Today is the start of my final week teaching at Heritage High School in Baltimore City. I am a little overwhelmed with emotion, but mostly just a bit depressed. I still have grading to do, students to find that need to make up their final exam, and a classroom to pack up. There will be little time to get too sentimental, which was the case for my past week as well.
Tuesday night was senior prom. I had told my students that I would wear my senior prom dress – the dress I wore to my own high school senior prom, but I needed some shoes to go with it. I planned on getting some plain white pumps or something similar. In the end, a pair of hot hot hot pink heels caught my eye when I went up to DSW and I just had to have them. I can’t say they really matched the dress, or anything I own, but my choice had been made.
I got a ride with another class advisor Ms. Thompson to the Waterfront Mariott about an hour before prom was scheduled to begin. From that moment on, the night just flew by. I help with setting up the balloons and checking of students as they came in. By the end of the night, I was just out on the dance floor having the time of my life. I even brought another dress to change into to make the dancing a little easier. Sometime between 11 and 11:30, we announced the prom court. The dj put a song on for the prom king and queen, which turned into the prom queen basically doing a strip tease around the prom king who was sitting in a chair in the middle of the dance floor. Luckily no clothes actually came off and before it turned too awkward, the dj changed the music and invited the rest of the prom court on the dance floor.
I woke up around 10:30 the next morning and picked up some friends to go skate the Reid Menzer park, a concrete park in York, Penslyvania. Some friends from Vu skateshop in Baltimore where already up there, and we had a fantastic, yet hot and sweaty session. I was skating the big two stair/gap, landing pop shuvit my 3rd try, which was a crazy surprise. My friend had his camera out, so I tried to get it on film. Instead I kept sticking it and loosing it or just screwing up, until I attempt I landed so hard on the nose of my board it snapped in half. Ugh. My skate session was over. Some little kids hounded me for my broken board, so I spent some time taking my board apart and gave them my snapped charm city consolidated deck. Being the one who drove, I had to round up my friends who were ready to stay and skate, because I was not really that content just sitting around and waiting.
Once we got back to Baltimore, though, I just wanted to keep skating. I went down to charm and ended up getting a 5-boro board because I couldn’t find anything else in my size, set it up, and skating the “manny mania” section for a little bit. After that I went down to the Bay Shore to meet up with my friend Vance for some $2 22oz beers and some steamed shrimp. I was a little nervous about the shrimp, because I’ve only eaten shrimp that you still had to peel once before, but I have to say, it was the most delicious shrimp I have ever eaten.
On Thursday, I was back in school giving my 5th period final exam. I missed the entire senior graduation rehearsal due to the final exam and then make-up final exams immediately after. I also got a few emails from my roommates because I had somehow managed to completely flake out and not pay rent. Oops. I guess I was so wrapped up in making sure I paid my first car payment and insurance payment, as well as focusing on what I needed to do in order to move to Colorado in a few weeks time, that I completely forgot about my last rent payment. In order to salvage my reputation and relationship with my landlord, I rushed out to the post office at lunch to mail off a rent check.
After work, I was planning on skating for a bit at charm, considering it was raining outside. When I got home, though, I did ended up relaxing and laying in bed for a bit, and then went and picked up some friends to go out for some beers. By the end of the night we had already been to 3 bars and then ended up back at the Friendly tavern for some 25 cent pool and $1 drafts until around 1:30am.
I woke up Friday morning after 2 hours of sleep – not a great start. Out of the 15 underclassmen in my 7th period Algebra 2 class, 3 showed up for the final exam on time and two strolled in late. I couldn’t help wishing I had stayed home and gotten some more sleep. After the exam period ended, I went down to the auditorium and helped out at graduation rehearsal. My main job was to count the two lines and make sure there was an equal amount of students in each line. It is amazing that all these seniors who are about to graduate from high school have incredible difficulty with the very first things that they learned in kindergarten: how to stand still in a still file line. Quietly.
I left rehearsal and ordered some pizza for the my students that were still in the building, and then I spent the rest of my work day sitting around my classroom with three of the sophomores that I have taught.
After work, I rode up to Vu skateshop to pick up some tickets for their 1-year anniversary party this Saturday, June 13th at Sonar. I was utterly exhausted at this point and had every intention of picking up the tickets and then going home and climbing into bed. Instead, I ended up sitting around Vu and just hanging out until around 6:30 pm when my friend Larry convinced me to go across the street to Dead Freddies for a mini-pitcher. While I nursed my pitcher, I told Larry about how one of my best friends from college, Marie, had texted me earlier to say that her boyfriend Zack (stage name – Shigeto) was playing a drum and bass/electronic show that night at some club called the Hexagon. I had never heard of the Hexagon or had ever met her boyfriend Zack, but I did some investigation into the show, and Larry was down to come along. We headed over to this mysterious club which was on Charles street just below North Ave. The club looked like a hole in the wall from the outside, and I never would have found it if it I wasn’t walking slowly up the street checking the addresses of each building. My friend Marie had told me that Zack was Japanese, so Larry and I spent the first 30 minutes or so trying to scope who we thought Zack was. The first act was a skinny white guy who mixed music on a macbook. Sort of typical drum and bass. Then Shitego took the stage. First of all, he looked so ecstatic, and it was clear that he loved his music and the experience of performing. He started some melodies on the laptop, but then throughout the show he played the drums live. It was truly an amazing show with so much energy and some funky music. After his act finished, there was a couple people that came up to him to tell him how much they loved the show, and I became nervous to introduce myself. Finally Larry basically dragged me up to him, and I mumbled something about being Marie’s friend. Zack responded with so much enthusiasm it was an incredible relief. He gave me the hugest hug and asked me questions and talked to me for awhile about his tour and his music. He took a picture of us with his phone and tried to send it to Marie, but when it didn’t go through, he just called Marie so we could both talk to her. I was so excited to meet Zack and to talk to Marie and just so happy to know that she had such an amazing boyfriend. Eventually I had to say goodbye to Zack and head home. I got home at 2am and went straight to sleep so that I would hopefully be able to wake up for graduation later that morning.
I dragged myself out of bed around 7:30am to get in the shower and leave for graduation. I got to Lake around 9am, just when the students were told to arrive. I wandered around the cafeteria where the students were getting ready, taking pictures:
The actual ceremony went smoothly, and the students were out of the building so fast I couldn’t believe it. I cried a little bit while they walked across the stage, but mostly I think I was crying for myself and not for the students. I still can’t believe that I’m really leaving this job and Baltimore. This experience of teaching at Heritage High School in Baltimore City has been one of the most influential and important experiences of my life. I will remember my students forever and the relationship that I had with them in my classroom. I just can’t even stomach the fact that I may never see some of them again, and more importantly, that I may never have the same relationship with a group of students, or people, ever again.
I left school feeling depressed and tired. I ordered some Chinese food with my roommate Holly and her boyfriend Adam when I got home and then crawled into bed to take a nap. I woke up a few hours late, ate the rest of the Chinese food, and then headed down to the farm in Edgemere. We drank my friend’s wine that he makes himself called Panty Droppers and then headed down to the basement to jam out. Even though I am an official member of the band Basement People, I rarely even try to play an instrument. This particular night I decided to pick up the electric guitar which is attached to a wawa pedal (I’m sure that it not that actual name – it’s just a pedel that makes the sound of the guitar go wawawawa) In the words of Bryan Adams, I “played until my fingers bled”. They did in fact bleed all over the strings of the guitar, so much so that the strings got sticky and hard to strum. Not that I was actually strumming – I was basically stratching the strings frantically and going overboard with the wawa pedal. But at least I contributed to the music of the Basement People.
After jamming, we came up with the idea to try to crash some random rave party called Starscape which was taking place at Fort Armstead right by the Key Bridge. Apparently the party was $55 and went from 2pm on Saturday until 6am on Sunday morning. We took my friend’s Luke’s boat and left the dock at around 11pm for a 40 minute booze cruise to Fort Armstead. As we got close, we could hear the beats of the music and could see literally thousands of people illuminated by their glow sticks walking around the paths of the fort. We pulled up and tied the boat to the dock. One guy Ed stayed to watch out for the boat and the rest of us piled out onto the dock to explore through all the 13-year old candy ravers. The entire experience was crazy and overwhelming, and I made sure to keep close to my friends. After a few minutes, Luke realized he had some missed calls from Ed, and we all started booking it back to the end of the dock, where are boat was no longer docked. There were also three guys with security t-shirts on, who were the only other people except our group that was not wearing glow sticks or sucking on passiphires (no idea how to spell that…) As I walked by, one security grabbed my bottle of beer out of my hand and threw it away. Okay, we were clearly not welcome. We saw the boat circling back just as the security guards started to confront us, asking for wristbands and claiming that we were going to front with them. One security guard grabbed Luke’s glass and tried to pour his wine out, which turned into a struggle that could have led into much worse. Luke told the guards that we were trying to leave but we were NOT going to the front. Luke is a pretty big guy and his cousin who was with us is easily 6’5″ and works on the farm – not someone the security guards were prepared to mess with. The tension remained high until the boat pulled close enough for us to jump on board and leave the crazy candy raver festival.
We laughed the whole boat ride home and then ended up drinking until the sun came up. My first pirate adventure.
Somehow I managed to not get home until 6am and climbed straight into bed. It was impossible to get real sleep with the sun up and my roommates having conversations right outside my bedroom door (my room is in the middle of their bedrooms, so this is a common interruption of sleep when I try to sleep in on the weekends) I finally pulled myself out of bed around 4pm, and finally got some food at around 5pm and then went skating solo at the foundation spot on north point. After skating for awhile, I headed down to the farm with the intention of going swimming with Vance, but instead we just walked down to the river with his cousin Vince and chilled on the dock. We came back and played horshoes (I finally got a ringer!) until the mosquitos had eaten me alive. Fantastic weekend…. and only 1 full one left to spend here in good ol’ Bmore.