This morning I woke up late. For me, this means that I woke up when the alarm clock told me to, not eight minutes before. When I got out of bed, my left shoulder was sore, probably due to the fact that I had spent most of my early morning dreamtime pulling books orders at the warehouse I used to manage. Once I got into the kitchen to get breakfast, I realized that I had neglected to empty the dishwasher the night before, and I would have to do that before I could put my dirty cereal bowl and juice glass in. I managed to maintain my speed and balance through these minor obstacles and finally got out the door an onto my bike to pedal to school.
When I arrived, I discovered our cafeteria supervisor, a first and a fifth grade teacher sitting on the steps outside. No one had sent a substitute custodian to unlock the school. I put down my kickstand and joined them, as other teachers, parents, and students began to join us in our wait. After more than a half an hour of pleasant morning chit-chat, our assistant principal arrived to turn us collectively loose on our day.
Unfortunately, this left precious little time to prepare for the day, and I spent the little pauses that I was afforded in the day trying to make up for the time that I had lost. That's when I started thinking about my wife's refrain, "Maybe Mercury's in retrograde." This is something that she says in hopes of giving a blanket explanation for days that go like this. Astrologically speaking (as my wife is prone), three or four times a year, if you care to watch carefully, the planet Mercury appears to turn around and go backwards for about three weeks. It isn't really going backwards. It's just an optical illusion based on the relative speeds and orbits of the Earth and Mercury around the Sun. Astrologers will tell you that the effect of Mercury retrograde is annoyance. Little things get snarled up and a low-grade frustration emerges. Anything involving communications, verbal activity, technology, short trips and journeys, primary education, and siblings can be affected.
When I came home, after having to suspend a student who had already been suspended and had returned to school just long enough to cause an already injured girl more injury, there was a sink full of dishes, and once dinner started to be prepared, the smoke alarm started to blare. I went to Al Gore's Internet to look for clues. After waiting for new anti-virus software to download and install, I was able to locate a table that told me when to expect this Mercury problem to occur. We recently experienced a little retrograde, but the next one won't happen until May. Perhaps there's another planet to blame. Or maybe Pluto is in Capricorn. Or maybe it has something to do with Uranus.