Oliver Cromwell came to me in a dream, and that was good enough reason to wake up. I’d been struggling all night with sleep and dreams, namely one in which I had various superpowers not unlike the kinds the characters have in the television series Heroes that we’ve been watching before bedtime, and so somewhere between the dream about stealing people’s brains to access their powers and the one about the 17th century Puritan statesman, I figured maybe my waking life would offer a semblance of normality. Of course, it only really offered a cup of instant coffee and a shower, but at least it’s better than what was going on in my head during sleep. Or maybe not. It is just 7:15; there’s a whole day ahead of me.
EDIT: It’s now 12 hours later and the only anecdote I can offer to illustrate the rest of the day was when one of my 7th grade boys came up to me, quite suddenly, as I was writing on the board, and asked with an urgency not unlike that which he would have if he needed to find out which bed in the emergency room was his mother’s, “Ms. C–what is that perfect smell in your classroom?” And then proceeded to go back to the spot in the room where he smelled it and sniff and sniff and sniff until he was nearly lightheaded and needed to sit down. I can’t tell which part of my day I liked better: waking up from a visit from Oliver Cromwell, or watching my student imitate a mutt.
EDIT 2: Remember that time when I experimented with the fermented milk drink? I happened to have some more of it in my fridge and Dennis asked about it. I wanted him to experience the flavor of it without knowing what it was. (Quick side note: my friend Rob, who I met in Mississippi and who introduced me to sushi in the summer of 1999, did this same thing to me on our first night out together. He ordered a ton of sushi stuff and then told me what it was after I ate it. So when I smiled after eating a California roll, he told me it was crab and avocado. When I thoughtfully chewed on a piece of unagi, he let me swallow it completely before telling me it was eel. I thanked him profusely for his kindness.) In the hopes Dennis would dive right in and not wait before I told him it was fermented milk, I smiled coyly and told him to drink up. Normally he eats everything, and I’m told he went bite for bite with a roommate of his in college, each taking half a sandwich that had festered away in the fridge for weeks to the point of being unrecognizable as something once edible and instead so furry that it might be mistaken for a stuffed animal . You can understand my surprise, then, when he stood in my kitchen tonight looking warily at the tiny plastic bottle of milk drink, trying to decipher meaning from its fairly scientific (i.e: scary-looking) red (doesn’t that mean “poison”?) font. “Is this a joke?” he asked me. And when he finally took a sip, I saw what must have been the same expression on my own when I first tried it months ago: at first revolted, and then after a split second, not entirely sure if the flavor is good or disgusting.
“Den,” I just now asked him as I typed this update, “How would you describe that milk drink you just tried?”
Enough said, I think.