Saturday, February 6, 2016

What, The BEEP?

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is so...um...mature that she remembers when beepers were outlawed in schools. In Newmentia, anyway, back even before it was a gleam in an architect's eye, and held court in the top floors of Basementia. Yes, beepers were on-your-person non grata back then. Can't have kids checking to see that somebody needs them immediately. Uh huh. Back then, we had a phone in the office, monitored by a secretary constantly, so that if a parent needed a pupil, they only had to call the school and their kid would get the message. What's that? We have than NOW, too? Of course we do. So explain to me why parents want to call and text their kids all the live-long day. Nevermind. That was a rhetorical statement.

We're not talking about those kinds of beepers today. And we're not talking about the cell phone, the biggest blow to the educational process before Common Core. We're talking about beeping. That infernal intermittent sound driving Mrs. Hillbilly Mom crazier than the narrator of The Tell-Tale Heart.

We're talking about the beep of the microwave once the timer goes off, and nobody opens the door.

Oh, Mrs. HM does not microwave food in her classroom unless she is standing right beside that heatless cooking implement. She only pops her lunch in once the pupils leave the room, and taps her foot until it's done, because she want so be on time (meaning not more than five minutes later than the lunch tardy bell) for the Semi Weekly Meeting of the Newmentia Lunch Time Think Tank. Otherwise, she loses her seat. No, the beeper was not in Mrs. HM's classroom, but it WAS in her class.

All week, I have taken selected classes to the computer lab to work on their projects. In the afternoon, I was in the small lab, right next door to where The Egret holds her afternoon class. And The Egret is only there alternate weeks, as she shares a half-time job with Mrs. Not-A-Cook's husband. So...I'm taking roll at the beginning of my last class, and The Egret waltzes in and tosses something in the microwave that's located behind me. I didn't crane my neck to see The Egret. I know the sound of a microwave door, and the hum of one running. I had no idea what went in there, but I assumed The Egret would be back shortly to remove it. You know what happens when we assume.

The microwave went off. The Egret did not appear. The microwave sent out a plaintive BEEP. In fact, it sent out a plaintive BEEP every 60 seconds for 30 minutes. After the first couple of BEEPs, pupils turned from facing the wall and their computer screen to glance surreptitiously at Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. The way a dog looks at a person when the person farts. Kind of an inquisitive look, head slightly cocked. Questioning as to what just took place. After ten minutes and ten BEEPs, the looks became more accusatory. So I would turn and look at the clock with each BEEP to avoid their stares, and sigh.

Finally The Egret returned, opened up the microwave, and ripped open a bag that sounded like popcorn. I know it wasn't popcorn because there was no popcorn smell, and no popping noise. THEN The Egret said, "Do you have a doctor's appointment next week?" WTF? How did The Egret know I was going to be gone Tuesday? And why was she announcing it to the pupils? I swear, there's no HIPAA in education.

"Actually, I will be gone Tuesday to deal with some banking business pertaining to my mother's estate. She passed away one year ago yesterday."

Now any other person might have apologized for their inadvertent faux pas nosiness, but not The Egret. She substitutes on the side, and is always trying to drum up business for herself. Unless, of course, she is off on a month-long cruise and not available. I don't begrudge her go-gettitude. No, The Egret just said, "It's been three years since I lost Mom, and it never gets any easier. I didn't know you'd be gone. I just thought maybe you wanted to use up some of those 100 days you have. Didn't you ask for me?"

"Well, I did not. I didn't ask for anybody, because I never know which week you're on, and which week you're off and available."

"I'm here this week. So I'm available next week."

"But I didn't KNOW that, because I didn't see you here until now, and this is Friday."

"Yeah. It's crazy." And with that, The Egret took her bag of something that had been sitting in the microwave cooling for 30 minutes, and made her exit.

Beepers should still not be allowed in school.

4 comments:

Sioux said...

Why do you call her The Egret? Does she have THAT memorable of a beak? Or are her legs THAT skinny?

Hillbilly Mom said...

Sioux,
Actually, it's a play on her name, as are all of my cronies and Think Tankers, in order for my silent reader (my best old ex-teaching buddy Mabel) to know who I'm talking about. The Egret is not birdy or hideous. We have a rude sort of give-and-take, and I bear her no ill will.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I would have opened the door to the microwave to make it stop beeping, or screamed. That is such an annoying sound. Now I can't help but wonder what was in the bag.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Kathy,
Well, that would have required getting up, while I was individually helping kids as they turned stuff in...and would have given the impression of ME taking ownership of the snack!

I stood right there talking to her, with it clutched in her hands, and didn't even notice!