Paint Me Selfish

, , , , | Friendly | April 25, 2019

(I’ve been best friends with two other girls since childhood. We’ve pretty much always done everything together, even when we started growing up and our personalities and interests started shifting. [Friend #1] has been saving money and building up her credit since she was old enough to get a work permit and credit card. A few days before winter break in our senior year, she gives me a call.)

Friend #1: “Hey, where are you?”

Me: “At [Friend #2]’s place, finishing up homework.”

Friend #1: “You’re together? Perfect. I’m coming over; I’ve got a surprise to show you guys.”

(Fifteen minutes later, [Friend #1] calls us outside and we find her leaning against a car we’ve never seen. It’s hers! She bought herself a used car! We, of course, start freaking out.)

Me: “Oh, my God! Do we get to ride in it?!”

Friend #1: “Naturally.”

Friend #2: “Can we decorate it? Oh! I’ve always wanted a car with fuzzy dice and a cute steering wheel cover… Oh, and painted a bright, pretty color!”

Friend #1: “Ha, paint. Nah, I’m good with how it is, and I already put a little dream catcher on the rear view.”

Friend #2: “Well, what can we do?”

Friend #1: *thinks for a moment* “You can each put a bumper sticker on the back — non-political — and a bobblehead on the dash.”

Me: “Dude! Will you take us bobblehead shopping?”

Friend #1: “Sure!”

Friend #2: “That’s it? We can’t even pick a fresh paint job?”

Friend #1: “It’s functional and reliable; I don’t need it to be pretty. Paint is expensive.”

Friend #2: “But this is going to be our ride! It should look amazing, and lame bobbleheads aren’t going to do that. It needs serious accessorizing. I say we vote on it.”

(We sometimes vote on things we’re going to do together when we can’t come to a full agreement.)

Friend #1: “Um, no? My car, my rules, my final say. Gosh, I have a car to make rules for! I feel so grown up!”

(She and I giggle, but apparently [Friend #2] isn’t amused.)

Friend #2: “That’s not fair! We’re all going to share it. We should have equal say in what goes! Right, [My Name]?”

Me: “No? What are you talking about? This is her car. She paid money for this. We’re lucky we have a best friend who can drive us around now.”

Friend #2: “We share everything because we’re best friends! How is this any different?”

Friend #1: “Fine. You want a paint job? You get to pay for it, along with [significant amount of money for us at the time].”

Friend #2: “What? Why so much?!”

Friend #1: “That’s half of what the car cost, and your price for equal ownership. Oh, plus half the insurance costs… Wait, my name is the only one on the insurance. Never mind, my veto power is absolute. No to the paint job.”

Friend #2: “This should be for all of us! I can’t believe you’re being so selfish!”

Me: “Dude.”

Friend #1: *disbelieving laugh* “I’m not the one being selfish here.”

([Friend #2] goes off on a full tantrum, complete with screaming and crying. [Friend #1] puts up with it to stall for me so I can sneak inside the house and grab my stuff. When I come back out, [Friend #2] is threatening to key the car, since [Friend #1] “doesn’t care about the paint, anyway.” [Friend #1] brings her phone, which is now in her hand at her side, up to her ear.)

Friend #1: “Hi, [Friend #2’s Dad]? You’re there? Did you hear all of that? She’s talking about my car. I just bought a car, yeah.”

(This does not help the tantrum. It does, however, freak [Friend #2] out enough that she runs screaming into the house. Once [Friend #1] finishes talking to [Friend #2]’s dad, she takes the opportunity to get us out of there. It’s total silence for a few minutes while she drives.)

Friend #1: *visibly upset* “So… want to go get gelato to celebrate my new car?”

(Not only did we get gelato — which I paid for and insisted she get multiple scoops — but as soon as winter break started, we headed off on a long weekend road trip that she’d wanted all three of us to go on. I covered half the gas, we enjoyed ourselves immensely, and we continue to enjoy ourselves to this day, while our ex-friend still needs permission to use her mom’s car whenever she wants to go anywhere alone.)

Thursday The Second

, , , | Learning | April 25, 2019

Me: *speaking slowly and clearly* “The test will be on Thursday.”

Student: “Okay! I heard you the first time!”

Me: “That was the second time.”

 

Go Big Or Go Home, Right?

, , , , , , | Learning | April 20, 2019

This is a “smart” student story. About 30 years ago, when I was just starting out as a teacher and having to be a substitute, I was called into this high school. No big deal. One day turned into two, then three and more. Then, I was told that the teacher I was subbing for would likely be out for the rest of the year, and they asked if I’d be interested in applying for the position. I had a quick interview with the principal and two members of the department after school and I was in. Yay!

I started about the beginning of October. There were six classes, three different courses, one of which was brand new, so there were no materials yet. But I was young and full of energy. After a few weeks, my department head had a talk with me about the approaching first-term report cards. Note: at this time, teachers filled out reports on those three-copy NCR forms. The student’s info was printed on top, but we had to hand-write the grade, add any comments in the space provided, and then sign it. My department head said that, as I would be merging my marks with the ones already recorded by the teacher I was replacing, and that I hadn’t really gotten a chance to know the students, to just record the grade, leave the comments section blank, and sign them. I did just that.

Sometime the morning after the reports went home, I got a message to call the mother of one of my students. On my first break, I called and identified myself. She said she had a question about her son’s report card. I was thinking the worst, that this was a parent going to beg, plead, or bully her kid into a higher grade. Nope. She was concerned about the comment. I told her that, due to the circumstances, I had made no comments on any of the report cards. She started howling with laughter, then read me the comment on her son’s card. It was over the top: best student ever, great class participation, and so on.

The reason she’d called was that all the comments from his other teachers were pretty much what she expected — work not done, more effort required, etc. — and she was curious about the one rave review. We had a good laugh about how if her son had just toned it down a bit she wouldn’t have noticed. She said she’d talk to the boy, and I took no further action than, when I asked that kid’s class if their parents had any questions about their report cards, to focus on this boy with my best imitation of laser eyes. His response told me Mum had talked to him.

I hope he learned something. I learned to never sign a document while leaving a space blank — put a slash through it.

The “Shocking” Puns Just Write Themselves

, , , , | Learning | April 16, 2019

My father’s science teacher started the semester by telling the class that under no circumstances were students allowed to sleep in class. He didn’t mind if you decided to stare out the window or even get up and stretch your legs for a minute, just so long as you didn’t fall asleep. Several months later, the class found out why.

In the middle of class, he noticed a sleeping student. He broke off from his lecture and went to retrieve something from his desk, announcing, “And now, we’re going to learn about static electricity.”

He pulled out a static-electricity plasma ball, turned it on, and placed it against the sleeping student’s arm. The student didn’t wake up, and the teacher went on for a minute or two about how electricity travels from one object to another, all while the sleeper’s hair slooowly stood on end.

The teacher finished by saying that all that electricity going through the student’s body right then was completely harmless… “Unless, of course, someone were to take something metal like this ruler I’ve got in my hand right now and touch it to his skin like so…

Cue a very loud zap and the student in question jolting awake. The teacher promptly put away the plasma ball and continued with the lesson.

 

Tea Is The Warmest Color

, , , , , , | Hopeless | April 14, 2019

(I’ve loved books from a very early age, so when I was growing up it was only natural that whenever I went to a new school, I would very quickly become quite acquainted with the school librarians and their assistants. My high school librarian, an elderly woman, has a reputation for being quite strict, but has been nothing but lovely to me since the first day of school when I eagerly sought out the library to scope out the fiction section. In the second semester of my sophomore year — my 11th year of schooling for the non-Americans — I end up with a free period at the end of the day, which I choose to make into a teaching assistant period for the librarian. One day, I come in during flu season feeling a bit under the weather and I start to check in newly-returned books like I do every day.)

Me: *grimacing as I sniffle a bit but continuing work*

Librarian: “[My Name], are you feeling all right?”

Me: “Hm? Oh… I’m feeling a little sick, yeah. I’m okay, though.”

Librarian: “Oh, well, if you’re feeling sick do you want to just sit in the back today?”

(She’s told me this before on another occasion a month or so ago, but both times I felt guilty about the idea of sitting out when there’s work to be done and I’m not really feeling TERRIBLE, per se… but I have been having a pretty annoying day.)

Me: “Uh… yeah, actually. I think that’d be good.”

Librarian: “Yeah, you can sit and read in the back!”

Librarian’s Assistant: *a woman in her 40s* “Oh, yes, take it easy.”

(I grab a graphic novel off the shelf that I’d been eyeing and head to the back room. [Librarian] follows me soon after, placing a box of tissues on the back desk.)

Librarian: *opening the cupboard* “Would you like a cup of tea?”

Me: *surprised* “Oh, uh… Yes, please!”

Librarian: “Well, we have green tea, some strawberry lemonade, earl grey… What would you like dear?”

Me: *still astonished* “Earl grey is black tea, right? That sounds good.”

Librarian: “All right, then!”

(She put a mugful of water in the microwave to heat up, then gave me the tea box and made sure I knew where the honey and stirring sticks were before going back to her duties. After a few minutes, I was sipping my tea — warm as my heart was by this point — and reading the graphic novel, and I thought about all the mean things my classmates had said about [Librarian] that they would never even dare to suggest if they knew how sweet and grandmotherly she was once you really got to know her. Not only did she and [Librarian’s Assistant] care about me and my well being, but [Librarian] always thanked me for my work when I walked out the door, despite the fact that I was obligated by the school rules to show up and do all tasks asked of me! I’m pretty busy this year, but I still stop by the library to say hi to those ladies, and whenever I hear someone saying something snippy about [Librarian] in passing, I scoff to myself and think about that cup of tea.)

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