Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Riddle Me Where I'm Meant To Be

On the other hand, I know that I'm meant to be here right now. Not for much longer I hope. But the series of circumstances that landed me down here and in my current job are way beyond coincidence or pure chance.

I almost died. You already know that, and I'll post more about that another time.

When this current job became available, everyone said I "didn't have a snowball's chance in hell'. Not because I was unqualified. Because it's a union job in a very tough union area. Unions run on seniority. I had none. In fact, I just qualified to become a member! Yet I landed this position. I handle the daily operations for a
large Media Center

I like the job. I wish I could work there, then magically step out the door and be home on the Island. The challenges are enormous and fascinating. My school is JUST fifth and sixth grade, and there are 1200 students. It's designed to draw kids in and make them want to be in a library. Our students are mostly from lower income families. Not welfare poor, but not too far away. (Of course nowadays that describes us all).

I have my only little 'group' that touch base with me each day. The kids need someone they feel safe to talk to. Right now the kids are abuzz over the Black History Month program. Rehearsals and lots of hard work have been going on all year. The program is tomorrow, it will be fun to see the kids put on their show.

However, the role that has made me hugely popular is that of 'The Riddler'. (Don't be jealous Rick). As anyone who knows me knows, I like riddles but I'm not great at solving them. I like the idea that they get the kids to look at things a little differently. Shortly after I started I suggested the idea to my boss and she gave it her enthusiastic support.

On Wednesday (tomorrow) the signs go up and the riddle 'forms' appear. All day Wed. and Thurs. students will fill in their guesses and drop them into the highly decorated box. On Thursday night I take it home, weed through 300-400 entries, and then divide them into 3 piles. (3 lunch hours, 5 winners drawn for each lunch hour). Winners get a free Lounge Pass for a week. It's a big deal. Their daily lunch is to sit in the cafeteria. They don't leave. They can't sit with their friends. There is lots of background yelling while teachers and aides try to keep all the kids under control (and it's not an easy task). There are some library passes available for lunchtime but that's not a Lounge Pass!

That lounge area is actually the "Boys and Girl's Club" after school. It has ping pong and pool and Foosball tables and lots of other stuff too. Of course only a small number of entries win a pass. That's part of the fun. But they truly seem to love the challenge too. I've had them tell me 'they won't be able to sleep tonight if I don't tell them the answer...how cool is that?...

Anyway, tomorrow's riddle is: "What has rivers without water, cities without houses and forests without trees?"

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