The Ghost Life

by Travis Barker

Tuesdays and Thursdays suck the worst. I have to get up at 5:30 to make coffee, read the sports page, walk the dog, pack my stuff and be out the door by 7:00 and hope I don’t get stuck behind a manure truck on highway 202 to get to my 8:00 College Comp class in Unity. After that class I have an hour off before the 10:00 College Comp class, which I usually spend in the library, tucked into the little table under Coleridge and Collins, grading papers. After the 10:00 it’s back on 202 to try to get to EMCC by 1:00 for Introduction to Communications, or, as it should be called, How to Write a Sentence with a Verb and Everything!

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays aren’t too bad because I only have two classes, the 9:00 ENG 101 class at University of Maine and the 12:30 Intro to Lit at Eastern Maine Community College. But Tuesdays and Thursdays definitely suck.

I mentioned this to Dave, my former Advisor. He took in air between his teeth.

“Yup,” he said. “That’s the life for awhile.”

My three parking passes give me close to the door proximity at all three campuses, which is great in the winter when it’s -5 without the wind chill factor.

I float through hallways like a ghost, drifting past the open door offices of the full-time tenure tracked with their stacks of books, leaning back in their well worn chairs. I wish I had a coffee mug sitting on top of a file cabinet like they do. Instead I have 152 papers to grade by next Monday and I forgot to pack my lunch.

In Unity, Brad wrote a story about how his father saved him when he fell through the ice when he was seven and then gave him a beating for doing something so stupid. At the U o’ Maine, Marshall managed to connect Aristotle’s model of argument with Anzaldua’s “Wild Tongue”. At EMCC, Shelly wrote a coherent paragraph. There is warmth in being able to write “Well done!” There is pride in seeing a smile.

I’m like a literary feather floating on the breeze. I have taught somewhere around 1,700 students and learned from 1,698 of them.

I’m an adjunct English Instructor.