I was feeling blue this morning during my 5:30 a.m. recliner nap. Not only was I returning to work after those lazy hazy days of summer, with my #1 son only two days removed from the Mansion, but I was facing the rest of my career without the camaraderie of my bestest friend, my teaching buddy, Mabel.
Yes, Mabel flew that cuckoo coop this summer. Took a dive like a rat off a sinking ship. Can't say as I blame her, having enough years and having achieved the pinnacle of success in her chosen career. Times, they are a-changin', and the most encouragement we got this morning was a story about eagles reaching middle age and smashing off their beaks then chewing off their talons then ripping out their feathers so they can live another half life. The point was that if we don't adapt to change, we will die. I turned to my table-mates and said, "That was inspiring." Plus it was not really true, but the speaker DID acknowledge that he got it off the internet, so he couldn't verify its validity. I hope he doesn't meet an online boyfriend who's a French model.
Yes, I call poppycock on the eagle allegory. Here's one of my own. As an eagle reaches middle age, he knows how to hunt. He has no problem obtaining food. He has honed his skills so that he gets the best return on his energy expenditure. No way does that eagle suddenly start reinventing his survival wheel. He does not try hunting like a fledgling right out of the nest. Nor does he drop down to the ground and slither up on his prey and swallow it whole like a snake. And he most certainly does not read a book about the new way to feed himself that was just invented by an eagle who never hunted one day in his life.
But we're not here to talk about eagles. We're here to talk about me missing Mabel. I sent her a text telling her I missed her. That a school year without her would be like breakfast missing an ingredient. Little did I know...
They feed us breakfast, you see, on the first day. The entire district comes together for a breakfast buffet, inspirational words, a prize drawing or two, and the down-and-dirty workshops on recognizing abuse, maintaining confidentiality, self-back-patting on our always-above-state-average test results, and the state-of-technology address. Of course I sat on the side of the room that went 4th out of the 4 officially-decreed surges toward the buffet. I hate that. No sooner do I get sat down with my plate than the speechifying starts, and the caterers try to snatch the trash out from under my plastic knife and fork. Even though my plate is full. Not today, though!
My meal consisted of a cold biscuit, a plop of pasty nontasty gravy, a spoon of limp shredded hash browns that were more maggoty-translucent than brown, and a cinnamon roll. Mmm...mmm, getcha some. Like everyone else before us. But not us. Gone were the grapes red and green, the watermelon, the honeydew. Three chunks of cantaloupe and some smiles of kiwifruit sat alone on the fruit dishes. The biscuit bin had two left, but a caterboy walked by and took six out of a ziplock bag and dumped them in. Ice cold. Funny how when Mrs. I'llroastmyownazzbeforeIallowcalculators told that dude the sausage bin was empty, he said, "That's it. There's not any more." Same for the bacon. Of the two tubs that once held scrambled eggs, only one contained yellow matter, some blobs floating in water, interspersed with chopped red peppers.
If our army marched on its stomach, we would have been taken prisoner by hunger, forthwith.
Alas, the three amigos who helm Elementia, Basementia, and Newmentia went through the line after our group. NO GOOP FOR YOU! They had even slimmer pickin's. The caterlady had mentioned several times that they brought twice as much as last year. The ring leader apologized to us underlings. "I hope you all got enough to eat. We must have had more people show up this year." Seriously. How does THAT happen? Hey, everyone! Surprise teachers popping out of the woodwork to join our repast! I know it couldn't have been hobos sneaking in for a good feed. They would have taken one look and hightailed it back to their bean-cans roasting over an open fire. Besides, I did not see a pile of red-bandana-adorned sticks stacked in the corner.
I missed you, Mabel. But you really didn't miss breakfast. What did my innocent text set in motion?
Was it irony, or was it prophecy, that missing-ingredient breakfast?