INTERNET. Five weeks today I leave Rome. Five! 35 days. I’m not even sure how that happened, except that maybe I am because evidently the time has flown in a mass of crying in public over books, and eating all the things, and dating inappropriate men because that is the story of my life, and oh hey! Tradgi-comedy! I’M OVER HERE!
The time also flew by doing things like farting in my Pilates instructor’s face. Some of you have asked if I went back. The answer is no. No, I didn’t.
It’s probably for the best that I am going, since students are rapidly finding this blog. The first time I walked into class and an adult student said, “And so, what about your website?’ I turned purple and swallowed hard and said, ‘My website?’ I think my reaction was indicative of a guilty conscience, but it turned out that she had merely remembered that I had talked about writing online at a Media Group my friend ran. She was just being polite.
Two weeks ago another grown-up student said, ‘I have been reading your stories.’ Only this time the student had actually been reading about my vagina and poo and loathing of their home city, and two days later another student told me the same thing. I think I’ve got about 5 weeks before my boss tells me it is game over because I am predominantly the face of the Children’s Department and it might make parents uncomfortable to know, well, pretty much everything about me, BUT HA! By that time I’ll be on a train north to go spend the summer teaching people how to be teachers and so see ya, ROME!
Related side-note: when teaching teachers how to be exactly that, I must cover the following-
Rule one: don’t let students add you on Facebook.
Rule two: Because like, d’uh.
When I first moved here it is unthinkable to me that I stopped blogging in case what I wrote would affect my position as a teacher. And then, even when I resumed sharing stories about THIS FUCKING CITY I blocked any trace of it from colleagues on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and whenever somebody asked me about the book I am working on I would wave a hand dismissively and vaguely say, ‘A comedy.’
The first time I told a colleague it was actually about my vagina she shrugged and said, ‘I’m about as unsurprised as I was when Ricky Martin came out as gay.’
Compare this secretive I-just-got-a-proper-job behaviour to Tuesday afternoon, wherein I had three colleagues reading through the first chapters of that manuscript about my vagina, openly discussing the merits various synonyms I have adapted for the purpose of variation, and laughing out loud about stories of burning my minge in a tancab and seducing near-on minors for sport.
You could say I’ve come a long way in terms of what I reveal about myself to the world.
And that’s the funny thing. I’m happy for strangers to read about me on the internet, and people I already know to read me on the internet, and what I write on the internet is exactly what I say and do and as behave in actual day-to-day reality (I KNOW.) But there is a gap with people I meet offline for the first-time and telling them about what I do.
We had a new teacher at school start yesterday, and she overheard a conversation about my manuscript and she said, ‘Oh! You write! Wonderful. What is your book about?’
And I smiled, and the colleagues around me laughed, and I said, whilst waving my hand dismissively, ‘It’s a comedy.’
Then I took a breath and declared, right there in the staff room, ‘It’s a sex memoir.’
And after I said that I knew: I totally have to leave before I get fired. I’m a kid’s teacher, for GaGa’s sake.