Sunday, November 28, 2010

PCP is an insane drug and should be used with extreme caution.

For some reason, PCP makes people do absolutely bat s*&% crazy things. You hear about people plucking out their own eyes or holding onto the roof of a car while someone inside drives at full speed. Hearing these stories would make a normal, lucid person shy away from the drug because of the horrific side effects. Well, I guess Donnie missed the memo because the kid smoked PCP, he smoked it frequently, and it made him do things that were off the wall.

Donnie was one of those students that you don’t ever have to meet, you just know his name. He would run the halls ever single day, high out of his mind on PCP, waltzing in and out of classrooms. No one could catch him, he was so incredibly fast.

I met Donnie because my aide would lend him money every now and again (another common practice in my school, teachers giving money to students). He was a nice kid, but he had crazy, big eyes that looked as though they were staring into an abyss of nothingness. It wasn’t creepy, so much as sad and lonely.

Donnie was much more amusing on drugs than off of them. One day I was standing in the hallway, when Donnie came barreling through the doors of the stairwell. He was running fast, as usual, but on this particular day the water fountain was an obstacle in his path. That was not a problem for Donnie as he jumped clear over the water fountain that was at least four feet from the ground. He landed on his feet in a crouched position, got back up and kept running.

My jaw must have dropped to the ground. How in God’s name could this kid have cleared a water fountain without falling and breaking his ankle? Honest to goodness, he jumped clear over the fountain and just kept running. It was quite a spectacular thing to witness. The kid was high strung to say the least.

I remember when Donnie had to stop doing drugs. It was either that or go back to jail because he was violating his probation by using drugs. Off drugs, Donnie was calm, he went to class, and he didn’t roam the hallways like the Roadrunner trying to get away from a stick of dynamite.

What was the appeal of PCP for Donnie? Did he feel on top of the world? Did it erase memories of past trauma? It was sad that he didn’t get drug treatment because the kid was clearly addicted to the stuff. Instead, he’ll probably continue to land himself in jail for violating probation because he has no treatment for his drug addiction.

I often think that in 20 years, I’m going to see a crazy homeless man wearing tin foil on his head and 5 jackets muttering something about the moon and the end of the world. I’ll give this man a dollar because I feel sorry for him, not because he asked. As I hand him the money, I’ll look into his eyes and staring back at me will be Donnie’s hollow eyes, as lonely and forgotten as they were always meant to be. Some of these kids just never had a fighting chance.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Thanksgiving Post

First, as usual, I’m apologizing to my neglected readers. I’ve had quite a busy month. I was working on a post awhile ago and scrapped it. It was a bit over the top and I suppose my blog would’ve been the wrong medium for the account.

In any event, Happy Thanksgiving. I was getting very nostalgic on the way home from work yesterday. This has been happening to me since I started teaching (never before). So, I called a few parents of former students to wish them happy holidays.

I first called Amy’s mother. She was so thrilled to hear from me. Amy is now toilet-trained! I was so excited to hear this. Of course, she was never toileted when I was teaching her, but it was nice to hear her progress. Her mother is trying to get her into a different school, which is her perpetual losing battle.

I then called Austin’s mother, who is doing well. She is renting her house out and getting her finances in order. Austin has applied for college and he’s getting his full tuition paid. This almost had me in tears. It was so great hearing that he was going to college. I told her we should get together after the New Year.

I heard from Jimmy’s mother on Sunday. She invited me to Thanksgiving dinner, which was so sweet. I had to decline, as I am going home to Delaware for the holiday. Jimmy is worse than ever, but she was calling just to talk, not necessarily about him. She’s going to be celebrating her 52nd birthday on Monday.

I tried calling Martin, one of my constantly truant students last year. He would show up to school, come to my class, stay for lunch, and leave. Because he lived close to my husband’s job, I would stop by his house on occasion to check up on him. His phone must be out of minutes because I got one of those recordings on the first ring. I hope he’s well.

I also ran into two former students coming out of work this past week. It’s always nice to see faces from my former school. With these kids, you never know if they are going to make it to see adulthood or even to 17. They live in a world that no one should have to, especially not a child.

There really is a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. I have a wonderful husband and family. I am now working at a job that I enjoy, which is a wonderful switch from working in the DC Public Schools. I am especially thankful for my students, some of which have changed my life, some of which drove me crazy. Looking back, I see now that I will always be a part of them and they a part of me. I guess teaching is important, more so than I give myself credit for…Happy holidays!