Saturday, eight am. Wake up and spend about twenty minutes' side-splitting time reading David Sedaris’ Naked. Back to bed for...first pile of marking of several discrepant Creating and Presenting SACs. Riveting.
Next, cheap home hair dye to make me less like someone who should be advertising Australian Pensioners Home Insurance. My old man assists with the back of the head so I don’t end up looking like a greying Blondie. With gummed up hair, flying around my house in a protective plastic cape, get first load of washing in.
Call to my mum to arrange her eightieth birthday bash. “Oops! Gotta go, mother. Gotta rinse.”
Not a bad dye job, but, interestingly, think I’d still get the APIA gig; perhaps even more so.
The old man cheerfully accepts that he’ll be doing the Saturday shop alone, cos Fraud’s got marking, as per usual. Off he goes as I settle to start the batch of thirty-eight ‘analyses’ - I wish; most were summaries - of the language use in a Mark Seymour piece from last year’s Age. Click. That’s the washing machine door telling me the first load of washing is done. Delighted, I spring up from my desk to hang it out and get the next one in. Gives me a welcome break from the marking I haven’t yet begun. Find myself inspecting the laden apple tree while I’m out there. Using the legs of a pair of pegged up jeans as a bird hide, for about ten minutes I study a couple of king parrots eating the apples. Bit of a dawdle around the back garden. Still haven’t marked a paper, but I confess to having actually picked up the red pen and removed the lid, before replacing it, and drifting through my autumn house into the bathroom for a quick eyebrow inspection.
I’m not one for obsessive eyebrow plucking, but it seemed an opportune time to peer at them. Have to get up really close due to special combo short and long-sightedness. I have perfect visual acuity, without the aid of contact lenses or spectacles, provided whatever I want to look at is exactly four inches from my eyes. That is, my left eye. My right eye is, well, fucked. Consequently, only the left eyebrow got plucked. God knows what’s happening on the right side of my face.
Back to the marking. Think I assessed about three papers before replacing the dangling deodoriser in the dunny. Seemed like a good idea. Yes, the eyebrows were still there. Well, one of them. I checked. Really must get stuck into the marking.
The old man returns with the shopping and I’ve barely started.
And thus I proceed through my day, desperate to sweep up leaves on my back porch, to inspect grouting, to weed pot plants, to clean out the fly zapper, to read Sedaris – fluent, witty, correctly spelt and punctuated, as opposed to my students’ labours. And they really have tried hard. Their efforts exude from their awkwardly expressed convoluted prose as they dip inappropriately into their thesauruses. There are some who’ve nailed it, and I sail through these. It’s the others that take their toll. (Hey, I’m full of clichés too.)
Marking is the curse of the English teacher, but for me it’s worse because I am the queen of procrastinators. If I’d just got on with it, I’d have finished it in three hours. Instead, I took about nine.