I began the morning with my usual shower-time meditation about what I expected to accomplish today (read: I talked to myself in the shower a la William Faulkner, rambling and without end or punctuation or even a real point, just talking and talking, to and about myself while the water runs all around, and ideas and tasks and concerns run like the water, and the noise of my thoughts mingle above the noise of the fan, and–wait, what was I saying?). Writing is always on this virtual list, which is either a good sign that I am moving toward this whole writing life thing, or that I am only inspired to write when it is inconvenient to do so (I also think a great deal about writing when I’m behind the wheel). In my typical stream-of-consciousness shower thinking, I pondered what I might write about in the course of the day, but I kept getting distracted by my dry, scaly, sandpapery hands. Seriously, I actually scratched myself on the face with my fingertips. By the time the shower was over I had not gotten very far in my thoughts about writing. It is really hard to think about writing when your brain is consumed by a single thought. No surprise, then, that on my way to work when I started thinking about writing again, I decided to write about dry skin. I know. Brilliant! I hope you are not disappointed, then, to learn that I got busy and distracted and never got around to writing about dry skin and now do not feel very tied to the subject at all. But like most inspiration, the dry skin situation opened up an even greater, deeper well of material. Here’s what happened:
I was chatting with a friend over coffee before school started, and for almost 30 minutes we talked and unconsciously picked at our respective dry hands until she finally asked if I had lotion. “Yes!” I replied, quite enthusiastically, because I have a bottle of scrumptious grapefruit lotion that is not only soothing and moisturizing but also makes people perceive you as much younger than you actually are. I opened my drawer and reached for it, but it was not there. I opened other drawers, moved things around, looked on my desk and computer station, even opened my bag to see if I had dropped it in there by mistake. No lotion. So I reached for the spot on my desk where I keep a pump bottle of lotion for kids to use, but mid-reach I realized that it too was gone.
I would be willing to bet that everyone who reads this has been a victim of office theft. It’s happened to me, and everyone I work with. Most of what disappears from our classroom desks, however, is food-, money-, or battery-related. I’ve had all of the above removed from desk drawers, and yet, even as I type this, all of the above is in my desk: three 2A batteries, 75 cents, a Nestle Crunch bar, some random 100 calorie snacks, and a calculator (with a 3A battery inside). These are the things kids steal, and yet, all I’m missing is two bottles of lotion. When I sat down at my desk this morning I noticed that my computer monitor was askew and my pencil cup had been overturned, and later I discovered a picture and my stapler out of place. But after the discovery of the missing lotion, I started finding, well, lotion. Little drops of grapefruit-scented lotion. It was on my jump drive. It was on my CPU next to a USB port. It was on a CD next to the monitor. It was on the mouse and the tape dispenser. Then I found my lip gloss, which is usually inside my desk, lying behind my computer. I threw it away immediately, but maybe I should have dusted it for prints. It’s like a little crime scene, only it smells nice and there is no blood. Yet.
Because my poor, cracking dry hands? They are drier now than ever, the driest hands there ever were, and all because someone–can I type this with a straight face?–crept into the school library on a holiday weekend, went through my desk in search of cosmetic products, ignored food and money (not to mention thousands of dollars in electronics and computers! Hello! It’s not called the MEDIA CENTER for nothing!), and stole my lotion.