Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Sassy? I like it.
I have taught (32 years) and lived (all my life) in the same area. One of the drawbacks to that life fact is that I never, I mean, never know when I'm gonna run into someone I know --
When I see a face I recognize, my Rolodex of memory begins to scroll, and my mind asks these questions:
Do I know you from church?
Are you a bitter parent?
Did I teach you when I was 12?
Did you pass?
Who are you?
Are you still stupid?
I'm sure a mathematician could figure out the probabilities, but I'm just guessing that any place that I happened to visit, my chances of running into a former student or parent or someone I know is 1 in 3.
At Costco one time, I ran into 11 people I knew. I thought I would never get out of there.
Today at lunch the waitress who waited on me was a graduate of KMHS, class of 2003.
When I saw her face, I knew I knew her, but I couldn't recall her name, but I was pretty sure she was a former student.
Which high school was it?
What did I teach her?
Did I like her?
Was she stupid?
What kinds of stupid things did I say?
She comes running up to me in the restaurant.
Her: Mrs. Gillham. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Me: Hey. Hi. How are you? EEEE. [sweats a little]
Her: [face falls a little] You don't' remember me?
Me: I know your face. I know I taught you. You're gonna have to just give it to me, or I may never be able to retrieve it. Don't make me wait. I'm old now. Retired. I have limited time.
Me: Yep, British Literature - -you sat in the last seat by the door, and that crazy girl sat in front of you.
Julie: Diana. How did you remember that?
Me: 90 minutes every day for 90 days -- some things are burned onto the brain. Names not so much, but where you sat, what I taught you, crazy things that happened or were said comes rushing back like an acid trip. I never forget that part -- but names, for some reason, elude me.
Julie: When I saw you walk in, I told the other wait staff that you were my teacher, and that I bet you didn't remember me.
Me: I hope you bet a lot of money.
Julie: I told them that you were the best teacher I ever had.
Me: Tell me more. :)
[I love it when they lie like that -- ]
Julie: Seriously, the first day I walked out of your class I thought "Is she really a teacher? Are the gods messing with me? She's all sassy and stuff."
Me: Sassy? Really.
Girlfriend who was with me: *chuckles* I can't imagine. [dripping with sarcasm]
Julie: Yep, I loved that class - I had come from an English teacher who was a dour as a grandmaw, and I came into your class and there you were -- live, sassy, and funny as hell.
Me: Did you ask really if I was a teacher?
Julie: Yep, you were just all kinds of crazy, and I had never had that before.
Me: All kinds of crazy? I know that was a good thing.
Julie: Totally a good thing.
So, Julie was my waitress, now a graduate of Shorter with a BA in Drama. She is saving money to get married and move to Chicago, where her fiance will go to graduate school.
Aw. Young love. The promises of life.
I love running into former students who aren't homeless, crack addicts, or holding up banks, and watching General Hospital... it makes me all giddy when they are successful, hopeful, and setting goals.
This time -- I loved that I caught up with Julie, who is smart and vivacious with the whole world ahead of her, and she called me "sassy."
I like it.