Friday, May 7, 2010

Dishing Up The Dinner

We were out late last night, chowing down at the academic banquet at Newmentia. The food was really good this year, perhaps due to the use of a different caterer. The beverages left a little to be desired. The kids were used to the cooler of canned soda from years past. Not this year. They had a choice of tea or watery pink lemonade. I'm not so sure it wasn't pink water. Given a blind taste test, I'm betting that 50% of tasters would say it was water. I let my kids go to my room and get a soda from the minifridge. My mom and I drank the weak pink lemonade. The meal was salad, pork loin, wild rice, some kind of beef rolled around some dressing, corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, hot rolls, and chocolate cake or a strawberry/jello/whipped cream concoction. Our cooks made the cakes, and that strawberry thingy is a Newmentia favorite.

Awards were doled out to the top 10% of each grade, from 6th through 12th. The salutatorian and valedictorian were officially announced. Academic teams were recognized. All in all, it ran like a well-oiled 90-minute machine. Now let's dish...

We left the building at 4:00, planning to return at 5:30 for the 6:00 dinner. Before leaving, The Pony and I went to look at the set-up. I saw a table for six in the corner that I figured would seat The Pony, #1, my mom, and me. That would leave only two seats for interlopers, and most kids bring two parents. I folded a piece of copy paper in half, and set it down on the program, along with my blue pen. I figured that people might think, "Oh, that table is taken," and walk on by. At worst, I would only be out a piece of paper and a pen I had found on the floor of my classroom.

When we got back, I sent The Pony to grab the table while I went in my classroom to change shoes. After we were seated, The Pony said, "Your paper was gone, but I got the table. I saw your paper and pen over there. Somebody wrote RESERVED on it." WTF? Who steals a piece of paper and pen? I kept my eye on that table. And I was not a bit surprised to see who sat there. I shan't name names, but it was two Newmentia employees and their daughters. One has been referred to by an insider as 'the witch who looks like she dresses out of the rag bag', and the other has been known to stir the pot in both buildings--Newmentia and Basementia. If my buddy Mabel is reading, she will no doubt peg them for their sunny dispositions, even though she is not the one who described them as above. I knew that no laymen would dare pick up my paper and pen. These two should have marked their own territory, not taken my materials. I was incensed. It doesn't take much. I was OH SO TEMPTED to walk by and say, "Oh, I marked MY table, but somebody picked up my placeholder. Can you believe it? The nerve of some people!" But I resisted.

Basementia Buddy was at the table next to us. She invited us to her long, medieval great hall table, but I declined, as I did not want my back to the proceedings. Basementia Buddy brought over a program and pointed to one specific class, and snarled with all the composure she could muster, "How the H*LL did that one make the top 10 percent?" I rolled my eyes in acquiescence. And I might or might not have stage-whispered, "Well, look at that whole group. It's just rock, paper, scissors." Which might have meant, if I had let it leave my lips, that shed is not filled with the sharpest of tools. Because I am a teacher. I give tests. I know the difference in the acquisition of knowledge, and the wheedling and cajoling and downright cloak-and-dagger procurement of homework answers with which to pad one's point total. There is more to learning than numbers on paper, you see. Numbers which may or may not be an accurate reflection of the ability of a student to eventually maintain gainful employment in the real world.

Oh, and while the majority of the evening was a pleasant interlude, a lack of manners reared its ugly head in the buffet line when a crony of #1 dared to cut into line right in front of me. I am sorry. I can not tolerate rudeness in the younger generation. Or any generation. I said quite loudly, no doubt to the dismay of the crony's mama who was right behind me with her other two ducklings, "Where are YOU going, Crony? What's that? You don't know? How about to the end of the line?" To which other of #1's cronies a bit further back shouted, "YEAH! You're only here because of Academic Team!" Kids can be so cruel, those top tens vs. the lowly academics. But I'll not be silenced in my Johnny-Appleseed-like spreading of etiquette. Because fair is fair. While I might overlook it at the school cafeteria student lunch line if I'm not on duty and nobody complains, I'll be darned if I'll not speak out when a kid blatantly thumbs his nose at any sense of propriety and shows a lack of respect to the elderly such as myself and my mom by cutting line right under my nose. #1 and a legally-in-line crony moved behind me with The Original Crony. But it still didn't satisfy the lesser cronies further back. I feel their outrage.

I'm a downright cranky b*tch, ain't I?


Kathy's Klothesline said...

I could never teach that age..... I don't like them. Give me the younger children, eager to please you and who respond with adoration. You are to be awarded saint hood for all you do!! Oh, and I feel that you will certainly think of an appropriate way to get back at the table thieves.... something devious that can't be traced back to you!

Hillbilly Mom said...

At the beginning of the year, the freshmen are eager to please me. But by third quarter, they have become jaded. I am a lowly fly in the ointment of their social lives.

I would never consciously plot revenge on these two. They have an inside track with an immediate superior. I, however, could trump them with a more superior superior if necessary. For now, I am content to sit in the catbird seat.