Live Beside It, Laughing Till You’re Crying

You might have heard that Wisconsin has had quite a winter. Actually, it started out quiet and very mild and then it took a turn. We have experienced almost the entire season’s snowfall in a few weeks on top of having beyond frigid temperatures. This has resulted in six snow days. I have been teaching for a long time and we have never had as much. In fact, the number is double the maximum number of days we had in the past. What the heck. Anyway, when I have been at work, there has been a lot of discussion about what to do with our curriculum now that we have a lot less days to work with. This led to a funny discussion.

Before I dive into the details, I have to provide some context. When I first started teaching at this school, the entire United States History Team consisted of women, except one. Even our assistant principal was a woman. Over time, this slowly changed. Now, I look around and realize that I’m the only woman among all men. How did that happen?! Luckily, the men I work with are generally good guys (not that I would ever tell them that!). They are well-aware that I’m a pretty outspoken colleague when it comes to issues surrounding women’s rights and women’s voices. (I do teach Women’s Studies, after all.) While they respect that and do try to check themselves, they also cannot resist to give me a hard time every once in awhile.

Earlier this week, we went over the daily topics for the next few weeks. By doing that, we realized that Wednesday the 20th would not be a teaching day. On that date, our juniors take the ACT. While many teachers proctor the exam, the 9th grade teachers like myself have a meeting. Then, the afternoon is usually open for us to work. This led me to literally shout out in glee. Is it because I don’t want to teach? No. It has to do with perfect timing! The free afternoon will give me time to get the plans for the substitute teacher ready. It will ease my stress at work tremendously.

You can imagine my colleagues shock when they heard me squeal. They know that I’m not usually one to enjoy teacher work days. This forced me to explain that I will be gone on the 21st and 22nd while still giving minimal information about where and why I will be out. It isn’t that I’m ashamed of my Duranie activities but knowing my colleagues, they would twist it, somehow, to give me a hard time. Finally, after too many questions, I told them that I would be in Vegas for Duran. Their response was super predictable. One of them said, “There you go again. Letting your life to be dedicated by a bunch of guys,” before laughing his head off. I laughed, too, especially after I threw a pencil at him.

I wasn’t even mad by the comment but clearly he doesn’t really understand fandom or at least my fandom. Yes, the subject of my fandom is Duran Duran, a bunch of guys. That’s true. Yes, I’m traveling to Vegas to see them live. Absolutely not a lie. While it might seem like my life revolves around them, it doesn’t. While I adore Duran shows and believe that seeing them live in the best way I could spend two hours ever, they are more the excuse, the icing on the cake. Yep. Duran Duran is the best excuse I have to get together with my friends, away from home.

My Duran Duran weekends do consists of hours watching, singing and screaming during those two hour concerts. More than that, though, they consist of spending time with my female friends. There is something that is good for my soul when I am surrounded with other women. While we might have really different lives, opinions, perspectives, etc, we do all have some shared experiences simply by being women and then by being Duran Duran fans. It feels safe.

For those of you who do not know me, let me share a little secret. I very much like to be in control as it makes me feel safe and protected. When I’m around my female friends, there is less of a need for that. Instead, I can let me hair down, so to speak, and just have a good time. This is a welcome relief from the day-to-day experience of what I call “normal.” Besides, who else can I laugh with when it comes to talking about how the aging fanbase needs different touring items now that we are in our 40s? Who else can I giggle with when we begin to discuss some of the band’s more interesting fashion choices or dance moves?

So, in reality, going on tour isn’t really about five guys in a band. No, it is about having a girls weekend spending time doing what we love best.

-A

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