10³ (My 1,000th Post and Running)

Jose Vilson Jose

Muhammad Ali, Running

Last night starts off with you telling the world that you have no idea what you’re going to write for your 1,000th post. Do you bunt it and just write “This is my 1000th post?” Do you try to hit a homerun with a colossal montage of highlights and achievements since the first time you ever attempted hitting “Publish” on your WordPress screen?

No. You post incessantly on your two Facebook pages and your Twitter page, play with your son, talk to your lady, and try to ignore the itch of the inevitable.

One of your Facebook statuses mentions voting, and one of your former and very disaffected students decides to re-send you information about Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, re-re-sends it to you over IM, and charges you with voting for Barack Obama, a sin amongst the conspiratorial YouTube scholars. Of course, you reply that you’ve been doing the “radical thing” since he was still in fourth grade, but that doesn’t work. So, the latest radical in you decides to out-warp him with some “How do you know Facebook doesn’t already work against you?” voodoo that quells Paulites, but you pray he finds some solace in calling every rich, popular Black man related to Obama in terms like “Illuminati.”

You know the candidates running quite well. America’s running right along with them, seemingly tracing their every move.

You close the laptop, change your son’s diaper, calm him down by singing “Ohhh, sometimes, I get a good feeling, yeah.” He replies in kind with an eight-tooth grin and a series of little kicks. You wonder when you’ll get to the post. You never do. Your family takes your normal posting time. It feels good. You put your son to sleep, and soon you follow.

You wake up the next morning, knowing the tenuous changes already happening at your school, and the ways they’ve already affected you in the past month. You pace, you shower, you dry, you stare at the mirror, and a man with a goatee-curly-stubble combo stares back at you. You tell the image, “It’s going to be OK today.” You shake yourself, you get dressed, you eat your Lucky Charms, and you kiss everyone goodbye.

Before you leave, your babysitter yells in her Dominican Spanish, “Oh, and don’t forget! You need to vote! Because that Romney is just no good!” That’s school, then vote, then home. Got it.

You’re relieved you had nothing to prepare, but now the weight that once held your tongue has now been lifted. Honesty ensues. Too much at some moments. You recoil. You tweet and tweet what you would otherwise write out because it stops you from writing what you’re really feeling at the moment.

Your colleagues are a family. You observe the nature of a staff that helps your fellow math teacher in need after Sandy’s disaster. She cries in front of our staff. You sit still, observant of the human heart and all its splendor.

The A train accommodates you from 200th St. – Dyckman St. to West 4th Street, about 13 stops, and the F train holds you for another. Kendrick Lamar’s “The Art of Peer Pressure” provides your soundtrack for your run to the vote:

I hope the universe love you today
‘Cause the energy we bringing sure to carry away
A flock of positive activists and fill the body with hate
If it’s necessary
Bumping Jeezy first album looking distracted
Speaking language only we know, you think it’s an accent …

The school looks like an organized block party. People from all across your district line up to get frustrated by the register, fill out their pseudo-secret ballot (“Y’all know I’m voting down one line!”), and scan it into a pretty electronic machine. You rush out, break out into a semi-eloquent Spanish to give a few senior citizens directions to the polls, drop by your mom’s crib, thank God for the heat finally arriving in the projects, grab a cup of Bustelo, receive the usual bendicion from your mom as you run out the door, hop out to the bus and ride the waves of people into the uptown 6 train to Harlem.

You’re fidgety. Did you make the right choice? How will your son be affected by your choices behind the metal stands and the bubbles you filled in?

Not now.

You get home. You swung around Manhattan in a matter of two hours on bus, foot, and train. Your son’s in the playpen, your babysitter grinning because you got a chance to vote. You toss your son up in the air, catch him deftly, spin him, and then remember he just ate a few minutes ago.

You sit. You stretch your left foot. The one with the aching arch. Your subconscious tells you to be a man. Your other consciousnesses tell you you already are. You wait on your post again. You let Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser recap sports stories in their raspy fortissimo. You eat your rice and beans. You wait for her to come home. She ponders aloud about race relations in classrooms. You hold your urge to go to the bathroom because what she says matters.

You pull out your MacBook Air, and the first thing you want to type out is:

“After 1000 posts and you’re still reading my thoughts. Lucky me.”

You’re encouraged.

“Here’s a list of 10 things I never got to talk about …”

Then you’re discouraged.

“You know, ever since I started writing here, I’ve gotten a lot of haters, even people who I thought were friends. Here they are, by name …”

Then you grow up.

“When I first started this, I thought of blogging as a hobby. Maybe I’d have an audience of a few friends. You changed that, so thank you.”

You never ran very well, but you always left like you had to run for something. Not ever away from it, but for it. You keep running. You keep typing. You cramp up. You keep going. Your lady and your baby sleep in each other’s arms after his last feeding of the night. You’re still running. In place.

You’re not really going anywhere. You’re only practicing.