Sometimes, I feel like Tom Chaney down by the creek, when Mattie Ross shot him with her dead pappy’s Colt Dragoon, right in the short ribs. And Tom Chaney was heard to whine, “Everything happens to me. And now I am shot by a child.”
I’m not a character in True Grit with a mark on my face like banished Cain, wanted for shooting
a bird dog Bibbs
the little senator sitting on his porch swing in Texas, and Frank Ross in front
of the Monarch Boarding House, where Maddie would later double up in a bed with
Grandma Turner...but I DO sometimes feel like everything happens to me. Plus, I
like quoting from True Grit.
At conferences on Tuesday, we ordered Chinese food, as is our custom. My best old ex-teaching buddy, Mabel, loved the stuff. But mine was always swimming in enough grease to fry up Farmer H’s bacon. So this time, I ordered crab rangoon and an eggroll. Not that they are grease-free, mind you. But because nothing else appealed to me.
After the horror of watching the entire teaching staff paw through the bags holding my appetizers, I procured my meal and scurried off to a table for a private audience with one of my lunch buddies. That’s because every other rat left that sinking ship and hid in a classroom down the hall. I had eaten the eggroll, and one of the rangoons, when two parents (kids in tow) came a-lookin’ for me.
This happens every year. The only people better at interrupting a meal are hungry babies, bored toddlers, teenagers who have misplaced their video game controllers, or a husband who has lost something vital like his partial plate. So it was no surprise that even though our dinner was delayed by about 30 minutes this year, the people chose that time period to arrive for the grand inquisition. “I’ll meet you down in my room as soon as you’re ready.” I turned to my long-time lunch companion. “I’ll just take this stuff with me. You never know when I’ll be done.” I carried it to my classroom and put it on top of the file cabinet, away from my
desk consulting area.
Forty-five minutes later, free again, I grabbed my paper plate of cold greasy crispy fried goodness and sat down at my laptop. Two bites later, I heard Cus dragging a wheeled gray trash can down the hall. Cus might as well have been hollering, “Cockles and mussels alive, alive-O!” But instead it was a bellow of, “Anybody have Chinese? I taking out the trash. I don’t want it stinking all weekend.” I was the first stop on the assault on the hallway.
I gave up. Shoved my rangoons into the Devil’s Playground bag that lines my personal wastebasket, and held it up. “Here. Take the whole thing.” Cus gladly obliged.
And furthermore, when I saw the spray of crunchy crumbs surrounding my chair, I bent over, nigh standing on my head, and picked them up one by one. Wouldn’t want Cus to discover them on Monday, now would we?