It isn’t. Not at all. Not remotely.
Granted, there are parts of the day you have to go through the motions; I’ll give you that. There are parts of the day, routine related, which are kind of depressing. Making my lunch for the following day at school is always a bit sad. A short, repetitive chore that carries the additional benefit that it signals it’s almost time to go to bed and start the merry-go-round of going to work again.
But generally speaking, life is not dull, it’s not monotonous, it’s not repetitive and it certainly isn’t painful. My job, despite the ups and downs and the occasional scariness, is EXCITING.
There is drama every day. Not always a good thing, obviously, but it certainly isn’t dull. And there is inherent comedy in every day because some of the things we do and that they do are JUST SO DAMN FUNNY.
But never monotonous.
Let’s take an example - I’ve been on half term this week (again, not monotonous and dull. A magnificent cycle of lying in, internet, TV, Playstation, porn and booze) – but on my final working day before this, last Friday, ANYTHING but dull...
A boy, let’s call him Mark, wanted to get into a room he wasn’t allowed in, because he was just being too dangerous. He wanted to get back into a classroom so he could clobber one of the children within. Obviously we weren’t going to let him.
A few vain attempts to shove past us and sidle his way between us (he’s a slippery, agile thing) as we stood in front of the door trying to talk him down did not meet with success. He became more and more frustrated, shouting and swearing and screaming as if being murdered. He slides quite quickly into what I can only call psychosis, flailing around, screaming and rasping, trying to run into or jump over fixtures, fitting and furniture. We prevented him doing himself any serious harm, but in his attempt to jump over a stair well 20ft to the floor below, he banged his knee.
Poor boy. Hah.
He really lost the plot at this point. He lay on the floor and screamed. And I mean really screamed. I will find it hard to articulate in writing - it would be much easier to do an impression - but imagine that girl from the exorcist. That screaming, raspy, guttural, wild, savage growling. Like a long, drawn out wildcat roar, but punctuated with word-fragments and odd, out-of-context swear words.
It was sort of terrifying, but actually quite funny too. All the adults made eye contact and it made you want to laugh a bit, because it was frankly so ridiculous.
So there he was, laying on the floor, screaming and growling and swearing in this savage, wild, demonic way, flailing around on the floor, making these horrendous sounds and I thought:
Yes – no wonder people used to believe in possession. That is exactly what this looks like. A tiny young boy hurting himself, flailing wildly, screaming obscenities you’re surprised he knows, in this frankly terrifying demon-creature voice. It was textbook possession material. No wonder people with special needs were once under the purview of the church.
I didn't get my own way so now I'm going to do THIS!
But as this rather unnecessary display unfolded, and I remarked to a colleague about possession and how this once would have been perceived, I remember thinking to myself- it IS exciting though, it is dramatic and scary. What was going to happen? How could we prevent it escalating, how could we prevent him hurting himself seriously? How long would it last? Were the rest of my class alright in the meantime?
It was more than likely he would simply burn himself out within a couple of minutes. Throwing yourself on the floor and screaming is fairly exhausting and he never usually lasts that long, so it was a fairly safe bet it would happen again. But it was one of those situations where you walk away, back to your maths group (who haven’t batted an eyelid - their capacity to accept and ignore complete insanity unfolding just outside never ceases to amaze me) and think – wow, my days are never dull.