There is a scene in the movie The Hangover that stopped me in my tracks. It is not one of its more notorious scenes involving tigers, drugs, or yanking a tooth out. It is a fast moment at the very beginning of the movie and it left me laughing until tears ran down my cheeks. Bradley Cooper‘s character is rushing out of school having taught a full week of classes. His wild bachelor weekend is about to commence when a “nerdy” little student rubs up along side him and starts “Mr. Wenneck, I was….” before he can stammer out the request, Cooper turns his flat hand to face the boy stating, “It’s the weekend. I don’t know you. You don’t exist.” Commence laughing hysterically. It is so funny because I would NEVER say this, but sometimes when the clock strikes 3:25PM on Friday, I wish I could flip the switch from teacher mode into whatever it is I am on the weekend and run down the hall to my car.
I love my job but after pouring out my empathy and passion all week long, I am utterly drained and dragging on Fridays. The last thing I want to do after classes on Friday is facilitate an afternoon activity. Alas, this is my destiny. So there I was today changing in the bathroom to teach Pilates to my 12 students in the afternoon program while envisioning this particular scene from The Hangover. As I pulled on my yoga pants, grabbed my mat, and walked to the room we transform into a “yoga studio,” I knew I had failed to fire up the Bradley Cooper in me.
I stretched on the floor with the students and before long, I felt fully present with them. Breathing heavy, stretching, and doing slow flow Pilates exercises is a sure way to reboot a LONG Friday afternoon. With ten minutes left to the class, one of my ninth grade boys came in and asked if he could hang out in the room while he waits for his carpool. Since it was Friday, I agreed that he could join us. Announcing to the Pilates kids that “in 4 minutes it will be time for Savasana,” the ninth grade boy got up and disappeared. I did not think much of it, perhaps his carpool arrived, and continued to lead our last exercises.
As we closed our eyes for Savasana, the ninth grade boy returned with his guitar. He sat down on the floor, dimmed the lights, and began to play Blackbird by the Beatles. It was such a beautiful, random moment. Instead of laughing hysterically from a cynical scene about teaching, I started to cry totally overwhelmed by how special this school is, how special these students are, and how I am so lucky to work each and every day with these thoughtful, messy, curious, funny, sweet and so-much-more kids. Pilates on a Friday afternoon was the best thing I could I have done before heading out to the weekend. Being appreciative even when you are tired is always a good reminder. Happy Weekend!