I was not very good at Spanish; and yet, I was one of my intermediate Spanish teacher’s favorites. It could have been my work ethic. Maybe it was my ability to laugh and shake off a mistake. (I couldn’t roll my r’s, which makes a language hard to not be able to do a sound.) I was a top student when it came to reading and writing.
But the encouragement he gave me usually had nothing to do with my Spanish. He enjoyed my doodles on my notes. He complimented my drawings if I had them out to show a friend. He once found a poem of mine on the floor after it had fallen out of my backpack. He asked me to show him more of my work. I was “talented,” “bright,” “creative,” “smart.” Words that were foreign to me. And of course, I also amused him.
One day we did some little exercise with new vocabulary. We had to introduce ourselves and then say who we were. I was near the end.
“Me llamo Fae. Soy la soñadora.” I spoke it with a Spanish accent, not Mexican or American.
And my teacher laughed with delight and surprise. He should have known I would come up with a word I wasn’t taught, since I’m sure he saw me using my English-Spanish dictionary during the essay portion of my test. (Not to translate words I should have already known but to add to my vocabulary. It was killing me I knew so few words and had to write essays.) But also along with all those other compliments, he often said, “Miss ——, when you are in class, you must keep your head out of the clouds.”
Years later, I have not change. Sometimes I stop and just stare as my mind recedes back into the mists to ponder problems, have imaginary conversations, build complex stories with characters, places, and plots. I call it having the busy light on. And I’m pretty sure it’s getting worse.
I counted up my lost minutes from yesterday. 2 hours. I lost two hours to the clouds. If someone said, “Hey, here’s two hours of free time,” I would jump and grab it and run.
I think I need those lost moments, but I could use them more efficiently. Like actually writing. Or doing art. Or spending time with the boys. Or something more productive and less satisfying. (Not that playing with the boys isn’t productive, but it doesn’t feel like it because it’s so fun.)
Speaking of boys, the tornadoes are home. Tornado A is probably destroying the family room. Tornado S is talking to himself as he roams the hall. Tornado E should be doing his homework, which I doubt he has even started. And I. I should be downstairs, heating wax for firestarters, painting picture frames for our craft-gift, and studying my homework.
Yeah, I know. How did I lose two hours with all that needs to be done?