Monday, February 3, 2020

February Week One: Misdemeanors

Small confessions are best. Little things we do that perhaps are sins, perhaps are just bad judgment, and perhaps are merely figuring out how to get by in a world that often doesn't help folks get by. Small things. Misdemeanors and omissions and slip ups and tiny little private revenges. Those are the best. Mistakes aren't so much fun but little ways to even the score warm my heart.

Like when I would forget my fork for my lunch a few years back and take a plastic fork out of the cup my co-teacher brought in "for her use only." As if I was going to use up all her forks. Instead I just used one. And wiped it on my jeans each time and put it back in the cup. For her use only.

In my high school it was against some ridiculous rule to step on the school shield that was unwisely placed right inside the front doors to the school. Large ficus trees and rotating plants cradled around the shield to remind us to walk around. Walk around! The fat priest would yell out at us, sweating on his neck as he pointed, his arm flab wobbling around. Then when I was first in class but not picked to be valedictorian, I told the priest what I thought of him, and seventeen year old me walked to the front doors of the school and jumped up and down on that damned shield, each flat footed landing like a gunshot down the hall.

I got bought out of my teaching contract. It was at the end of a very long month that started with my moving into my parents' house and navigating what it was like to only see my kids 50% of the time. I was bought out of my contract--ironically for things I DIDN'T do--and my parents were in Europe and I didn't tell them and I would cry myself to sleep. Then came the day when I was going to go clean out my classroom. The vice principal and my old partner teacher (not the one with the forks) met me there on a misting Saturday right near my birthday in October. I started packing up and Jenna would ask, "Are these yours?" and the answer was always yes. Yes. The books, the manipulatives, the fucking magnetic name tags on the kids' lockers, the compasses and pens and pencils and crayons and paper clips and yes it is all mine. I took it all home to my parents' house and sorted it all, mine and not mine, in the alley. I threw away almost everything, nearly filling a dumpster. And then I slapped some of those magnets on the dumpsters up and down the alley: Doug, Ava, Tim, Madison, all the little white brat names. They were trash, the school was trash, it was all fucking trash. Eventually the city spray painted over them like they were graffiti. Obliterating them.

Our favorite Irish (big on the -ish part of Ir-ish there) pub shut down and we tried another one--it was  local chain of a few locations that shut down its heart, its original place. I never trust an establishment that does that, forgets its roots. At some point in the dinner conversation I started to cry--but I cry a lot and it wasn't that big of a deal in the end, considering I don't even remember the reason--and asked the waitress to bring us two shots of an Irish (real Irish, not -ish) whiskey we liked. She pretended she didn't know the brand. She went to the bar and came back and said they were out and she could get us another appetizer or some bread? We realized she thought I'd been overserved, the teary blotchy faced girl, when in reality I was only one beer in and had finished a burger and fries. We paid the bill and left out the back door. I stole an umbrella and it wasn't even raining. It's still in my car.


  1. I love this - the little revenges, the "mine and not mine." It's so nice to be reading you again. Good start to the 2020 project!

  2. Love the shield story! And the umbrella too.

  3. Yes yes yes. So many great stories and details here... so even though I love the ending, I didn't want it to end.

  4. "Mistakes aren't so much fun but little ways to even the score warm my heart." Oh, yes. And it's amazing how being told can make one have to do the very thing.

  5. I loved reading this. It feels like now time has passed since we were doing our 365 blogs (some more successfully than others). I am so looking forward to the rest.