I now have a dashcam, and this morning I caught this guy cutting in front of me when I believed I had the entry lane all to myself. Commuting is stressful, to say the least.
Today I kept thinking about the wonderful movie I saw yesterday at the Laemmlle Theater in Pasadena. Museum Hours is a quiet little film by Jem Cohen which slowly unfolds as it reveals its humanity and insights into both life and art. Shot in and aroiund Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, the film, to my untrained eye, appears to be a mix of both digital and 16mm film. I especially love the premise: a middle-aged woman from Montreal travels to Vienna to be with her dying cousin, who is in a coma. When not at the hospital, she spends her days wandering through the museums of Vienna; and one day she finds herself in the Breugel room at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, where an older gentleman works as a security guard. They strike up a conversation, he offers to help her around the city and translate for her, and soon an intense friendship develops. This is not a film for teenagers, but refreshingly for middle-aged people like me. Part documentary, part dramatic work, part travelogue, part art history film — and a paean to winterish Vienna — the film is a mishmash of types, but one I’m definitely glad I saw.
Saturday morning and I was up early. Here you can see the pile of manuscript — printed and handwritten pages — of a book I will finish this weekend. Outside the window to the right is a lemon tree. To the right is an unabridged dictionary which I consult regularly. And in the bottom right corner is the only paperback copy in existence of Hermann Hesse’s novel, In the Old Sun. I had the pleasure of editing it for Coyote Canyon Press, an independent book publisher who is bringing this wonderful short novel back into print next month after almost exactly one hundred years.
I ended the first week of school the way I began it. Seven in the morning and I’m standing in the parking lot of Sunny Hills High School, where I teach a 9th-grade English class. Afterwards — and this will be my routine for the rest of the school year — I got back in my car and drove to another parking lot, this one belonging to Sonora High School, where I teach four Senior English classes.
I was the only one from my department chosen to work this split shift. Clearly the district used a very specific short list of criteria: the oldest teacher in the department (check); the teacher with the longest commute (check); the teacher with the highest blood pressure and chronic insomnia (check). Hey, we’ve got our man.