Villagers used to execute and bury criminals at crossroads. Suicides were buried there, too. The idea was that the ghosts of these damned souls — and during the Dark Ages the church/courts had the power to determine your place in the afterlife (supposedly) — these damned souls would become confused at the crossroads and unable to find their way home. Who wants to be seen with an excommunicated ghost hanging around the house, right?
But I digress. I’m at a crossroads. I’ll get my teaching license at the end of the month. On Feb. 4 I’ll take the test to add English to my teaching credentials, and that’ll help me find a job, I think; not much call for high school journalism teachers. But, we’re already into the new semester, so the chances of finding a full-time teaching job right now are pretty slim. So I’m planning to do the orientation to qualify for substitute teaching this Thursday, then get some classroom experience by subbing for the rest of the semester. How is that a crossroads? I’d have to leave my part-time job at the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. It’s not much of a job — part-time for an hourly wage that’s less than I was making in machine shops in 1993, when all I had was a high school education. But, it’s easy work, I like the people I work with and … the job will still be there when the semester’s over. That’s the drawback to the substitute gig … when school’s out, there’s no one to sub for.
The unemployment I’ve been drawing since August will run out in a few weeks. That paltry weekly check has been vital in supplementing the little checks from the chamber, and my freelance writing (and I can never know for sure when I’ll get those checks). The president at the chamber has talked about me going full time there, but at the wage I’m getting it would cost $2 per hour more than I earn to put my little kids in daycare for the time when me and Kim would both be at work, so that’s not really an option.
I suspect the stress of the decision is part of the reason I’ve been having tension headaches again. Maybe I should sink my last few unemployment checks into Oklahoma’s new powerball lottery. The initial pot last weekend was $15 million and nobody won it. That’s gotta be a sign that the money is meant for me!