When The Going Gets Depressing, the Depressed Go Somewhere Else

In Robert Penn Warren’s All The King’s Men, narrator Jack Burden makes a sudden trip from his home state of Louisiana to California (Long Beach) after hearing some really bad news. Warren uses the occasion to speak through Jack about the innate desire of all of us to go elsewhere, West in particular, when times get bad.

It’s time for me to go West for a while.

I’ve used this bit of R. P. Warren before in describing my own upcoming trip, but it fits so I’m using it again. Yesterday afternoon I made the Uptown trek to the APS School Board meeting, where a small demonstration was being made on behalf of my outgoing principal/boss Ivy Langan. The protest consisted of a few well-stated signs buffeted in a nasty wind, a TV news crew or two, and some elequent comments before the Board on the subject of Ivy Langan’s move from Jefferson in particular, and APS principal transfer decision-making in general.

And, overall, it was really depressing.

I don’t even know if I need to get into why it was depressing. At this point, simply saying the phrase “APS School Board Meeting” to the average Burque resident would almost certainly lead to an immediate bummed out feeling on the part of the hearer. The emotional impact of “APS School Board Meeting” is right up there with “Three Hour Traffic Gridlock” and “Clogged Toilet” in its ability to depress a person.

So, I went to the meeting, heard the public comments, watched the reactions of the Board members and Superintendent Beth Everitt, and immediately thought of Robert Penn Warren and going West to California.

It just so happens that I am about to start such a sojourn, with my first stop today up in the Sandias for an overnight hike. I plan on spending this evening somewhere near the summit of South Sandia Peak, looking down on the lights of the city while contemplating just how screwed up ABQ is, especially its public school administration. Then some time will pass, I’ll move on to other things mentally and maybe by the time I hit the Thermarest I’ll have forgotten all about APS.

And maybe that’s the point of traveling: processing and ultimately forgetting. Toward that end, I have a series of mental diversions ahead: from Los Angeles to Guatemala to Colorado 14ers to Las Vegas. I hope to come back in August laughing at myself for my preoccupation with silly things like the school district. I hope to come back not even remembering what the letters APS stand for.

Along the way, I thought I’d blog from this place and that, hoping not to tick off those working through the summer by rubbing it in that I’m on vacation. Or maybe I’ll just write a book, a novel, a novel about a guy disillusioned with politics, greed, ambition and intellectual insecurity. A book like All The King’s Men, but up-to-date and with an education focus.

There’s only one, very small, problem with such a plan. I’m no Robert Penn Warren. Oh well…let’s get out of town.

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7 thoughts on “When The Going Gets Depressing, the Depressed Go Somewhere Else

  1. No one has yet answered the question on why Ivy had to change the year before her retirement. What exactly is this supposed to prove now that Beth has stated we won’t see any results for 3 years. So how is she going to factor in Vision Quests results? Oh yes, I forgot, they don’t count. Do Over, Do Over, no one will remember in 3 years who was on first, what was on second, and who the hell cares on third. By the way APS stands for All Purpose Schools. Generic style

  2. Enjoy your time away.It’s good to “wash APS outta yer hair” every now and then.Squeaky clean feels so much better than that slick as snot feeling.:)

  3. guess we all need to escape something (like the Titanic for instance). The fact is no matter where you go, APS remains–there you are. So I wonder if there is there is any real protest left in the teachers of APS or if we cannot see our common plight at all. Have you considered joining the Union lately? Well, have a nice trip. Maybe Guatamala has a better idea for a school district. Maybe you can come back and share with the group.

  4. Hey History:Just for the record, I am a union member. Sometimes I consider my membership’s singular value to be that I can tell people I am in the union. Still, I can’t complain about the pay raises in recent months…but who am I to credit for that: Bill Richardson? The Union? Good common sense and sensibility? Regardles, all hail the Three-Tier Pay Scale!

  5. About the Union. We seem to need two different Unions. One for Elementary teachers.And one with teeth for Middle and High Schools. Until then, same ol same ol.

  6. Okay, this is where it gets confusing. Anon: I’ll bite on the Nikki Dennis comment…what do you think? What are you saying/thinking? Email me if you prefer…my confusion thanks you in advance.

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