Although it's only December 6th, the pressure is mounting. It's nearly the end of the collegiate semester, so there are final lessons, final performances, and final exams. I haven't seen my college kids yet this week -- that comes tomorrow -- but I'm fully prepared for the usual panic mode. This is sometimes replaced by the overconfident bluffers ("I can get it done!!") who would, in fact, be entirely successful if a time machine was invented, giving them several more days in every hour. Yes, I said that right. Sprinkle in a liberal dose of whatever-itis (laryng- tonsil- bronch- ) and it's a typical December. I always hope for something a little calmer and perhaps more prepared, but it usually doesn't happen.
It's also the final two weeks of the 2010 high school year. This means
December is like living life on a curve, and usually we're going too fast. You know it's coming, you see the signs, you read the warnings, and you promptly ignore them all until it's too late. Slam on the brakes. Slow it down. Promise yourself you'll pay more attention next time. Maybe you do (once or twice), but then, more often than not, it's back to speeding, swerving, braking and promising to slow down all over again. And don't even ASK us to downshift in order to conserve what we have. It almost seems like an insult.
What breaks the cycle? Short of a burned-out clutch or worn-out brakes, I'm really not the one to ask, since it seems as if year after year I'm the one in the driver's seat doing 95 mph. I think the trick, much like driving, is to slow down before the curve. Once in the curve it's almost too late, meaning you have to do some last minute maneuvering just to survive. But preparing for the curve before you actually get there allows you the opportunity to enjoy the road before you and look forward to what's around the next curve.