Patient cameras.

 I would like to think I am a patient person- I handle children fairly well and when eating out, if the food looks like it’s coming to my table but is instead a ship passing in the night, I don’t groan too loudly. Even so, despite MY desire to see myself as a steadfast stone in a tide of uncertainties, my boyfriend, family and professors have certainly called out my over-eagerness when it comes to finishing tasks/getting things in order.
It is with this knowledge that we pulled up to my very much in Ontario (and very much on strike) college.
It has been a thousand years since I have been in a class room- or rather, since I went to my friend’s University class during my reading week, which had fallen within this striking time). As you may or may not know, since the week of October 15th, the Ontario College union has thrashed dramatically about; by brandishing teachers with picket signs and pamphlets, the schools have remained closed, and their wallets have remained empty.
Like an escaped cat pressing down on an annoyed- and very much not dead- mouse, these teachers have been requesting what could be seen (arguably) as fair amendments to their contracts. Yet, as this cat has made its demands of the mouse, it has also been taking regular breaks to use a nearby child’s sandbox to defecate within.
The child- waking up from their night-time slumber- has consistently retreated to its favourite place in the world. Tearing out of the house and into the back yard, this child can feel their spirits soar! Hoping to shape their imagination- to craft their reality into a better one- they approach that very defiled sandbox. With tears in their eyes and unfortunate pastes in their hands- their sandbox will never be the same.
I guess I should be a bit clearer in my analogies and child-hood traumas. 
What I’m saying is I have remained in a perpetually anxious and frustrated mood as this strike has taken a toll on my mental health. In short- I want to graduate this year; yet as this annoyed mouse and picketing cat continue their lengthily debate, it is looking increasingly like I will have to put my life on hold.
Within this turbulent mood, the car I sat within was in stopped by a protester. 
I was very kind, saying nothing while he queried if we knew about why they were out there. I didn’t reply with a snide comment- nor did I scoff in frustration (like I wanted- so desperately- to do) as he continued with;

‘There will be a forced vote tomorrow, but we plan on saying no to this agreement’.

I didn’t condemn his desire to continue my life’s stagnation- nor did I get out of the car and throw my shoe repeatedly into the protester’s smug face.  However- as soon as the car in front of us pulled further into the driveway- their path finally unblocked from the same feline adversaries- I did speak.

“I have to return a camera, thank you.”
The man looked discouraged- yet understood, no doubt, my desire to return things to the school (the very school that they refused to let open). Dillan, the aforementioned boyfriend, gave a few casually uncomfortable and yet friendly words before driving into the parking lot.
I think I did quite well. 
In the end, the camera was returned without a fuss- I had been nowhere nearing late. I will continue to grind my teeth in my sleep as I pray that today- tomorrow- today- tomorrow- SOMEDAY- I may return to my classroom.
Maybe this is the universe finally settling an extensive back-pay of whispered prayers for snow-days.


-Jessica Dixon