Where is the balance?

imagesI’m a big fan of German films, and last weekend was the Berlin and Beyond Film Festival at the Castro Theater in San Francisco.  This festival highlights the latest films in the German language coming out of Europe.  There were two films which I was really excited about seeing, and I had waited months for their arrival.  Each film would be shown once.  But I couldn’t seem to find the time even for just one film.  I can’t seem to keep away from the political turmoil going on now, so I have become hooked on news.  Then I have students who cannot concentrate on learning English since they do not know their fate.  On top of it is the fact that I seem to give a lot of homework and then fall behind in grading, correcting, and giving feedback to the students.  Must weekends always be filled with so much work?

My question:  how can I establish a balance between work and free time?  I knew that I couldn’t solve that problem last weekend, so I created a very crazy plan.   While I was slugging away at pile after pile of homework papers that needed to get graded or corrected or you name it, I thought to myself that I could go see a movie, take public transport, and grade some homework while waiting for the streetcar and while sitting in the streetcar.  I could continue to grade while I stood in line for a ticket and while I was waiting for the film to start inside the theater.  So, I decided to go with the plan.

I didn’t have to wait for the streetcar, but inside the streetcar it was so crowded that I couldn’t look through the papers.  At the theater, I had to wait in line, but then it started to rain, and there was no shelter nearby.  I started to contemplate the benefit of being on the move with school work and no opportunity to complete it.  Inside the theater was so dark that I couldn’t really read the papers.  Fine.  There was still the ride home, which might come in handy.  And there was also the evening hours left.

I had to keep my goal in mind:  the new film, Frantz.  The film began and turned out not to disappoint.  Germany 1919 right after the end of the WWI.  Small town.  Much sadness.  Black and white film.  Haunting music.  And then suddenly a mystery appears, and at times color invades the black and white world of post WWI Germany.  Such a fascinating experience, and not once did I think about the piles of papers I had in my backpack.  It was an escape but also nutrition for my mind.  And yet I went through such a complicated plan to allow myself to leave the house.  Does it have to be that way?


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