6:37am. Still dark. At wake-up, my watch flared 5:07am. Still in MN-time. Got up and realized it was an hour later. Thank god grateful. Less peeved with the dog for cage pawwanting out.

Social media fast yesterday. Went well. Carved out more calm. And more time. I twice noticed myself staring at the phone, purposeless, semi-bored, poised to scroll stalk. A few minutes ago, I checked TheAltDadDiary likes, comments, and reach just now. 59—the lowest yet. Is that some mischievous Facebook algorithm that punishes non-users? Or did y’all take a break, too?

Before I ran errands yesterday, I FaceTimed Mouse and the Peanut. The peanut is a double-espresso of joy. (The temptation is to add in Mouse for equal love distribution, but ask Kate and I think she’ll say the baby is #1 for her too. Or at least there’s different gradations of #1.)

The floorboards at the yoga studio are still warped, getting worse. Like tectonic plates, converging, making mountains. The owner says he knows someone who can fix it. For right now, the pieces of duct tape keeping the mountain tops together will have to suffice.

Post office, Aldi, school, yoga, woods. Didn’t heartburn miss the peanut until the very end of yoga, at “happy baby.”

Last night, I dinner slurped steaming butternut squash soup and Stress Relief tea. While I wrote. Night-writing is a rare treat. Going back to my roots. Here’s what I came up with. I was looking ahead to this morning. When I resume teaching English 101 at Georgia Military College. The big picture is this: when the English professors themselves start doubting the merit of their classrooms, then the bubble is about to burst. A new more meaningful model is needed. Which is why I'm intent on starting an alternative community/outdoor/farm school for the little peanut (and for me) when we move back to the land of 10,000 frozen lakes.

In a few hours (I anticipated an AM time of publication), I’ll have a classroom full of college students waiting for me to say something worth their time. Worth their backs being slumped over in rigid metal desks. Worth their student loans. Worth their lungs breathing hyper recycled air—and I mean both literal air, and the mumbo curriculum borne in 1800 to ensure standard knowledge amongst factory workers, amongst factotum, amongst slave brain humanoid pre-cursor robots.

In a few hours, I’ll have a classroom full of college students waiting for me to say something worth their time. What can I say? What can I teach? Or pretend to teach?

Obvious Answer #1. The syllabus. The five paragraph essay. How to cite a source using MLA. The personal narrative. The difference between past tense and past perfect. One inch margins and double spacing. A comma goes here. Not there.

But I don’t have the heart to keep singing the same song. Not when I know damn well that the parade is leading nowhere. And by that I mean, the tasks we’re completing are overwhelmingly busy work. Which means the “skills” I’m asked to teach are valuable in the academic game, but nowhere else.

In a few hours, I’ll have a classroom full of college students waiting for me to say something worth their time. I could crack my knuckles and say: at least at McDonalds or the standard minimum wage food-service schtick, you’d learn that the kids from Mexico here without papers but working their asses of are still good kids. You’d learn that empathy. Which is more than most of us. And that everyone goes out back to “take out the trash” to smoke weed and it’s fine even though it’s illegal because they’re not hurting anyone and it keeps the smile on until their shift is over. And you’d learn that the Government is some almighty entity, far away, like God, who permits you to ask for help, but rarely answers.

In a few hours, I’ll have a classroom full of college students waiting for me to say something worth their time. I could do the Socratic thing and stroke my feeble chin hair and throw out some questions. Like: How long does it take the average American to feel like their job matters? And I could do what professors always do: answer their own question with a pompous assertion that doesn’t even answer the question. I could say: “The shiny high-fructose corn syrup answer is patience, hard work, all is coming, enjoy the process.” Which is true. I could ask: “How long does it take to feel like you’re someone that matters? Are we the summation of what we do?” I could confess that I don’t have the answer. That I’m legitimately asking the question.

In a few hours, I’ll have a classroom full of college students waiting for me to say something worth their time.

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