I become a little more like my mother every day. Don't get me wrong. I don't mind people parking in my driveway, and I don't go out in public and announce to people that I have a hole in my pants. But I do find myself picking up items from the pantry that are expired, and saving plastic forks from Captain D's. And now there's this new behavior that manifested itself Monday.
My mom doted on her grandchildren. They could do no wrong. They were tiny bundles of royalty to be humored and spoiled and catered to. So when she told me a story many years ago about shopping in The Devil's Playground with my niece, who was then around 3-4 years old, I found it hard to believe.
"I put Niecey in the top of the cart, in that little seat. I only had a few things to pick up, but I like to let the kids get something while we're shopping. She told me she wanted Lip Smackers. I didn't know if her mom would want her to have it, but I told her we would look for it. Niecey wanted Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers. I figured she had seen her mom using makeup, and wanted to be like her. The minute we got in the door, Niecey started saying, 'Grandma, can we get my Lip Smackers?' She was leaning out of the cart reaching, and turning as we went by departments. I found the stuff I needed, but I could not find those Lip Smackers. I went from one end of the store to the other. And Niecey kept saying, 'Grandma! There!' I told her, 'Niecey, Lip Smackers will not be over there! Let's keep looking.' I tried the makeup section, and the pharmacy, and even back in the little girls' toys. No Lip Smackers. I was ready to leave, but I promised Niecey her Lip Smackers. Finally I gave in. 'All right! We'll look there!' And there were the Lip Smackers, right by the jewelry department, where Niecey had been reaching for them all along."
I tell you that story not because I promise my students Lip Smackers, and push them through The Devil's Playground as an exercise in futility. But because I, too, dismissed the proclamations of a youngster.
On Monday, our last day to review for the big state test looming on the horizon, I was eager to get class started. I had diagrams of DNA color-coded and labeled on the white board. Punnett squares festooned the section near the pencil sharpener. I was sure my pupils had garnered twelve hours of sleep, visions of codons dancing in their heads, and were chomping at the bit for our final information dump. So when Biff announced that it was too hot in my room, I was not having it.
"We need to get started. The test is tomorrow! No time now to sidetrack me about the temperature."
"I hope it's cooler than this in the computer lab for the test! I can't work when it's hot. And right now I'm hot."
"The thermostat is set the same way it is every day. On 72. That's as cool as they let me go. Except in the winter, you know, when we can't go over 70. But it's set on 72 now. So let's get started with our review."
The review went well. Nobody wilted or went crazy from the heat. It's a small class, without a lot of hot air that I get in the afternoon. I gave nary a thought to the temperature until the bell rang. The kids filed out, and I went toward the door. "Huh. it does seem a bit warm. I guess I'm just wound up over the testing." I walked by the thermostat and gave it a glance.
WAIT A MINUTE!
The thermostat was set on HEAT. The temperature was 74. How could that be? When the custodian rushed me out on Friday afternoon, it was working like normal. Who had reset my thermostat? Was there an event in the building over the weekend? I put it back on COOL. Egads! The setting was on 88! I bumped that gadget back down to 72. The air kicked on.
That morning before testing, I informed Biff that he had been correct. My room was too hot Monday, which I found out as soon as he left. He took it well. "I knew it didn't feel right." All he wanted was validation. And the cool breeze from the air conditioner. Which we had in abundance for the test.
Like sands through the hourglass, like fresh Lip Smackers on a cool whoosh of air, these are the days of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's life.