Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Space Academy

Welcome to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Space Academy.

It's not an astronaut school. No study of the universe, no weightlessness training in a cargo jet flying a parabolic pattern, no underwater deep space simulation. This Space Academy refers to the vacuum between one's ears. And it's not the students we're talking about.

Today I took two of my classes to the computer lab. One student was late, having not listened to yesterday's discussion of  "tomorrow we're going to meet in the computer lab," and arrived all in a tizzy. It was a regular Who's On First routine while I tried to take attendance and get the lesson started. The main words bandied about concerned whether I got the message.

"What message?"

"The message from my teacher."

"How could I get a message? I am here in the computer lab."

"How was she supposed to know you were in the computer lab?"

"I don't know...maybe you could have told her, since you were leaving her room to come here."

"Oh. I didn't know where you were."

"Yet you found us without even a note on my door."

Yeah, it's quite the mystery. But that is not the main part of this story. When I got back to my classroom, my phone was blinking that I had a message. I assumed that it was a message about not counting a certain latecomer tardy. But since I will not be at school tomorrow, having taken a personal day worth its weight in gold, or at least $75 to a sub, I needed to make sure it was not an important message. and I are not on very good terms. Not even on speaking terms, it turns out. I could not access my message.

That just happened last week, too. I got the company computer guy to reset my phone password so I could hear a message then. And wouldn't you know it, it was a wrong number, meant for somebody in Elementia instead, regarding a certain person not showing up as planned that morning. I would have relayed the message, had I been able to access it before after school.

So after school today, I tried to retrieve that new message. The reset password didn't work. It was my room number. I was supposed to set a new password that day, but that darn phone never gave me the option. I swear, if a person needs to tell me something, they should just drive over and bang on the door until I let them in. Or send an email. I check it at least once a day. I can't be all information-gathering when I have a room full of living, breathing, lively students to entertain.

I tried every combination known to woman for that password:

social security last four
cell phone number
home phone number
the #1 son's cell number (make that cell PHONE number at this time)
home address
classroom number
phone extension number

In fact, I tried each a myriad of times. Because you never know, it might work the next time. Did you know that after every third wrong try, the phone cuts you off with a snotty message? It's true. FINALLY, I thought of one number I had not tried. My bank card PIN. So I cleverly turned to punch it in, all smug with the knowledge that even though I never entertained the thought of using this one, it was my last available logical number, and it WAS going to work. Yes, I turned, picked up the receiver, hit the message button, and was prompted for my password. I reached over to punch it in, and


I could not remember my own PIN. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. A big goose egg. I tried to picture myself pulling up to the ATM on the back wall of the bank. The prompts on the machine. I go there once a week. I could not remember my PIN. I imagined myself in The Devil's Playground at the checkout. Scanning my debit card. Punching my PIN into that contraption while the person behind me in line jabbed me with the front of her cart. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. A big goose egg.

There was an instant when I thought I should debate myself on whether this was a signal of a mini-stroke, or early-onset Alzheimer's. But then I forgot all about it and asked The Pony for my PIN. After all, he sits right behind me in T-Hoe, like some Grey Poupon passenger. I'm sure he's watched me take money out of that ATM a thousand times.

"You know, when we go to the bank? What number do I punch in?"

"How should I know?"

"I thought you might have seen me punch it in."

"No. I have better things to do."

Next I called the #1 son. I could remember his number. "Hey, do you know my card number? I seem to have drawn a blank."

"No. I don't know your card number. I know the last four digits of your credit card."

"That won't help. I mean my debit card."

"No. I don't know your debit card number."

"Just last month you used it in The Devil's Playground!"

"Oh, you're talking about your PIN! Ha ha! I can't believe you don't know your own PIN."

"Well, thanks for blurting that out so everybody listening in will know that the next number you say is my PIN."

"No problem. It's XXXX."

"YES IT IS! Thanks!"

I punched that PIN into the phone, AND IT WORKED! Just as I suspected, the call was one saying not to count that kid tardy.

Quite anticlimactic. And disturbingly sad that it took so long to get the message. Oh, well. By tomorrow, I'll have forgotten all about it.


Sioux said...

I have all my passwords and voicemail codes tattooed. On my forehead. Backwards, so I can retrieve them when I look in a mirror.

I never "lose" them, and it makes for wonderful conversation...

Hillbilly Mom said...

At least you're not like that one kid we had a way long time ago at Basementia, who complained about the new tattoo of his name across his shoulders: "I looked in the mirror, and saw that they did it BACKWARDS! I'm gonna get my money back!"