I’m finally an insider.
I will now list some of the crazy things that have gone on recently in this great little place where I live, but I will inexplicably use the present tense to describe the past.
1. Governor Scott Walker proposes a bill that will balance the budget!
2. The bill will make a lot of people, teachers included, pay more into their health care and pension plans. Most people I know will have $350 deducted from their paycheck each month.
3. But the crazy thing about this bill, or rather the thing that is making everyone go crazy, is that the bill takes away the Union’s rights to negotiate almost everything.
4. Governor Scott Walker suddenly decides he needs to go Up North for a spell. Right away. He's actually already gone.
9. In what I think is a sophisticated way to play hooky, Middleton High School students schedule a walk out at 11 AM in protest.
4.(?) Teachers organize! I go to the state capitol (did you know that the building is spelled capitol, and the town is spelled capital?) and protest with my three year old daughter. We have a lot of fun. She has a sign on her back, “Put children first.”
5. There’s like 10,000 people protesting with us. Little Z says, “Where the back? Where the back of the people?” I think she meant there was no end to the people.
6. I learn that when teachers organize, they do it in an extremely organized fashion. There are school bus carpools, one after another, pulling up a block away from the capitol. As people get off the buses, there is a guy with a pile of protest signs, handing each person a sign. They are beautiful signs, run off precisely in advance at Kinko’s, I bet. Then they march, they chant, they pay attention when someone makes a speech, they vary the presentation by singing a song or telling a personal story, they sign in at the capitol. I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it.
7. Police at the capitol Tuesday night look extremely bored.
8. I see like a zillion people I know at the capitol.
9. 10,000 or more protest with me. That’s a lot.
10. My friend gets stuck in the capitol building hearing testimonies until 1 AM. She doesn't have a chance to go to the bathroom from 3:20 PM until 1:30 AM.
11. The strategy is to have everyone testify and hold off the vote until some congresspeople change their minds and decide to vote against the bill.
12. The strategy doesn't work.
13. Wednesday, Madison teachers call in sick en mass and get school canceled in protest. But those Madison teachers are all just crazy radicals, right?
14. I have my classes read a newspaper article about the protests, and discuss what it all means. My students are pretty mad at me for not calling in sick and getting our school canceled, too.
15. Wednesday night: a message on my answering machine states that if I call in sick on Thursday, I need a doctor’s note. Also, school might be canceled if any more people call in “sick”. Hm... why would they say that? I give them about ten minutes to call again and say school is canceled, because everyone heard the first message and called in sick.
16. Ten minutes later, another phone call says school is canceled for Thursday, because everyone heard the first message and called in sick, but we are all still supposed to report to work.
17. Today: I go to work. It’s really creepy there. They’re saving electricity by leaving a lot of the lights off. There are no kids. There are a few other teachers.
18. Some things I do at work with no kids:
19. grade papers,
20. redecorate a bulletin board,
21. make nice bookmarks for all my students on the laminator machine,
22. make a strange comment that I think is answered by God,
23. (I discover God listens to what you say in the break room),
24. try on a cheer leading uniform,
25. (and I actually looked pretty cute- I think I’ll wear it when I open the talent show),
26. listen to a lot of good music on the 1970’s stereo with built in speakers in the classroom,
27. (the stereo is a complete mystery because the building was built in 2000),
28. watch sixth graders who have been on an overnight field trip come back and look confused,
33. wondering if the zombie apocalypse has come to their darkened, freaky school,
34. their dream come true! Zombies are so cool!
35. Meanwhile, at the capitol, the Republicans send the police after the Democrats who have run away to another state in an attempt to not sign the bill into law!
36. Meanwhile, two of my coworkers are having lunch at the local pub (half an hour, no alcohol) and the band teacher is on CNN!!!!!
37. Apparently, the band teacher is very well spoken, although she is forced to yell over the noise of the crowd at the capitol.
38. Meanwhile, an old man at the pub tells my two fellow teachers who came to work and were eating there at the pub that, at his ten year high school reunion, this guy named Bogly was missing.
39. Bogly had died in a car wreck.
40. They held a memorial for poor old Bogly.
41. At the twenty year high school reunion, Bogly showed up, alive!
42. it just goes to show,
43. things are not always as bad as they seem.
This has been Cellar Door, reporting live from Somewhere in Wisconsin.