Today began late, with me arriving at school at around 9:30.
The teacher who invited me over to his house for dinner comes over to thank me for the two Beach Boys cds I burned for him, Pet Sounds and Smile. We have an hour-long conversation about our favorite Beach Boys songs (he loves "Sloop John B" and I love "God Only Knows") and discuss the possible causes for Brian Wilson`s breakdown (I explain the rivalry between Brian Wilson and the Beatles and he expounds upon his theory of the "tangled" quality of the Smile songs hinting at the confused nature of Brian Wilson`s mind).
The young female PE teacher who sits next to me notices me listening to music on my laptop and comes to look at my music. She gets really excited suddenly and runs out to her car to get two cds she has recently bought, returning with the new Gwen Stefani cd and the new Babyface album. She then plays me her favorite Babyface song and I dutifully transcribe and attempt to translate the lyrics for her on her request. This takes an hour, Babyface lyrics proving more obtuse than you would expect when you have to explain expressions like "the grass is always greener" or "sometimes you don't know what you have until it is gone". The cliches and awful wordplay seem to attain a certain profundity in translation.
Lunch. I walk to the 7-11 near the school to buy a drink and eat some spaghetti a teacher cooked for me the other day. I watch an episode of Late Night with Conan O`Brien on my laptop. Laughing aloud, I am prompted by the teacher across from me to repeat this funny joke: "A recent survey conducted in Mexico found that 40% of adults in Mexicans would move to the US, given the opportunity. Researchers explained that the numbers would have been higher, but the other 60% is already living here." Said teacher likewise found our immigration problem most amusing.
A Chemistry professor approaches me tentatively and introduces himself in better English than any of the English teachers. Apparently he has listened to English broadcasts on the radio for nigh on 10 years and is entirely self-taught. He shows me a book of English sonnets he is reading and we talk about our favorite British Romantic poets (He likes Browning and I like Shelley). I show him one of my favorite poems, "To My Coy Mistress" by Marvell.
I wander the halls for a while listening to music on my ipod, stopping some students dead in their tracks who apparently have not heard about the existence of a new ALT. Dropping by the library to check out a book of Japanese poetry, I am suddenly accosted by three first year boys. Blocking my exit, they interrogate me in Japanese about the finer points of American culture, like whether people really have parties at their house like in "American Pie" (and to a lesser extent, "American Pie 2"). I assure them that not only do people have these parties, but it is so common as to be rather passe. They are suitably impressed.
I come back to the teacher`s room to use the internet and write my blog.
I will be paid $150 for today.