Things I Know 155 of 365: I’m tinkering toward tinkering

My best friend Katy is studying to be a doula. If you had to click to look it up, so did I.

She’s been blogging about the process, the workshops and assisting at her first birth. I’ve known Katy for almost 12 years, and I’ve never known her to be as enamored with what she’s doing with her life as she is right now.

I know she and I are of a generation destined for many careers before retirement. In this moment, though, Katy has found a challenge to grow that brings her happiness. Writing to her last week, I went so far as to claim she’d found her bliss.

Though one of the less dominant health care fields, Katy has found contentment in a field acceptable to modern society. If you were unfamiliar with the role and function of a doula, you likely looked it up and thought to yourself some version of “Oh, ok.” In some ways, it’s a profession more traditional than becoming a doctor.

I watched a new television show tonight. I’ve been meaning to watch it since seeing its preview announcement a month or two ago. I’m a bit of a foodie. Many vegetarians are. I’m not going to go all Julie and Julia and cook my way through the Moosewood Cookbook in a year, but I like to cook, and talk about food and eat at a level that can safely be counted as above the norm.

Time permitting, I’ve been known to sink my teeth into Bravo’s marathon scheduling of Top Chef. No such marathon viewing gave me more joy than the run up to the Season 2 finale where we watched Marcel come in second to Ilan.

As much as it saddened me, it didn’t surprise me. Marcel looked at food as a playground, pushing the limits of what the judges would accept (and often what I would consider appetizing).

What made watching Marcel so enjoyable, though, was the possibility he saw as he approached the creation of a new dish.

Tonight’s new show was Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen on Syfy. (I don’t know why they spelled it that way either.) If Top Chef highlighted food as a playground, this new reality series provides Marcel with a gastronomic Disneyland. He made a 30” noodle out of jellied wine, and had me wanting to do the same.

And that’s why I love it. It’s one of those beautifully absurd first world possibilities. I sat watching tonight and thought to myself, “I love that I live in a world where someone like Marcel can make a living playing with his food in fantastic ways of which I’d never dream.”

I wonder how much I encourage this in my classroom, how much I allow for words and ideas to be the toys of my students’ intellectual playgrounds. I’ve certainly shed the subconscious urge to shape all students of English as though they’re to become professors, but I don’t know how far I’ve moved to making words the crayons their linguist inner children want to doodle with.

It’s something to work play toward.

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