Two Concussions in a Day

Today I half witnessed two concussions. And my half witnessed, I mean that I witnessed the immediate aftermath, but not the actual concussions itself, because I happened to be meters away from the incidents - though I heard the loud accompanying thumps. Prior to today, I don't think I witnessed anything remotely close to concussions before, and it's strange to think of two of them happening in my vicinity within a span of 6 hours.

The first concussion was when I was at work. Today I had an in-school suspension assignment, and I was sitting in a room with my student during class transition time when I heard a loud thunk and yelling. I commented to student that it sounded like something was being murdered outside. When the crazy sounds still persisted for about a minute, I opened the door to look and saw a bunch of students gathered outside excitedly, and saw that the source of the commotion was a really violent fight between two female students. A teacher was already there, but the girls still persisted.

I didn't know what to do, and when I turned back I saw my student craning his head out of the door trying to look, but he didn't manage to see anything as it was around the corner. We went back in the room and I closed the door, but when the yelling was still there a minute later, I went out to try and disperse the watching students and a student told me, "hell no, I ain't missing this." The status of the fight looked exactly the same as it had earlier, and the same female teacher was still trying to break it up, while more teachers came. I went back to the room, and after about another minute the chaos died down, and I opened the door to see one of the students still agitated and shouting as she was led away.

Later the teachers in the staff room were talking about the fight. Apparently one of the students said "fight me" to another student she already had problems with, and the other student dutifully grabbed her head and slammed it against the wall. Obviously the student who had her head slammed into the wall was fine, because she was well enough to continue the fight.

The second concussion happened when I was taking the M15-SBS bus home. I boarded at 57th Street, and at 50th Street when the bus was stopped to let passengers get on and off, we heard a loud thunk and noises of a commotion. A kid standing next to me said, "Is it a fight? Sounds like a punch." This set off the old ladies near us as they got confused and somehow word got relayed that someone had fallen. An old lady then said, "that sounded more like a head hitting something." Then a few passengers ran to the front and told the bus driver, "Someone fell, don't move the bus," and I wondered if someone had fallen under the bus.

Again I didn't know what to do in the situation. I felt bad for whoever had fallen, but I didn't want to be a rubber-necking bystander as it wasn't like I had any medical training and could help. Also I wanted to go home, and felt bad for thinking that. I didn't know whether I should get off the bus and stand around or stay on. Either way was equally useless, but I figured at least by staying on the bus I wouldn't be blocking help or gawking. After about a minute word spread on the bus that it was being taken out of service cause of the accident, and we all got off. Outside, I saw a white-haired lady on the ground, her grey handbag propped up under her head as people tried asking her questions, but no one seemed medically trained.

Just as another M15-SBS appeared in the horizon, a woman in scrubs and with a stethoscope around her neck came running from the South and identified herself as someone who worked nearby. This was comforting, and around 80% of the passengers on the bus I was on got on this other M15-SBS, as about 10% stayed behind with the lady and 10% for some reason were still on the old bus. And so off we went, crammed into this other bus, with some passengers telling the passengers on this bus about what had happened.

It has been a very peculiar day, and one in which I wished I could do more instead of standing by helplessly. But I guess everyone has their own niche in life, and mine isn't being big enough to pull apart students (which I'm sure is against the law) or knowing what to do when someone gets injured.

Ceiling

On Sunday after coming back from a night in NJ with my Aunt and Uncle, Jon and I were greeted with a huge mess when we opened the front door. My first thought was that Saffron had destroyed something, but then it immediately went to "what kind of white paper do we have so much off that he would destroy it like this?"

It turned out of course, to be something far beyond Saffron. The floor was wet and our clothes in the cupboard were wet too. The ceiling light looked like it was filled with dirty brown water that threatened to spill out. The bathroom floor had dirt all over it, like there was a flood that had subsided and left silt in its place, but the tiles were still wet. The toilet seat was covered with droplets of dirty water, and the Archie comics that were on top of the toilet cistern were wet too.

When we called the Superintendent, he said, "Oh yes, the kitchen pipe of the apartment above yours burst."

So Jon and I ended up spending the better half of the rest of the day, from noon when we came home till bed time, cleaning up the mess and feeling frustrated. I tried my best, but the two pairs of shoes I left out that got caught up in the mess were ruined. Jon tossed the pair of shoes that he left out that had gotten drenched too. As fate obviously still has it out for us (to an extent: our material losses were less than $150), Sunday, Monday and today have been humid days filled with rain. The apartment has a funky smell to it, and the floor is still damp and cold to the touch. Online it says that you need to hire a professional drying crew when this happens, but I highly doubt my avaricious landlord will do anything about it. Sigh.

Meanwhile, every few hours, another piece of the ceiling falls off and the floor becomes coated in a powdery substance that is invisible to the eye.

Wedding Nightmare

I had a nightmare last night about my wedding. I dreamt for some reason that it was less than 24 hours away, and that I had neglected to check my wedding outfit and in fact only had a veil, and no wedding dress. Then I realised that I had forgotten to order the dresses for my bridesmaids, so they had nothing to wear (this part might be realistic, I'm still procrastinating on ordering their dresses). Of course I felt very stressed in my dream from all the running about, and even when I woke up and realised it wasn't real I still feel the physiological signs of stress.

This dream has made me feel annoyed because: 1) since when am I so unprepared for an event of that sort? 2) I don't like feeling stressed 3) I don't think I'm the sort of person to stress out over a wedding.

In other news I am still working on a paper that is due for my last class of the semester. I have found it considerably harder to juggle part-time work (as a sub nonetheless) and school, and have found myself slightly clueless at the deadlines (so ok, maybe point 1 is becoming true). So after today, my first semester at Hunter College will be over, and I'll have a break of about a week before Summer classes start - joy.

Spills and Thrills

Yesterday after lamenting about my adolescence, I made a fool out of myself while at school and ended up feeling very much like a youth again. It was a very strange and startling feeling, and one obviously not very welcome.

On my way to the subway, I stopped by Dunkin Donuts for an iced tea for class. The last time I had bought an iced tea, I ordered the sweetened version and found that it was far too sweet for my liking, and so this time I tried asking for 'half sweet and half unsweet', to the confusion of the cashier (I assumed the iced teas had been pre-mixed in some sort of dispensing cooler). The medium-sized iced tea I received this time however was not sweet at all, and had the slightest hint of bitterness. I felt disappointed and wanted more sugar.

When I got to campus, I headed straight to the cafeteria as I wanted to eat chicken fingers as a snack before class. After obtaining said chicken fingers I was headed to pay when I noticed the sugar, so I stopped and popped open the cup cover and poured some sugar in, before continuing to the cashiers. I must not have fixed the cup cover back tightly however because after setting the cup down on the counter for the condiments and utensils, I accidentally knocked against the cup and sent the entire contents spilling all over the counter.

The first thing I did to react to the situation was to go, "oh shite." The girls next to me who were taking their utensils looked and then moved away quickly. It was a very New York sort of reaction. I frantically leaned over to grab as many napkins as I could, and while I was between grabbing napkins and soaking/scooping up the icy mess, a sort of good samaritan appeared and threw a bunch of napkins on top of the spilled mass before getting utensils for himself and moving away.

As I stood there trying to clean up the mess, I felt like such an unspeakable idiot again. Not only had I made a mess for everyone, but I had done it in an extremely high volume area. Everyone passing though the cafeteria would stop at that counter to pick up items. I felt like I wanted to sink through the floor and disappear. Instead, I spent what must have been the longest few minutes of my life cleaning up that mess, feeling myself go hot all over from the shame and embarrassment. The emotions and experience felt exactly like what I remember in bits and pieces from my adolescence. And boy was there ALOT of liquid to clear, as medium-sized anything in the US really makes large in all other parts of the world.

I think next time I'll just deal with either an unsweet tea or a super sweet tea.

Adolescent Development

I'm taking a course in Adolescent Development this term, and the instructor assigned Adolescence by John Santrock as the textbook. Reading the book makes me feel kind of weird inside as it makes me recall all the relationships, emotions and experiences I felt during my adolescence, and it invariably (also perhaps coloured through my pessimistic adult lens) makes me feel a knot of something negative in the pit of my stomach. It makes me think of how unhappy I felt in my adolescence, especially with regards to my wild feelings and emotions, and how sad I just felt most of the time. And how on some bad days, how those experiences and feelings have probably leeched over into my adulthood and manifested in similarly negative ways.

A few years ago when I was teaching, one of my students asked me if I ever wanted to be a teenager again, and I replied that you couldn't pay me a million dollars to go through it all again. Yet here I am, reliving through all the emotions again as I pore over this silly textbook that has way too much text (I could dedicate a whole rant to the deficiencies I see in American textbooks), with all sorts of thoughts churning repeatedly in my mind and my heart to no real conclusion. Was there really any way I could have escaped these outcomes? Or was it predetermined by the genes in me, and buoyed by my inevitable environment? Who knows. All I know is the way I feel when I think about this topic and the overarching emotion I recall from my adolescence.

Blizz-Not

There was supposed to be a whopper of a Blizzard today, and school was cancelled all around as a precaution. Last night when it rolled back 10:30pm, then 11pm, and finally 12am when I decided to go to bed, I saw no flakes and felt a sinking feeling in my heart. Sure enough, I wake up this morning to find this Blizzard is more of a Blizz-Not, BOOO!

Needless to say I'm disappointed. The best Blizzard title still goes to the one in Jan 2016, when I was in the Bronx with Jon. 

Skills

Bah, I think when I have a child I'll really need to stress the importance of marketable and transferable skills. The job market isn't a very nice place at all.

Shit Show

I'm not sure there ever has been another country on earth in recorded history, that has ever gone downhill so fast, save for being invaded by a vastly technologically superior country. Things are all going to hell in a handbasket, and its still just the first month of the year. Ho boy. Damn do I dislike this country more and more, day by day. 

School Anxiety

Today's the first day of my classes at Hunter and I feel anxious. One is that I haven't had anything remotely resembling a schedule since May last year and feel worried about time management, and the other is that I'm starting a program that (appears to me at least) to be removed from the usual purely academic and international setting and instead one is that is very local and in a culture I'm not fully familiar or comfortable with. For instance today, the first class, will be held at the campus school rather than the main Hunter campus itself. The idea of attending a lesson in a location like that makes me feel a whole bunch of irrational worries, beyond the usual "what if I turn up and no one else is there?"

Urgh.

Nutella Blondie Brownies




The last time I remember baking was more than 10 years ago [Though as I continued writing I remembered baking blueberry pie when I was 17-18 years old]. It was when I was still attending church in Singapore as a teenager, and I wanted to impress the people in my Sunday School class with my baking skills. I was probably 15 years old. I was going to make muffins from a recipe in my Home Economics textbook, a recipe that I had actually made a few times before to tasty perfection. 
Problem was this time, I had forgotten to get fresh milk. Instead I used powdered milk as a substitute and hoped for the best. When the muffins came out, they were rock hard. I don't know why I didn't abandon the idea after that, but still persisted and brought them to church. Sure they were hard, but they still tasted good to me, and so I naively thought that was good enough, They're like crunchy cookies, I thought. 
Boys being boys of course, they made fun of my muffins and talked about how they were as hard as rocks. Although they were my friends and I knew it was good-natured ribbing, I still felt hurt. I felt like I had failed and had embarrassed myself in front of the people I most wanted to impress (ah, I never want to be a teen again). 
I never made that recipe again. And for that matter stopped baking completely for the next few years until a friend went gaga over blueberry pie and I made it for her when I realised it couldn't be found anywhere for purchase in Singapore. The second time I made the pie for some other friends, it was so goopy it collapsed, and I lamented my baking skills once more.
Flash forward to this week, when I was stretching in the gym after a run and looking at reddit as I cooled down. Someone had posted a photo of brownies he had made and someone else attached a link to the recipe. My first thought when I saw it was "Hah! Baking! Never going to do that again." and I looked at the recipe out of curiosity, and I realised it didn't look very hard at all and I already had half of the ingredients on the list. I realised I could actually make it, and that this might be one of the last times where I had the chance to be able to spontaneously bake anything on a weekday. 
And so when I went grocery shopping afterwards (a planned trip), I started gathering the items on the list. Things like soft brown sugar (never heard of this before this recipe), vanilla essence and baking powder. When I got home I realised I didn't even have a whisk, so I instead used a wooden spatula. The recipe called for piping out the dough and nutella, and I instead used my (very clean!) hands and the back of a spoon. 
When the baking was done, I anxiously pulled the tray out of the over and sliced into it. Then I popped it into my mouth, and it was good. I felt happy and relieved. And then I sliced it and distributed it into 3 containers, and told Jon to bring 2 containers to work the next day when he got home from work. Because in baking it, I had seen exactly how much sugar and butter went into it, and felt slightly sick at the thought of how unhealthy it was, and wanted to spread the unhealthiness around, hahaha.
So here is my tale of baking again, after several years.

News News

Just read a news report that a tailor, who runs a shop on a street parallel to the one I'm living on, was stabbed several times and robbed of $80 (!!!) just yesterday around noon. I remember hearing a lot of sirens around that time and wondered what was happening.

Reading about it just makes me feel really disappointed as a whole about the state of the world. 

A Rare Religious Post

After an emotionally trying week (wedding prep + MIL), stepping into church this week felt like a welcome breath of fresh air. For the past few months I've been dropping by Madison Avenue Baptist Church whenever Jon is unavailable on Sunday mornings (it is also conveniently a brisk 10 min walk from my current place), and have so far found the church extremely agreeable with my existing notions of Christianity (acceptance of LGBTQ+, political and social activism). The Rev in charge, Susan Sparks, typically delivers hilarious and heartfelt sermons that I love and enjoy, and today I was looking particularly forward to seeing her and listening to her sermon.

This week however, the Rev was nowhere to be seen. Instead it was the Associate Pastor Rev Hutto who was going to lead the entire service, and I felt the slightest twinge of disappointment. Either way, I was still happy to have made it to service this weekend. The sermon Rev Hutto delivered this week however, was beautiful and amazing, and very befitting of the whole political situation swirling around the presidential inauguration.

Rev Hutto started off by saying that he originally had another sermon planned, but had decided that he need to address the events over the last 48 hours: namely the inauguration, counter-protests, and most prominently, the Women's March. The scripture reading was Exodus 1:8 to 2:10, and Rev Hutto's sermon spoke about how biblical society, or even society at large today, constantly ignores, undervalues and underestimates women, but that God uses this underestimation to still carry out his plans. It was a beautiful sermon. And I'm the type that usually nods off during sermons (though admittedly that hasn't yet happened since I've started attending this church).

So here it is: my first religiously themed blogpost since I've started writing this thing.

A podcast of the sermon can be found here. Look for the sermon on 22nd Jan, 2017. 


 

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