Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Met My Old Student In A Convenience Store Last Night

"Holy sh*t! I haven't seen you in forever!"

Yes. That's the greeting I received upon stepping from behind a Monster energy drink cooler and a towering pyramid of Busch cases to approach the soda fountain for my 44 oz. Diet Coke. Let the record show that it was not followed by outstretched arms, nor a cordial smile. More like a controlled grimace.

I knew the exclaimer immediately. First AND last name. Even though it's been five years since he was in my class. That would put him at around 22 years of age. An age at which most people would realize that swearing in a place of business where you have just been hired is kind of an unwritten deal-breaker. Then again, most people adhere to social mores and do not have a FTW attitude.

The purveyor of my free refills was assisting Potty Mouth in wiping down the soda fountain and stocking the cups. He greeted me politely, as usual. Potty Mouth acted like he had gotten away with something. Like I have never heard the word sh*t before. Like I would say something to him about it. Like I gave a rat's posterior what he had to say. Like I had to be polite to him and cajole him into behaving in a socially acceptable manner so he would stop his childish attention-seeking behavior.

I spoke to Mr. Nice Guy and drew a draught of my beloved caffeinated beverage, then proceeded to the counter. What Potty Mouth was slow to realize was that, like ticket-scalper and self-proclaimed ladies' man Vic Damone in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, I had adopted the attitude that I don't care whether he comes, stays, lays, or prays. We are no longer forced inhabitants of the same small world. He is of no more significance to me than the puddle of fluid that is a constant fixture under the Monster cooler. An item of which I am wary, and tend to avoid, lest an unpleasant interaction result.

Such is life in the post-public-school world. Burned bridges do not reconstruct themselves. And drivers rarely give them a second thought as they go about their business using an alternate route.


Sioux said...

Tampons (now replaced by pantyliners) in your cart? You see a former (or current) student? Veer off into another aisle and hide until they pass by.

Wanting to buy condoms? A racy video? Edible underwear? Knowing that your high school students have not taken the Peter Pan Pledge and they have, indeed grown up over the last 10 years, don't even think about shopping at a local shop. You must drive a minimum of 17 hours in order to find a store that would be "safe."

A jumbo-sized bottle of vodka in your shopping cart? And you see a current or former student in the store? Wave the bottle in the air and say something like, "You know how I hydrate because of the stress of school? This is it! Chug, chug, chug a lug! Two bottles of this elixir every night makes me a happy educator!"

(Note: The choices have been changed to protect the...innocent? I am not a high school teacher, these "examples" are fictional and/or exaggerated. I'm simply trying to make the point that as teachers who DO occasionally have the energy to drag themselves into the public arena, we DO worry about our encounters with students. Teachers are teachers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And perhaps that's as it should be?)

Hillbilly Mom said...

AS IT SHOULD BE? Pardon me, Ma'am, but are you a spinster woman boarding with a family in Walnut Grove, relegated to a beau-less life raising other people's children?

Sweet Gummi Mary! One does not enter a convent nor monastery when signing a teaching contract. Life goes on. Which does not mean that one should nip from an airline bottle of alcohol between classes, nor sneak a way for clandestine nooky sessions in a windowless storeroom.

Regular folks should stop putting teachers on lofty pedestals between bouts of bashing them for their gross incompetence. Some of us are afraid of heights.

And a note to all those people who are former students, which includes just about everybody except the're not that special. There. I said it. In the real world, nobody gives a hoot about your tender self-esteem. You'll have to advance yourself on merit, or by who you know. Just like the rest of us.

Sioux said...

A windowless storeroom would be smarter than one filled with windows. Or a gym mat in the gymnasiusm, which IS a true story.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Actually, from the true story files, a couple in one of my places of employ used a room with a windowed door, but COVERED IT WITH BUTCHER PAPER. You know, the big colored rolls on a wheeled metal rack that teachers squabble over at various holidays. Some people like to live life on the edge, I guess. And have a love for colored paper.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

You tell it, sister!

Hillbilly Mom said...

I'm a prolific teller.