Saturday, March 19, 2011

eating and pooping

Another problem with my new work schedule is that it allows no time for dinner: I come into the office around 1:30 to prep, work straight from 3:30 to 9:30 with only five-minute breaks between classes, then head on home. So-- when to eat? I'm old enough to know the quirks of my own digestive system: it's usually six hours after I eat a meal that I experience the need to visit ol' Uncle John. This means that eating at noon-- before I leave for work, will entail a poop run sometime during my work hours. The office is too cozy for that: kids use the lone bathroom all the time, and no adult staffer would ever drop a load in there, for fear of being branded a turdmeister. So when I wake up in the late morning, I don't even think about eating; dinner has to be after 9:30.

I accepted two slices of haemul pajeon from a supervisor yesterday, and spent the evening worrying whether that might produce intestinal chaos. Luckily, it didn't. Now, the goal is to keep from overeating at night: eating right before sleeping is never a good idea. Then again, I usually stay up beyond 3am, so if I eat around 11PM, I'm not sleeping immediately afterward.

Back in the 1990s, when I was a fresh-faced French teacher, I remember a day where I was passing out copies of a worksheet for my kids. While I was standing next to one girl, my stomach let out a loud, long gurgling noise. She immediately looked over at her friend and shared a not-so-secret smile. I nodded and said something vague like, "Yeah, yeah-- that's right," as if I'd deliberately timed my gurgle for that moment. Now, sitting in front of groups of three students, I worry that my empty stomach might decide to do what it did in the 90s. Kids in a learning situation will often latch onto irrelevancies instead of concentrating on the task at hand, and my stomach could easily become that sort of a distraction.

It's a biological Scylla and Charybdis: a full stomach carries with it the danger of an in-office poop run; an empty stomach, meanwhile, brings the threat of gastric thunder.


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