Well, sometime this weekend, Mate and I will turn 40 (I rarely know what day it is…I’m thinking it’s Sunday for me and MOnday for Mate, but I’m never sure…) and I’m tired enough and worried enough about the *now* that the passage of time–both behind and before–is not bothering me. Wait until Ladybug starts school, and then I’ll have my sweet little nervous breakdown, right?
Anyway, I’ve had a couple of oddball and entertaining dealings with the young in my profession to keep my mind off of my advanced decrepitude, and I thought I’d share with you–sort of my Happy Birthday gift to you, so to speak, before we go spend ungodly amounts of money at the Ren faire in Gilroy this weekend. (Although I’ll probably get all weepy about b-days on MOnday for you, because, after all, it is Mate and he’s mine, and I get to faun all over him–it’s a perk!)
Hm… lessee…the least impressive one first.
One of my OLD students from last year asked me to make her a scarf for her birthday. I just came up the ramp and there she was, politely asking me to make her something, please, because she was turning 18 and she wanted it. As forward as it sounds, it’s at least 1/100th as insulting as the guys in the class hollering, “Hey, if I give you $5 would you make me a pair of socks?” And so I agreed…they really don’t get the difference between knitting and crocheting, but I know that crocheting is QUICKER and that a dc ch-1 mesh thingie with some ruffles at the ends is not going to kill me (in fact, I finished it last night–about two hours after I brought home the yarn) and, well, hell– she asked nicely. That’s gotta count for something. So, my first student project down, we’ll see how many more to go…
And then there was my TA, a young Hyrcan god from the old country (Russia) who wanted to see if he could shock me. I’m usually pretty unflappable. “So…Do you know that movie theater on Watt Ave.?” He asked the other day, as the class was working and I was consuming my milk and cookies for 4th period. (I do this every day…)
“The X-rated one?” I asked, eyebrows up.
“Yes–well I was in there the other day, and there in the front row were three elders from my church…the ones who preach the most against pornography…I thought that was funny.” (Is this story even true? Don’t know, and at this point, don’t care. I’m being entertained and enjoying it.)
“Uh…Alex, did I miss something…what were you DOING in this theatre?”
“Oh–I was buying flavored condoms because I don’t like the taste in her mouth after she goes down on me with the plain ones.”
So after I finished snarfing milk and oreos out my nose, I told him politely that this was TMI, and that we needed to keep our conversations school appropriate. He told me that she preferred the chocolate and mint ones, and then promised to keep things on the level after that. I laughed about this all the way to the staff room, where my stiff-necked colleagues rolled their eyes at me as though I were some sort of deviant for thinking this was beyond hilarious, and asked why I hadn’t referred the kid for crossing boundaries. Hey–he stopped when I asked, which is more than I can say for 99% of the kids who cross the line. Besides, I haven’t laughed so hard in ages.
And finally, the *aww shucks* moment.
One of my students, a very sweet, bright kid who looks like a miniaturized version of most white folk’s nightmare of a hispanic gang member (long braids, T-shirts, tough looking demeanor) told me that I’d had his brother, Sal, in the past. “I’m sorry, A’,” I told him. “I don’t remember–if he came in I probably would.”
A’ came in the other day, hungry because he had been too busy during lunch to eat, so I’d offered him a pop-tart from my store, kept just for that occassion. He turned and looked at me and said, “Hey–you’re nice.” In a very matter of fact sort of way. “No I’m not,” I replied dryly. “I’m a mean, heartless bitch–remember that.” He just smiled, and repeated, “No, you’re nice.”
And suddenly I was back about four years. There was the tiniest, most frightened looking little Junior in my class, then, who was actually more pregnant than I was, (The Cave Troll was born in November.) I managed a quickie blanket for her on her last day, and a short, assertive, sweet and bright kid with a lot of A’s features (had I known A’ at the time,) said, “Hey–you’re nice.”
“No I’m not–I’m a total bitch, just ask any of the girls sitting in that corner,” I’d griped in return. (Rough class that year–not as rough as some, but not my favorite bunch by a longshot.)
“No,” Sal replied. “You’re nice.”
Happy Birthday to me, I guess. I am, after all, nice.