Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Trip and an E-mail

This morning I boarded a bus with twenty students from the track team and headed to Central Park. I soon found out, though, that it was the bus driver's first week on the job in New York City and he expected me to give him directions. I did not perform as well as I could have, and an hour and a half later (partially due to traffic, but admittedly also due to my continued guesses leading us to one way streets going south when we were trying to go north) we finally reached the track event.

The New York Road Runners puts together fantastic events for the kids who participate in the track program they sponsor. The kids had a great time running, got free lunch and a free t-shirt, watched dancers and danced along, then listened to Olympic athletes and marathon champions describe running and training.

The event finished up about a half hour before the bus was supposed to meet us, so I let the kids play in a grassy area while we waited. By the time we were getting ready to leave, the place had cleared out except for a few NYRR staff members. Suddenly, one of them ran up to us with two older men in tow. "Please tell us you're from Queens!" One of them said. "No, Brooklyn," I responded. One of the men said, "Good enough," then went on to introduce himself as a councilman in Queens. He got a picture of himself with children for the newspapers, my students got the opportunity to see their pictures in the paper, and we all left happy.

As we were leaving, one of my students came up and asked me about my name. I had given my shortened name to the reporter with the councilman, and he was confused about it since he had previously heard my full name. I explained it to him, then he said, "That's why I couldn't find you." I looked at him and said, "What?" He said, "When I googled you." I just stared in shock at the nonchalance with which he spoke, then tried to push it out of my mind.

We got on the bus, and I quickly realized that the bus driver had absolutely no idea how to get us back. This time, I did much better with the directions and we were back to the school in no time.

After I send the kids on their way, I checked my e-mail and found something from one of my favorite author's, Tom Robbins, in my in-box. Sure, it's just his pep talk for all the people out there who are starting National Novel Writing Month, but it was still the most exciting e-mail I've ever received (except that one that said I had been accepted into the Teaching Fellows.)

All in all, not a bad day...

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