Doctor Who

Netflix did it. Having every Doctor Who episode from 2004 to (finally) the present available while I cooked, cleaned and worked out and didn’t sleep was the push I needed to watch this show. Yes, several very witty, fun and all together brilliant people (You know who you are.) had been touting The Doctor’s virtues to me for years, but actually seeing it was more effort than I was willing able to make. But My new best friend, Netflix Streaming, made it easy.
I am so glad.
People, this show now has a place in my heart with Buffy and Firefly. I want to see The Doctor try and convince Mal guns are bad. I want Willow to be his next companion. (Seriously, Allison Hannigan, How I Met Your Mother does not have more than two season left in that dead horse carcass. Go to your hub’s homeland. I bet Joss and Steven would collaborate.)
Doctor Who is the most profound of cheese. First you get to watch Chris Ecclesion gnaw on the scenery for 14 episodes then he sets the stage for David Tennant to devour it for four magnificent seasons until he bows in Matt Smith who is still currently licking it in a weirdly watchable but slightly unseemly way.
And while they are running around entrancing several British women into worshipping accompanying them, The Doctor’s story is the story of humanity. Every major theme that makes life worth living or death a blessing (ie Shakespeare) gets at least one episode while the story revolves around people’s fat coming to life as adorable alien babies or other aliens using GPS to try to take over the Earth.
The Doctor is everything good in people unless he isn’t. Unless his arrogance is not kept in check. We would all be tempted to be corrupted by absolute power. Enter those British women with their true humanity and dazzling, adoring smiles to keep him in check. And the TARDIS. She is one smart police box (bigger on the inside!)
If you don’t get Doctor Who, then you just don’t. Fine. I understand not being able to peel back the cheese or enjoy it. But I dare you to watch either Blink or Human Nature and The Family of Blood two parter, and not first be dry-mouthed with fear or get a good lump in your throat.
The Angels are creepy.

Intrude

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

Motion

Halt

The next prompt response. Not sure if the rabbit hole is hopeless, but definitely not a happy place.

 

She made her way out of the coffee shop and towards her checkpoint without really being aware of the world around her, which could have gotten her killed. If her sergeant had seen her, she would have found herself flat on her ass and a reprimand on her record. She turned the corner into a side alley and made her way to a dumpster in the dark back corner. Quickly, two fast pounds, three slow. The dumpster swung aside, and a man with an automatic rifle stepped out.

She came to attention and barked, “Private Melody Sharp reporting to base from assignment.”

“Produce your id!” the soldier commanded as his gun barrel came to point at her.

Melody slowly lifted up her hair and showed him the small tattoo of a boar’s head on the back of her neck right under the hairline. The guard glanced at it then stepped aside. “ENTER!” As she walked passed him, he whispered, “Well done, Sharp,” and winked.

Her nose twitched, but she did not smile. As the dumpster closed to cover the opening, all light was gone. She pulled a flashlight from her pack and used its beam to light her path down the slight slope in front of her. As she went, it became lighter until she could put the flashlight away. At the bottom was what use to be a basement to the old hotel above. Melody opened a curtain of canvass to reveal military headquarters circa the Korean War. Something out of MASH, the soldiers often joked. Without the still, sadly.

As she entered the people in the room looked up. There was a brief pause, and they all started applauding and cheering. Melody stopped, frozen. After a moment she decided to yet again come to attention and salute, covering her eyes with the palm of her hand than sharply moving it out and to her side.

One man in old khakis and worn boots stepped forward. Melody stood straighter. “Well done, Private, well done. That was the biggest takedown we have ever accomplished. When the rest of the troop arrives, we will debrief.”

“I am the first back, sir?”

“Yes, Private.”

“Sir, I need to debrief now. You need to be aware of something.” Melody came out of attention long enough to flip the card from her pocket.

He glanced at it, then at her. “In my office.” Melody followed him to the far corner that had been curtained off. Inside, Melody succinctly reported her encounter.

“And you have no idea who he was?”

She shook her head. “No, sir, but I don’t think he’s an ally. I think he’s trouble.”

“Well that depends on your prospective,” a voice from behind her said. Melody whirled, and her general looked up. The man from the cafe was standing there. This time Melody was ready. As she whirled, she pulled a pistol from behind her coat. Within a heartbeat the tip was at the man’s temple.

 

 

Halt

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood

This is a continuation from Motion which was from another WOE prompt. I have no idea where this story is going or even where it came from. I will….

As the sirens call started in the distance and the feel of chaos was taking over around her, she walked three blocks over and two down to a Starbucks. The tendrils of terror from Twitter had not had quite enough time to make the damage known.

She took her book back out as she waited in the lengthy line. Along with the paperback came a pink highlighter. Using her teeth to pull the cap, she marked two sentences on the page. When it was her turn to order her grande vanilla latte, she place the open book on the counter.

She turned away, blowing into the opening of her cup and watched a police car, ambulance and fire engine drive by the window. The cacaphony of sirenes, horns, and squealing tires were enough to bring the patrons out of their small worlds of computer screens, books and newspapers. She saw several of them turn to their phones, looking for news. It wouldn’t be thirty more seconds before they knew what was happening. It would be less than a minute before they were tweeting that they were mere blocks away.

She slipped into the seat of a table in the corner, letting her book fall open yet again. As she lifted the cup to her lips, she felt along the bottom. She pulled off the small strip of paper secured there with a tiny doughnut of masking tape.

2     5     7     10    3

The 5, 7, and 10 were circled.

Again the noise of emergency response could be heard getting louder. She saw one man take a picture as another ambulance went by.

“Your tiny paper is missing a number.”

She almost dropped her cup. Looking up she realized a man has sat down across from her. Annoyed with herself for not being more aware, she shifted slightly in case she needed to leave in a hurry. Her eyes became slits as she gauged whether she could easily overpower him.

“Relax,” he said. “You are more than capable of overpowering me.” He was sitting casually with his legs crossed, slowly sipping from the white and green cardboard. “As I said, your paper is missing a number.”

Quietly, she replied, “Excuse me?”

He leaned forward. “The number is 47.”

She glanced down. Then looked at him in disbelief. Tentatively, she said, “No way. There have never been that many taken out at once.”

“I wasn’t referring to them, you naive, programmed soldier. I was referring to the people who were killed. 47.” He drew the word out as if it was painful. “And 24 injured.”

He leaned closer and the intensity of his blue eyes bore down on her so that she could not look away. “That is 71 lives you have ruined.” His voice dropped to a hiss. “For. Nothing. Nothing is worth that.” He shoved from his seat and though he did not rush or push, people got out of his way as he left the building.

She looked down at her table. On her book was a card. All it said was, I will be in touch.

 

A Random Thought

We have less than ten pictures of my great grandparents on my mother’s side of the family. There are a few more from my father’s side because they have been in the U.S. a lot longer. My aunt has done some research and can trace Dad’s family back to Ireland. I know nothing past my great-grandparents on the Greek side.

Just imagine what my great-grandchildren will be able to find out about me? They’ll be able to things I made for dinner, when I took the kids to the park, if I had a cold. There will be thousands of pictures of me for them to see.

Social networking has changed personal history a great deal. It will be interesting to see how it effects history on a grander scale.

My Biggest Failure

I don’t know why I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Maybe on the success of the triathlon I have been evaluating other situations in my life that have gone a different way.

I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a sister. I am a daughter. I am a friend.

I am a teacher.

I always have been a teacher. I denied it for a while, but eventually my DNA righted itself. It was a little late for me to go about the process of becoming a teacher the regular way. My idealism didn’t reassert itself until I was twenty-four working at a small magazine as a writer and editor. My eventual goal was book editing, but I was not a fan of journalism. And I had an itch to make a difference. Again, I think it was the DNA talking. But I couldn’t afford to go back to school. I was living outside of DC at the time in Maryland. A google search found a program in the county where I lived that allowed you to get certified while teaching. I know what you are thinking. If a district is that desperate for teachers there has got to be a problem. And there so was. But remember that idealism thing? It asserted itself as a pretty powerful pair of rose-colored glasses. That and I had seen Lean on Me one too many times. So I became a seventh grade English teacher with no experience and high expectations.

It was awful.

I knew there would be tough kids. I did not expect to stand in front of a class in which all but five or six kids ignored my presence. I did not expect to have an administration who allowed this to happen. I did not expect to become so apathetic that I didn’t care either way.

I did not expect to fail.

By April, I quit.

I had no idea what to do. John and I were already planning on moving back to Pennsylvania that summer, but now, I had a couple of months of nothing but failure dwelling. (I know he doesn’t believe it, but thank god for John. If I hadn’t had him and the shining light of our relationship during this fiasco, I don’t know what I would have become.) Pennsylvania job hunting did not help. At all.

So when we moved (now with a spectacularly sparkly perfect engagement ring (See what I mean about him?)), I was doing double shifts waiting tables for my uncle and having almost nightly dreams about all the ways I could have made that classroom mine and blaming myself for over a hundred children’s lack of a seventh grade education.

I had made a colossal mistake. One of those mistakes that throw your life askew. (See above: waiting tables.)

Here’s the thing though. The DNA didn’t shut up. It still had a pull. I still wanted to teach. Maybe it was to prove that I could get back on the metaphoric horse. Maybe it is because we so desperately need anyone who can teach to do it. But through the generosity of my ever giving mother-in-law and the patience of my ever-giving husband, I started classes in 2005 to get my PA certification. I still spent a lot of time scared of what I was doing. What if it was just me and not the environment in Maryland? What if my genetic calling had the wrong number? When were these dreams going to stop?

Then I had a class with a really fantastic educator. During the semester, I ended up bring up a lot of the issues I had during my Year of the Failure. I don’t remember what we were discussing the night he changed my attitude, but I remember whatever was being said caused my instructor to plant a chair backwards in front of me and sit to look me in the eye. He said, “None of that was your fault.” I almost cried. It’s not like others hadn’t said it, but I hadn’t believed it. I gave up. The circumstances weren’t my fault, but I was hard on myself for the way I reacted. The dreams kept happening because I always felt there was something more I could have done which was true. Others in the school succeeded in teaching those same students. When my instructor said it wasn’t my fault, it also made me feel that I could forgive myself the apathetic shell I created to cope. I could understand that I wasn’t that person anymore. It had been a temporary survival state.

Still, I think I almost passed out walking into student teaching for the first day. Then my cooperating teacher let me take the reigns for the last lesson of the day. In an environment that was acceptable and manageable, I nailed that lesson, I have to say. I also nailed the rest of my student teaching, then substituting and finally three years as an eighth grade English teacher. Now I am the teacher of two little toddler sponges as I complete my Masters in Library Science. When they start school, so do I.

I am glad I didn’t let my failure have the last word. The DNA was right afterall.

Oldest. Shortest. Fattest. Slowest.

Yep, this post is about my triathlon. Yes, it took me a week to get to this post. It’s been a long week in which my laptop and I did not get a lot of alone time.
My indoor sprint triathlon was last Sunday. A sprint triathlon is 800 yards swimming, 12 miles biking and 5K running. I was feeling pretty good but nervous when I entered the pool area at the Y around 10:30 to wait for my 11 AM start time. There were five people in each heat. The four other people in my heat? All around 25 and in fantastic shape. They could all do flip turns in the pool. Me? I still just tag the edge. It’s a lot easier to pretend not feel competitive when there is at least one person who might be slower than you. Yeah. I don’t care how much any of us say we are only competing against ourselves and just want to finish, times don’t matter. It totally does. Walking into that heat was a little embarrassing and totally made me the one everyone had to cheer for. Sigh. But still I REALLY did want to finish and I REALLY did just want a respectable time. I had to remember that the flip side to being this post’s title is that I was doing a triathlon even though I was all those things. I was being brave and stretching myself to reach a far out there goal.

And I did it. I was the last to finish each leg, but I never stopped. And I had a better cycling time than one of the other people in my heat. I didn’t walk on the treadmill at all. I finished in under two hours, by a decent amount of time.

I am old, short, fat and slow, but I’m in pretty good shape. In good enough shape to complete a triathlon.

That’s good enough for me.