambers street that housed the Reassigned Staffing Team’s office around 9ish. The security guard, a tall and slim African American man with a sparse gray beard, confiscated Roger's school scissors from his Fossil bag. After his duly x-rayed messenger bag was returned, a five-foot sign guarding the elevators informed him that they were “Out of Order” and commanded Roger to, “Take the Stairs.” The very thought of walking up twelve flights of stairs made his left knee, with its torn meniscus, ache in anticipation, but for some reason the torn meniscus in his right knee didn't voice any objections. He learned after consulting the security guard, who appeared to be working to supplement his social security income, that only the middle elevator was inoperable. That explained why it was concealed behind what looked like a wooden Oriental screen. Its exposed neighbors were in fine working condition. 

Roger signed in as steadily as possible with his right hand – trying to conceal the trembling that he feared would be taken as an admission of guilt. Roger was offered tea or coffee. Thank God, he politely declined their hospitality and relied on his jasmine green tea. Otherwise, he would have been redirected to the coffee cart twelve stories below on Chambers. 

As he walked towards the waiting room, Whitney Houston tried to comfort him from a pair of passé speakers while the middle-aged African American secretary looked deeply into his eyes. She appeared to be trying to determine his innocence or guilt. 

While he read in the amNew York about NYCFC's historic victory at Yankee Stadium, a dejected upper middle-aged white man entered the room along with his attorney/daughter. He had just been un-informed by the officer manager, “I don't know why you're here, and I don't want to know.” 

He exclaimed in a Long Island accent, “I'm going to wrap my hands around someone's neck and squeeze until there’s no life left! We teach these miscreants and lowlifes! Their words are taken over a tenured teacher who has been teaching for over 22 years! 85% of these cases are ludicrous! I couldn't sleep for three nights! I don't know anything!” 

Roger’s reaction to his reaction was a mixture of sympathy, camaraderie, and intrigue. The man was correct. One of the most difficult aspects of being reassigned to the Rubber Room was not knowing exactly why one was there. Roger hadn't sleep well either. However, he had not formulated a method of murder. And was the man correct? 85%? 

As Roger avoided eye contact with his Rubber Room roommate, whose dejected attorney/daughter had rushed off to her firm, it dawned upon him that he had “seen” that room before. The walls had the same colors that were in his dreams - blue-gray on one side and peach on the others. And he was sitting on the vintage 1960s era office chair of his dreams. He sensed correctly that the room was in some sort of disciplinary institution, but he “knew” that it wasn't anything as serious as Riker's Island. 

The office manager informed Roger, as he studied the sterling silver Star of David that swayed from her stout neck, that he would be reassigned to work on Individual Education Plans (IEPs) at an office in Harlem or Chelsea – depending on the availability and/or which location responded to her email first. 

While Roger waited for his assignment, he read some of Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit. Duhigg shared, surprisingly for a secular book, that most people can overcome their negative addiction(s) for extended periods of time by having a belief in a higher power but that unexpected unfortunate events often nudge people to “fall off the wagon”. And Roger contemplated on the notion that an unexpected fortunate event could possibly have the same effect. For example, he imagined a writer who had given up smoking and\or drinking, but who couldn’t resist having a smoke and\or a drink after winning the Pulitzer Prize. 

As slight pangs of hunger began to set in, Roger took a break from reading to eat his customary seven Ajwah dates and ponder the possible benefits of his unexpected and unfortunate situation. One benefit that immediately came to mind was the possibility that he would miss his next teacher observation\evaluation. His first observation of the school year went as follows: 

Roger entered the classroom and discovered that his science co-teacher was at a science conference - in California. Roger’s co-teacher failed to inform him, but he kindly left a lesson. The lesson was to watch a Brain Games video on the “Laws of [Sexual] Attraction” and answer ten questions. It was the “classic video and a worksheet” lesson plan. Roger typed the video's URL into Chrome only to discover that the Emmy nominated series cost $1.99. Roger briefly contemplated plucking his Citibank debit card from his PU leather wallet, but he decided to Google a free copy. His search was unsuccessful. However, as the class became restless, Bolívar, a student who literally hadn't completed more than three assignments in three years, but who was a Mac OS, Windows OS, Android OS and intramural softball whiz, was able to find a free version of the video seconds before the vice-principal wobbled into the classroom. 

Due to the distinguished visitor, Roger attempted to enhance the lesson by periodically pausing the illegal copy of Brain Games to ask the frazzled class clarifying questions. A conundrum with showing a video with such an engaging topic to a group of high school students is that the teenagers can become overly excited and too eager to participate. That would be excellent if the teacher were being graded objectively on his teaching skills, but if he's being graded subjectively, then it's made to appear on paper that the teacher has poor classroom management skills. 

And to makes matters worse, most of the students didn't appear to know most of the answers to most of the questions on the worksheet, which was ironic because Roger received a grade of unsatisfactory (i.e., F) for the level of the lesson's rigor. Clearly, the lesson wasn't too easy; so, why did he receive an F in that category? 

Now here's the icing on the Maison Kayser chocolate éclair. Don't you remember? It wasn't even Roger’s lesson! He was handed that lesson minutes before the vice-principal wobbled into the classroom. Thus, it was comforting to know that while he was locked up in teacher jail, he would be absent for his subsequent “objective” observations. 

Another benefit of being in The Rubber Room was that Roger didn't have to “teach” (i.e., He didn't have to be around any students.) He “taught” three different subjects with three different teachers: chemistry, English and two periods of neuroscience. Clearly, his title of “co-teacher” was a stretch. Roger was really an overpaid teacher's assistant and/or tutor. His role had been reduced to saving his female co-teacher the embarrassment of reading aloud the sex scene in If Beale Street Could Talk, copying and distributing handouts, and being his co-teacher’s hype man. 


Back in the Rubber Room, Roger received another cellmate. He was a middle-aged Latino who, from what Roger could decipher, had been arrested for DUI. He was granted the privilege to return to his school after he, via cellphone, promised his principal that he wouldn’t “do it again.” 

While Roger quietly waited for his reassignment location, he ironically switched to reading Eric Naiman’s journal article A Filthy Look at Shakespeare’s “Lolita”. While he sipped tea from his Cozyna travel mug and virtually flipped the pages on his Google tablet, a small spat among the small office staff interrupted his small bliss. 

“Double click it!”
“What do you think I'm doing?”
“Sit down and be quiet!”
“Don't get an attitude!”

Out of embarrassment, Roger sank into his aluminum chair as his elbows relaxed upon the arm rests that were engraved with sinuous lines to imitate leather. A box of Lexmark 64015HA printer ink rested at the foot of his chair and reminded him of his old job as a computer technician. The blue-collar job paid the bills after he dropped out of medical school while he worked on his, never published, first novel. The view outside his window was of the vacant offices in the adjacent office building, but if he stretched and strained his neck he could see the peak of One World Trade Center. 

After approximately six hours of reading, journaling, snacking sans lunch, a death threat and an office spat, Roger was given an HID electronic time card and assigned to work in an office on the border of Chelsea. 

Upon returning home, Roger contemplated buying a ticket to see The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015) that opened the New Directors New Film festival at the MoMA. The film premiered at Sundance, won the Grand Prix of Generation 14Plus at the Berlin Film Festival, and was based on Phoebe Gloeckner’s graphic novel.   Here’s part of the plot summary posted on NewDirectors:

Minnie could be your typical 15-year-old girl, awash in the throes of sexual awakening. But because she’s growing up in the free-love-induced haze of 1970s San Francisco, instead of losing her virginity to a schoolmate, Minnie opts for an affair with her mother’s boyfriend.

But since Roger was insecure about how long he would receive checks from the DOE, he saved the $20, downloaded the coming-of-age film from a Samaritan who shared his copy on the Internet, purchased a used copy of Gloeckner’s book from Strand, and he googled “The Rubber Room”.

Roger learned from a post on The Guardian that the Rubber Room was no longer an actual room. The city and the teacher’s union had agreed in 2010 to disband the rooms (i.e., temporary assignment centers). The disbandment was partially due to the backlash that resulted from the intuitively named documentary, The Rubber Room (2012). According to the exposé, the average time spent in the “Room”, with full pay and benefits while engaging in pastimes such as reading, playing cards, surfing, and sleeping, was three years. The charges filed against New York City teachers ranged from sexual misconduct to lateness. 

But like Roger, most suspended teachers, and there could be over six hundred teachers on suspension at any given time, were not privy to the charges. Thus, instead of wasting over $30 million a year on a DMV type environment, the suspended teachers were put to work in various offices around the five boroughs and as far away from students as possible. Hence, Roger’s reassignment to an office near the shadows of Madison Square Garden with the nearest school set four blocks away.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

[Part One: Tuesday 03/17] Bawdy Shakespeare

The middle-aged female African-American safety officer had no idea who Roger’s site supervisor was but after she complimented him on his beard she did some research and discovered that his site supervisor had retired. (Good for her.) After he clumsily clocked in, he was advised to have a seat until the new site supervisor arrived. 

The last time Roger had a job where he had to punch in and out, he consistently forgot to punch out, which caused a paperwork nightmare to repair. Before he continued reading “The Poet's Craft Book” section of The Complete Rhyming Dictionary, he set the alarm on his tablet for 3:20 as a reminder to punch out. Otherwise, out of euphoria, he would have (most likely) sauntered by the time clock.

As some of his new co-workers passed the waiting area, no one appeared to peer into his eyes to gauge his innocence or guilt or question why he was there. Heck, Roger didn't even know exactly why he was there. 

He was home using a sick day to homeopathically medicate his severe seasonal allergies when he was informed over the phone by the principal, “I'm sorry to tell you but you’ve been accused by a student.” “Really? Accused of what?” She apologized for not being able to tell him the accusation or identify the accuser, but she politely emailed a photo of his reassignment letter from the Office of Personnel Investigation.

His new site supervisor was younger than he had expected. Mid-thirties? She had stunning blue eyes but was about six months pregnant. She repeatedly gave him a warm welcome, which contrasted with the head psychologist, who (initially) gave him a cold, sarcastic, and forced greeting. The head psychologist suggested that he take a tour of the office. 

Despite a dislocated knee, a new knee brace, and an old cane, a cordial middle-aged lady was assigned to be Roger’s tour guide. Like many New Yorkers of color, Roger couldn’t pinpoint her ethnicity. Even he had been confused by natives of being Saudi Arabian, Sudani, Dominican and Indian. Once, he was scolded on the subway in half Hindi and half English by an elderly man who reminded Roger that even though he lived in America, “You will always be Indian!”

The first stop on the tour was to be formally introduced to the security guard. “She doesn't have a gun, but she's pack'in.” The last stop was the lunchroom where the tour guide inquired about Roger’s marital status. Despite his answer, she briefed Roger that he should expect to have a plethora of female companions for lunch.

Seemingly, the previous occupant of Roger’s cubicle had suddenly quit only days before his arrival. What he could glean from her abandoned belongings was that she was a proud Upper East Side parent of an Ivy Leaguer. (William Penn would proud.) And talk about a coincidence.

Before Roger could settle into his first cubicle in almost twelve years, the security guard hovered over him. “What’s your name?” And as if she needed his name to make this determination, she exclaimed, “Oh, you’re a man. We need more men around here! Everyone is asking me who you are.”

After briefly bantering with the security guard, to appear busy, Roger worked on “The Cheating Newlywed” but as he was editing, The Psychologist shockingly asked him to accompany her on some classroom observations. Roger did not say, “I just got here! And I’m pretty sure that it’s illegal for me to be around students.” However, after making a pit stop at a cafe for some café and after she complimented him on his Warby Parkers, Roger found himself in a school for autistic students near the Flat Iron building where he observed and noted the student’s humbling behavior.

Upon their return to the office, Roger typed the notes from two of his four observations until his alarm reminded him that it was time to punch out.

After leaving the office, Roger picked up a copy of Eric Partridge’s Shakespeare’s Bawdy from Strand. On the Uptown 4, Roger read about Shakespeare's use of double-entendre in his narrative poem "Venus and Adonis". For example, here are verses 229-240:

‘Fondling,’ she saith, ‘since I have hemm’d thee here\Within the circuit of this ivory pale,\I’ll be a park, and thou shalt be his deer;\Feed where thou wilt, on mountain or in dale:\Graze on his lips, and if those hills be dry,\Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.

‘Within this limit is relief enough,\Sweet bottom-grass and high delightful plain,\Round rising hillocks, brakes obscure and rough,\To shelter thee from tempest and from rain:\Then be his deer, since I am such a park;\No dog shall rouse thee, though a thousand bark.’

According to Partridge the definitions of the bold (pun intended) words are:

park - the female body regarded as a domain where a lover may freely roam
deer - figuratively used of man and woman in reference to sexual activities. Possibly influenced by the homophone, (one's) dear or darling.
mountain - pleasant eminences: breasts, buttocks, and thighs
dale - valley between breastsfountain - breasts
bottom-grass - the hair growing in and about the crutch [i.e., pubic hair]
plain - belly
hillock - buttocks
brakes - pubic hair

(Roger’s didn’t recall that Adonis was born of an incestuous relationship between Myrrha and Cinyras - her father. Shockingly, Myrrha, a young nubile girl (i.e, a nymphet), initiated the affair.)

That evening Roger sent some English translations from Pierre Louÿs’ Woman and Puppet via Tumblr to a French student, he read the introduction to Pniniad that a City College of New York coed borrowed from the campus library, and he helped said student with an oceanography lab report, before he got into a conversation with his brother who was visiting from France about Putin, French nationalists, and, in a bit of foreshadowing, about family betrayal.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

[Part One: Wednesday 03/18] Nicholas Sparks in the Rubber Room

Before Roger could finish typing his remaining observation notes, he was asked to peruse a document about a student whose parents wanted the Board of Education to pay for her private (special) education. The document was filled with errant commas but who cares? Only (some) teachers, (some) writers, (some) readers and editors care if there’s a comma between a conjunction and two independent clauses. Roger used the information gleaned from the document to write the student five educational goals.

As Roger was getting used to sitting instead of standing for hours, a former colleague and counselor from his school surprisingly stopped by his cubicle to say hello. Roger embarrassingly shared that he had been reassigned to the office but that he had no idea why. Roger’s colleague shared that despite being gay, the women in the office where troubling. Maybe, like Roger, they didn’t realize that he was gay. For years, Roger thought that his soft-spoken colleague’s peculiarities stemmed from the fact that he was a vegan yogi.

Roger typed his observation notes as fast as possible. He found that if he whispered the words while typing he had fewer mistakes. And he thanked God for the extremely strict  typing class that he took during his sophomore year of high school. Ironically, his structured high school experience made his teaching experience difficult.

Roger attended an all-male private school where conversing in class wasn’t an option. Having a side conversation while the teacher lectured was unfathomable. Roger’s fear was dozing while the geometry teacher stoically read theorems, which could result in a firm punch to the forehead. An incorrect answer in science class awarded a student two options: a strike on the knuckles with a stack of wooden rulers or a strike on the forehead with a stack of wooden rulers. But even in Roger’s best class, he had to stop teaching approximately every ten minutes due to multiple side conversations. And if he hit a student every time he got an incorrect answer, he would have more concussions on his hands than the NFL.

Consequently, Roger was über-flabbergasted when a fifteen-year-old student commanded him to suck her dick after he politely and rationally asked her to have a seat. Her punishment? None. But Roger got a tongue lashing from her mother who appeared to be a callet and preferred her cocaine cooked. Roger felt like Eddie Murphy’s character in Beverly Hills Cop who was arrested for disturbing the peace after being thrown out of a window.

As she passed Roger’s cubicle, the head psychologist shared that she took the previous day off to visit the salon and Forever 21. During her first day off in years, she got a wash-and-set and purchased a casual yet office appropriate outfit. Roger assumed that his presence wasn’t the impetus.

There was no unsecure WiFi in the office, and Roger was too insecure to use the desktop computer for anything unrelated to the DOE; so, after he finished his secretarial duties, he prepared for lunch. A colleague informed him that lunch breaks were a measly thirty minutes. However, Roger’s letter from the Office of Personnel Investigation stated that he was to take a fifty-minute lunch break. And he did. He ate a Gala and read Pniniad while avoiding eye contact until he noticed the lunch room’s petite bibliothèque, which had a surprising amount of chick lit books from Brushnell's Trading Up to Every. Single. Nicholas Sparks book.

That evening, Roger helped a tutee with an algebra 2 worksheet and a college coed formulate an example of a true paradox for her Family Policy and Ethics class before he received an unsolicited, random and suspicious MMS from a former student.

She was in a form fitting robe rouge that barely held her double Ds. She asked Roger if he had any pictures to share. He immediately assumed that he was being entrapped by the Board of Education. He visualized an investigator sending text messages from a computer in the DOE headquarters. Before he deleted her text, he texted, “Of course I don't have any pics silly. How could I?” Eerily, when she was a sophomore in Roger’s English class, a group of possessive male students spread a rumor on Facebook that Roger and the nymphet were having an affair.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

[Part One: Thursday 03/19] Paul McCartney's Nymphet

One drawback to his new route to work was that Roger no longer got to read the amNew York on the subway. He used to grab a copy while transferring from the 4 to the L and by the time he reached the end of the line he would have his daily dose of news, culture and sports from “Manhattan’s Highest Daily Circulation Newspaper”.

As Roger approached his cubicle, he said good morning to everyone in his general work area. He received a smattering of replies, but his neighbor to his direct left didn’t acknowledged him, and after two days of being neighbors they hadn’t spoken or made eye contact. But she wasn’t mute. When a co-worker explained, “I need that file.” She replied, “Well, you’re going to have to wait!”

Roger got an email from The Psychologist. He was to painstakingly type “In one year” in front of a student’s educational goals after he copied and pasted the goals from the attached file into the Special Education Student Information System (SESIS). For example, Roger changed “John will successfully […]” to “In one year, John will successfully […]”. He did that nineteen times before it was time to punch out. And who said that teachers in the Rubber Room don’t earn their pay?

That evening, Roger helped a college freshman edit a paper on the theme of death in The Epic of Gilgamesh. He watched the last three minutes of three March Madness games. And he read a blog post titled “From Mozart to The Beatles: Songs About Nymphets”. 

He learned that "I Saw Her Standing There" was the first song on the Beatles' 1963 debut album Please Please Me, her learned that the song was about man who fell in love with a nymphet after they “danced through the night”, and that the girl was “just seventeen” and apparently looked “way beyond compare”. The blog post related that the song, which was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, was ranked number 139 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list, and that according to Mark Lewisohn’s Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years, McCartney was dating Celia Mortimer, a seventeen-year-old bird, while he was co-writing the hit song. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

[Part One: Friday 03/20] TGIF

An email from The Psychologist awaited Roger as he entered the office:

“Let’s discuss these [twenty-eight] cases [from seven different schools] today. Are you available at 11:30 AM?” 

It was a short meeting. By 11:35, Roger’s task was to contact the seven schools, request that they email him the multiple files of twenty-eight students that were to be copied and pasted into SESIS. 

“Happy Friday!”

Sunday, March 25, 2018

[Part One: Monday 03/23] Hoping for a Black Vespa

Another benefit of being in The Rubber Room was that Roger, an (extreme) introvert, had to do very little talking. Besides his general “good morning” to anyone within earshot of his cubicle and his specific “good night” to The Psychologist, he didn’t have any non-work-related conversations. And even work-related conversations with The Psychologist were brief. She liked brief emails and even briefer meetings. Introvert? 

However, “teaching” required that Roger talk a lot. One-third of his conversations involved pedagogy, another third bantering, and one-third disciplining, which left less than 1% for silence.

The student files started filling Roger’s inbox, but they were in PDF format, which meant that they couldn’t be copied or pasted. The Psychologist expected Roger to foolishly type the information into SESIS; however, he used Zamzar to convert the PDFs to DOCs and copied and pasted until he was delirious. He thought, “There has to be a better way.” But there wasn’t. Yet, he didn’t complain, because the computer didn’t talk back and it did what he asked it to do without telling him to “[Get the] fuck outta here!” or demanding oral sex. The delirium caused by the monotony of copying and pasting was the far lesser of the two “evils”.

Some gossip via a text message interrupted Roger’s white-collar work. The girls’ basketball coach had been reported for behaving inappropriately with a player. Roger was the boy’s assistant basketball coach; thus, he was (somewhat) confident that the gossip wasn’t concerning his unfortunate situation. However, he had sent the star of the girls’ basketball team a screenshot of an advertisement for the Nike girls’ basketball camp. And he did have an ulterior motive. His plan was:
  1. she would follow his advice and go to the camp
  2. get noticed by a Division 1 scout
  3. become a college star
  4. get drafted in the first round of the WNBA
  5. and as a thank you, buy Roger a black Vespa with a matching helmet

Saturday, March 24, 2018

[Part One: Tuesday 03/24] Ghetto Books on a Kindle

For some reason, Roger was extremely despondent and melancholy. It could have been a combination of being reassigned, the gossip, and the hours upon hours of copying and pasting. It was the latter.

Speaking of gossip. Roger’s neighbors were gossiping about a colleague.

"She has a rock? With that greasy hair! If she can get one, I better get one!"
"You'll get a bigger one!"

As Roger was signing out to get a cup of chai from Chandi, an halal restaurant on 29th and Broadway, he overheard a conversation between the security guard and a younger African American woman who appeared to be sincerely concerned about how the security guard spent her eight hours.

"You can read. You can download the Kindle app. They have free books."
"Ghetto books?"
"Do I type free books?"
"No, the Kindle app has free books."
"But I don't have a Kindle."

Friday, March 23, 2018

[Part One: Wednesday 03/25] Modern Dance

Roger took a sick day, because he pulled an all-nighter filling out online applications for adjunct professor positions. He decided that he would rather take a fifty percent pay cut and live like an underprivileged Henry Miller in Paris than go back to teaching high school students. 

After a nap, he went to The Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem. His visit pertained to his brief talking head appearance in a documentary that was accepted into the Tribeca film festival. 

On his return home, Roger witnessed two nymphets give an impromptu modern dance performance on the subway platform. 

The lead dancer was approximately twelve-years-old with a Brazilian skin tone. Her raven black hair was long, thick, and wavy sans a weave. She wore a pair of fitting polyester sweat pants with three stripes down the sides of her firm legs like a 1980s breakdancer. She directed her younger co-dancer with a heavy, yet high pitched, Dominican accent. 

The routine began with a flick of her hair and a seductive twist of her hips and ended as the train approached. The nymphet put her back to the crowd and alternated the flexing of her young buttocks like a stripper at the Sin City Cabaret before she squeezed into the Uptown.

It didn't appear that the nymphets were forced to perform by a dirty old man. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

[Part One: Thursday 03/26] Dancing in the Aisles

As Roger entered the office he overheard a colleague overshare, “I think I have a bigger belly now than when I was pregnant.” 

Roger’s computer crashed three times. And because a document never arrived in his Outlook inbox from a “DOE approved” school due to a colleague’s negligence and his ignorance of office procedures, Roger had some considerable down time that he used to edit a cover letter for an adjunct position and read Rowe’s Nabokov's Deceptive World.

And SESIS went down for a scheduled maintenance earlier than scheduled. Consequently, Roger’s co-workers were, literally, dancing in the aisles.

Roger did not dance. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

[Part One: Friday 03/27] Teens Steal Organic Food?

Roger saw a member of the wrestling team on the Downtown 2. Roger pretended that he didn’t see the student-athlete, until it appeared that the student-athlete was pretending that he didn't see Roger. Due to the power of reverse psychology, Roger approached the sophomore. Shockingly, the student didn’t seem to realize that Roger hadn’t been in school for almost two weeks. They bantered about wrestling, how the student rescued a drowning friend, and why he didn't attend the three-day overnight college trip. “It’s a waste of time.” (i.e., His girlfriend didn’t go.)

As Roger settled into the comfort of his cubicle, his neighbor stood and shared with the office that she found it absolutely hilarious that her coworker didn't know where the Appalachians were located. After a Google search, Roger still didn’t see the humor in her proclamation. 

Roger got the impression that The Psychologist had informed the office at the Friday (regular) staff meeting that she was quitting accepting a different position. The clues were that her co-workers kept stopping by her cubicle to say “congratulations”, and she hadn't given Roger any work to do in hours. Thus, after a bit of copying and pasting, Roger edited a cover letter for an adjunct position at a Division 1 school in Brooklyn and read a French grammar. Félicitations!

After work, Roger shared a serving of Magnolia's pudding in the lower level of Grand Central Terminal and a mocha at the Pret A Manger across the street from Bryant Park. Roger sat next to a couple of fashionable European tourists while a crew of fashionable New York City teens looted the organic café. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

[Part One: Monday 03/30] The UFT

Roger had several meetings scheduled for the morning to determine if any modifications should be made to the IEPs of several students. Justifiably, he was extremely apprehensive, because he had never spoken to the students, their parent(s) or their teachers. However, every single parent skipped the meeting. “Thank God.” 

And only one parent answered Roger’s follow-up phone call, but she was fluent in Spanish and functionally illiterate in English and Roger was functionally illiterate in Spanish and fluent in English. But after their brief conference call, Roger determined, based on his over a decade of “teaching”, that her child should continue to receive (free) special education services from the NYCDOE.

With his calendar free for the rest of the workday, Roger called the office of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) to see if he could get any information about his case. He had been advised, via a text message from his school’s union representative slash basketball coach slash social studies teacher, to procure the services of an UFT office manager. 

The first two times he called, he was told, “She’s in a meeting.” And the third time he called, he was told, “You just missed her!” 

Monday, March 19, 2018

[Part One: Tuesday 03/31] College Coeds & Hot Professors

Roger was extremely annoyed the entire morning due to an impending after lunch meeting with a parent and a representative from the student’s (private) school. The meeting had been arranged by The Psychologist, who was busily trying to clear her calendar before her departure. Not only was that meeting canceled, but miraculously, the four additional meetings were cancelled as well. Thus, Roger had more time for copying and pasting.

It wasn’t cheat day, but he walked to Dough and got a Chocolate-Cocoa Nib and a small black coffee sans cream but with one sugar. He sat next to four NYU coeds who were discussing, over their crumbs and iced coffees, how attractive their professors were and how one professor even rode his bike across campus. “So, European!”

That evening, Roger tutored a (private) high school student in Algebra II and helped a college co-ed fix a formatting issue with her Food Politics paper. Fix: 

Step 1: Download the paper from Google Docs in the Microsoft Word format. 
Step 2: Upload the Word document as an attachment.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

[Part One: Wednesday 04/01] A Strand Book for Lunch

Roger had been short changing his lunch breaks for two weeks by ten minutes; so, he decided to cash in and take an extended lunch break. He went to Strand to buy Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, but he contemplated replacing his destroyed copy of Vladimir Nabokov: The Russian Years that was knocked out of his hand onto the uptown tracks by a teen’s swerving hockey bag; however, he walked back onto Broadway with Speak, Memory.

Before he returned to the office, Roger made a pit stop to do two observations. The Psychologist didn’t know that Roger wasn’t supposed to be around students or she didn’t care. Roger assumed the latter. One of the students was absent and the other one was on her lunch break. Roger waited in the library until the bell rang that signaled the end of the lunch period. He made a thorough observation, took copious notes, and returned to the office approximately two hours and thirty minutes after he had left.

He began reading Speak, Memory during the commute home and after dinner he helped a (private) high school student with his Algebra II homework and edit a lab report comparing the freezing points of freshwater and saltwater. He helped a (public) college junior with a “crucial” oceanography lab report. And instead of helping a (private) college freshman with her second semester Arabic language assignment, he emailed her the answers.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

[Part One: Thursday 04/02] The False Alarm

While Roger was getting dressed, he noticed two men, who appeared to be detectives, enter his walkup’s foyer. He assumed that they had been sent by the DOE. When they entered building 649 instead of Roger’s 651, he assumed that they had mistakenly entered the wrong building. Roger’s heart rate and breathing didn’t return to (near) normal until after he saw the two men exit the foyer. 

He entered the office still shaken by the false alarm. Consequently, he stopped working at 11:00 and took an over twenty block constitutional to Grand Central. Along the way, he stopped at a demonstration in front of the McDonald's on 6th near 34th. He avoided the news cameras while an Indian guy with a beard and a white guy with a beard drummed to the rhythm of the protest chants. After he took out his cahier to make an entry, he was asked by one of the protest organizers, "Are you press?" “No.” She didn’t appear to believe him.

Still perturbed by the false alarm, Roger was in no mood to do any tutoring; however, with the thought that the next day was Good Friday and, more importantly, the first day of spring break, he helped a coed with her three-page paper on Finding Nemo. It was a bizarre extra-credit assignment for her oceanography class. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

[Part One: Monday 04/14] Cigars and Art

Roger was not happy to be back in the office. During spring break, he re-started smoking. (Macanudo Ascots). He went to see MoMA’s Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980 exhibit. And he walked to the deli to purchase a bag of DAD’s dry cat food. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

[Part One: Tuesday 04/15] Sick Day\Cheat Day

Roger took a sick day to go to the dentist, but he never made it. Rain was like potent Ambien when combined with Roger’s average of 4.5 hours of sleep. But somehow, he ended up at Schnippers, which is one of his choice burger joints after The Burger Joint. (The Le Parker Meridien location - not the Village location.) He ordered The Schnipp with its Creekstone Farm's beef layered with double cheese on a (toasted) brioche bun.

To continue his totally unplanned, four days earlier than normal, cheat day, he purchased a pecan-topped brownie from Mayson Kayser. As he exited the boulangerie, he grabbed a handful of individually wrapped La Perruche sugar cubes and clandestinely ate the brownie at Pret A Manger before he washed it down with an organic macchiato.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

[Part One: Wednesday 04/16] The Illegal Instagram DM

A mysterious early morning knock on Roger's door activated his sympathetic nervous system. He was forced to choose between fighting or "flighting". He did not escape down the rear fire escape, but he followed the investigators to their car.

The investigator behind the steering wheel asked Roger for his DOE file number, if he played basketball, if he coached basketball, if he knew the star of the girls’ basketball team, and how he got into contact with the student-athlete.

Roger gave him his six-digit file number, he informed him that he graduated from a (minor) division 1 school, but that he had never played in a single game, because the menisci in his knees tore during the second practice of his first year. He shared that he co-coached the boys’ varsity basketball team. “I’m really the assistant coach, but the head coach is charming in that regard.” And he told the investigators that he had sent the coed the information about the landmark Nike girl's basketball camp via an Instagram direct message (DM).

The investigator behind the steering wheel miraculously showed Roger a printout of the DM. “How in the hell did he get that?” Roger thought. 

To Roger’s relief, he was assured that he would (probably) be exonerated. The investigator in the driver’s seat opined that “they”, meaning the Department of Education, wants teachers to be involved in their student’s lives, but that they, meaning the Department of Education, are fickle about what “involved” means.

The investigator behind the steering wheel said that another problem with student-teacher (platonic) relationships is that the rules about social media are very vague. He shared that the biggest culprits are new teachers who get too involved with their students and produce transcripts with over fifty, sent and received, text messages.

Roger wasn’t told what he had allegedly done to be sent to teacher jail. Ironically, the investigator shared that the star of the basketball team did not accuse Roger of any wrongdoing and that she had “no problems” with him; thus, Roger was forced to use his imagination.

Roger imagined that the star of the basketball team had enthusiastically shared with her teammates that he had sent her a DM, but failed to mention that the DM was about a basketball camp, which caused someone, a (jealous) student or (jealous) teacher, to report the DM to the principal, which caused the principal to call the student into her office and ask her about the DM call the DOE.

Roger was eager to share the good news. Instead of making a left to his cubicle, he made a right to the supervisor’s cubicle. He told her about the positive visit from the investigators. 

“They went to your house? I’ve never heard of that before.” She said. 
Roger shared, "Being a man of color in America awards one with special privileges. I've even had the privilege of being visited by two detectives over a simple summons."

Nevertheless, she was so happy that Roger had been somewhat vindicated that she shed fake tears.

Before Roger commenced copying and pasting, he had a quest to learn more about the DOE’s social media guidelines. The last time he attended a staff meeting on the topic, the principal advised the teachers to avoid befriending students on Facebook. 

“The DOE can’t tell me who I can be friends with!” a history teacher exclaimed. 

Thus, Roger was shocked to read in the updated guidelines that it was forbidden for teachers to contact students via social media. However, inexplicably, emails and text messages were permissible. 

“Gasp. If I would have sent her the information about the basketball camp via email I wouldn't be here!”

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

[Part One: Thursday 04/17] A Free Teacher

Adjured by a dream that he was back in school, Roger called the investigator a day earlier than he had planned. The investigator informed Roger that he should have a pleasing email in his DOE inbox. Roger thanked him and immediately checked his email, but there was only some new junk.

To pass the time, Roger completed a close relative’s financial aid information for his third year at William Penn’s Ivy, he cleaned his soon to be vacated desk, and he wrote a long exit email to the supervisor and head psychologist listing all the work that he had completed, the work that he couldn’t complete (The Psychologist had finally left along with her SESIS password.), and the work he didn't get a chance to complete.

His get-out-of-teacher-jail email arrived about an hour before his last lunch break. 

A free man, Roger purchased a cheap cigar that was made in Puerto Rico but filled with tobacco from the Dominican Republic and Honduras. He puffed it until he arrived at Bryant Park where there was a Lilly Pulitzer for Target Pop-Up. 

He sat upon a green wooden chair at a green metal table among the pink Lilly Pulitzer beach umbrellas. He ate two clementines as young women from around the globe received free manicures while sipping on complimentary orange, mango, and ginger juice blends.

Monday, March 12, 2018

[Part One: Friday 04/18] The End of Part One

As Roger prepared his light lunch, he realized that he had left his Cozyna travel mug in the cubicle! 

He arrived at the office building earlier than normal with the hope that he wouldn’t see any of his (former) colleagues. Despite the carpeting and Converse, he walked softly as he clandestinely procured his mug and headed back to the elevator. But he did not exit through the emergency door. He knew that the alarm wouldn’t sound, but somehow the “If You Open This Door The Alarm Will Sound” sign was a deterrent. To his relief, an empty elevator welcomed him with open doors. He exited the building through the non-emergency exit with his procured Cozyna – all within five minutes.

Roger was surprised to notice that (most of) the students didn’t appear to realize that he had been absent for over a month. However, (most of) the students who were in his classes were shocked and awed that he had returned. He precariously received two very firm hugs from two sultry seniors. And a honey blonde junior in grey spandex pressed her petite palm against her pink lips and blew him a welcome back kiss but she did not ask him to suck her dick.

Classes rolled along as usual. The neuroscience students presented their research project proposals, the U.S. government students studied the fine line between bribing and lobbying, and the chemistry students carefully balanced chemical equations.

After his first day back to school, Roger had a serving of Gelato Giusto. The parlor was aesthetically pleasing with its Italian marble counters, cushioned benches, and earth toned throw pillows, but Roger’s chocolate gelato was a bit weak in flavor and too light in consistency. And the cup wasn’t emblazoned with the Gelato Giusto logo! Grom and L'Arte del Gelato firmly maintained their positions in his top two.

Upon arriving home, he pulled Dostoyevsky out of his mailbox. He read Stavrogin's Confession until the start of the Red Bulls soccer game, which he watched while eating thin crust pizza that he digested with a calming cigar.

The End of Part One