I am that kid.
First day of school, teacher proudly organized, in charge, forgets she is addressing humans not machines programmed to comply. I cannot tolerate oppression: authority already overbearing in my life. I am a pressure cooker, combustible, ready to explode, like an uncorked grenade counting down the seconds.
“We need to set some guidelines, Class,” she’ll say in her nasal attempt-at-composure voice, and the do-gooders will sit up straighter and smile encouragement, and I will not be among them. I won’t want to be there.
Then we’ll trundle off to the library – “Stay together, voices down” – and sign onto useless, old computers, and pledge to respect that which is unrespectable, and the bomb will go off. I am certain of it.
She’ll put us in little groups, assign the nerds with slow kids, and losers with high achievers (just to emphasize that we need extra control). Setting good examples, they call it. I call it bullshit. Some powder puff beauty and a scholarly jock wannabe, no doubt – plastics who are so far from what I could ever aspire to be. What are teachers thinking?
Want results? Just give me a corner, and leave me to my own devices. Give me the assignment and let go. I’m no dummy – don’t need anchors to hold me down. All I’ll do is fight harder.
By now I’ll be ticking, just as Teach asks us to sign our names on a piece of paper (of course, I won’t have a writing instrument – that would look too eager), I’ll stroll over to the librarian’s desk and help myself to one of his stash, most likely upsetting the whole bunch, spilling markers and pencils everywhere. The neophytes will giggle, and the hounds bray like donkeys, and the teacher, her neck turning a particular shade of mottled pink will descend on me nostrils flaring.
“Is this how’s it’s going to go this semester, Miss….”
“Ms.” I’ll correct her, maintaining an air of nonchalance. “It’s Ms.; I prefer not to be labelled according to my marital status.”
She’ll be taken aback momentarily, and then order me to pick up the mess and apologize to the librarian.
“Yeah; SORRY ABOUT THAT!” I’ll call across the room to where a man will be hiding behind the book stacks.
“Not like that!” She’ll fume.
“God, can’t I do anything right?” I’ll have the whole room now, eyes glued to my riveting performance.
“March right to the office, young lady!” she’ll spew, her rage now ice-cold. “I’ll be along shortly.”
“Then what will you do?”
Her wheels will be smoking by then, her mind reaching for something, anything to defuse the situation – to tame me.
“Call your parents!”
The dreaded call-the-parents.
“Good luck,” I’ll say dismissively waving as I make my exit. “Let me know if you find them.”
See what I mean: I’m that kid.
Writer, avid reader, former educator, and proud grandmother, currently experiencing life through the lens of ME/CFS. Words are, and always have been, a lifeline. Some of the best adventures, I'm discovering, take place in the imagination.