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Way Worse Than A Bee In Your Bonnet

, , , , , , , | Working | November 22, 2022

When I am fourteen, I go on a school trip to Normandy to visit the D-Day beaches and various graveyards. For the duration, we stay at a very nice hotel that has a large enough cafeteria to house about forty students and ten teachers.

This incident occurs when we are eating dinner one night. We get a piece of baguette with each meal. I pick up my piece of baguette, but then I stop and put it back down.

Classmate #1: “[My Name], you’re not going to eat your bread?”

Classmate #2: “Yeah, you always eat that first.”

I pick the baguette back up and point at what’s wrong. The piece that I was given has a wasp baked INTO the bread.

Classmate #1: “Oh, dear.”

Classmate #2: “I’ll get a teacher.”

They start waving at the teachers’ table.

Me: “Oh, please don’t. I don’t want to make a fuss.”

Due to being at a low point in my life, I try to avoid confrontations or drawing attention to myself, but one of the language teachers notices my classmate waving and comes over to our table.

Teacher: “What’s wrong?”

Classmate #1: “[My Name]’s bread has a wasp baked into it.” *Passes it to her*

The teacher — who I don’t know, mind you — stares at the bread for a moment before getting a very angry look on her face and striding straight for the kitchen.

Me: “Was— Was that the best idea?”

Classmate #2: “Trust me.”

From the kitchen suddenly bursts a cacophony of angry shouting, none of which we can understand due to it being all in French, but we can definitely tell it’s coming from [Teacher].

A few minutes later, the teacher comes out with a new piece of baguette for me

Me: “Thank— Thank you.”

Teacher: “It has been dealt with.”

She walks off and sits back at the teachers’ table.

Later on, when the big trays of desserts come out, which are normally just big pans of sheet cake, I am given a big slice of fancy chocolate cake by an embarrassed-looking employee before they scurry off. I notice that the teacher has a slice, as well.

Me: “As much as I appreciate the gesture, I can’t eat all of this. Any of you want to share?”

So, alongside the regular sheet cake, I shared the chocolate cake with the five other girls at my table, and for the rest of the time we spent at the hotel, none of the employees would look at me and would always look slightly fearful of the teacher that came to my rescue.

High Notes, High Flights, Low Brains

, , , , , , , | Learning | February 22, 2022

In 1978, our grade-ten band and choir did a week-long exchange trip with Stratford, Ontario. I hadn’t been on a commercial airline before, and it was amazing. The pilot seemed to do a wheelie on the runway, and takeoff was like forty-five degrees!

Upon our return to Victoria, we shared all our photos via slides.

One of the pictures was this gorgeous view of a DC-10 in the clouds; think “The Simpsons” theme. 

Classmate: “Is that our plane?”

Be Careful Who You Step On When You Stamp Out Racism

, , , , , , , | Learning | July 15, 2021

We’re on the train to school camp. I’m playing chess with [Classmate #1]. Meanwhile, [Classmate #2] is chatting with the homeroom teacher of another class.

Classmate #2: *Loudly* “And [Classmate #1] never does his homework.”

Classmate #1: “Huh?!”

Me: “Pot calling the kettle black!”

Classmate #2: “Ah-ha! Everyone, [My Name] is being racist! He called [Classmate #1] black!”

Me: “Oh, s***.”

I forgot that [Classmate #1] is African-American.

Me: “No! I didn’t mean it that way!”

Classmate #1: “Yeah, I know. No offence taken.”

He turns to face [Classmate #2].

Classmate #1: “What do you mean, I never hand in homework, you hypocrite? You’re the one that hands in the least amount of homework in class!”

The argument continues on for a while, but eventually, our own homeroom teacher shuts us all up. She comes up to me afterward.

Teacher: “And what’s this about you being racist?”

Me: “Nothing. It was just a badly-used phrase.”

She frowns a bit and then looks at the chessboard.

Teacher: “When we get back, I want you writing lines about not being racist.”

Me: “Why?! I’m not racist!”

Teacher: “Uh-huh.” *Picks up my queen* “Then why are you making the African-American boy play black?”

Classmate #1: “Hey, I prefer black in chess. I like going second. I chose it.”

Teacher: “Don’t worry. You don’t need to defend him. I’ll sort [My Name] out when we get back to school.”

Me: *Sighs* “I can see that I’m not winning this argument. But I insist that you talk to my father about this.”

Teacher: “Oh, I will. He needs to know that racism is intolerable and that such behaviour will not be tolerated in this school.”

She then flips around the chessboard, such that [Classmate #1] now has white.

Teacher: “And if I see you being racist to anyone ever again, I swear to God that I will find a way to drum your a** out of school faster than you can say ‘goodbye’.”

She smugly trotted off. [Classmate #1] and I sighed and continued playing.

The look on her face when she saw my father a few weeks later was priceless. I looked absurdly like my white mother, so nobody realised that my father was an African-American. Naturally, he disbelieved every single accusation of me being racist and basically ordered [Teacher] to let me off the hook.

She did that, but she always gave me the stink-eye in every homeroom. I was really glad to leave her behind when I graduated.

Something Something, Slow And Steady…

, , , , | Learning | March 23, 2021

Our handball team has a local championship around three hours from away from home. It should last three days, but our team is eliminated in the first round. So, after one night, we head home. The mood is very bad, as we’d hoped to spend a nice weekend in the mountains.

Teammate #1: “Ahh, so stupid. Three-hour trip for nothing! Now I have to sit in this stupid bus again after only one day!”

Another teammate agrees. Suddenly, a red Porsche overtakes our bus and [Teammate #1] exclaims:

Teammate #1: “Wow! With that car, I would be home in thirty minutes! But instead I sit here, on this awful bus!”

Teammate #2: “Yeah! It would be nice. I imagine that is my car and my chauffeur is driving it home for me. I just sit with you in this bus out of pity!”

Teammate #1: “Oh! You are so nice! But instead of sitting here, you should have taken me for the ride home in your car! Your chauffeur should go home by bus!”

They joke around about “their” car and about how difficult it is to go by bus for a while, until our bus slows down and passes an accident. The Porsche is sitting in a ditch, its front totally destroyed.

Luckily, the driver is standing beside it, filing a police report. [Teammate #1]’s and [Teammate #2]’s jaws drop.

Teammate #2: “Oh, my God! MY CAR! WHAT DID THE CHAUFFEUR DO TO IT?!”

Teammate #3: “Do you still think it is soooo bad to go by bus?”

I guess the driver won’t be home for some time!

Cheesy But Effective

, , , , | Learning | December 5, 2020

We have a school trip to a campground when I am about ten years old. The girls are in two big tents, boys in two big tents, and there are two teachers and two teachers’ assistants in their own tents.

On the first night, we are being typical kids in tents with torches, playing games, trying to scare each other, and calling to the other tents, and the TAs and teachers come in a few times to tell us to go to sleep.

Around midnight, one of the TAs comes in with a box.

TA: “Do you want a midnight feast? Don’t let the others know! Be quiet!”

Us: *Whispering* “Yes!”

TA: “Here, but turn your torches off and be really quiet.”

She handed over a box of cheese sandwiches and, reminding us again to be really quiet, crept out. We all sat there munching our sandwiches and talking in whispers, and when we were done we all pretty much fell asleep straight away. She did this every night of the three-day trip, and we thought we were being SO sneaky!

A few years later, I was chatting with my mum and we were talking about the trip. She was friends with the TA. It turns out that the TA had gone into every tent with a box of sandwiches and the exact same story, and every tent thought they were getting a special treat! Cheese sandwiches were a stroke of genius, stodgy and filling, and after eating a few while sitting quietly we were practically guaranteed to start feeling sleepy.