After teaching for about a decade, I have met and worked closely with a crap load of teenagers. These kiddies then (hopefully) graduate and go on to become pencil pushing, metal grinding, tax paying citizens, and naturally you run into them in various locations around the city from retail to restaurants.
When teacher and student meet beyond the walls of a high school a number of things can happen. Typically we smile, approach, engage in some small talk, and maybe end with a side hug. Sometimes we mutually ignore one another. Now this is either because the kid's a complete shithead in class or wants to appear cool in his or her social setting and we, as adults, can sort of sense this and keep our distance.
Most teachers have positive stories to tell when encountering students outside the class. I've heard so many fellow teachers brag about deals they've received from previous students. It might be a percentage discount on a meal or retail item, or an extra ticket to an event, but everyone seems to be getting some inside scoop from their students. There's some sort of benefit.
However, I on the other hand have a different sense of notoriety.
Whenever I run into students--either current or previous--I am without a doubt a hot mess.
In my earlier years I actually lived close to the school in which I taught. This was a mistake.
Although the travel time was minimal, the other conflicts made it a nightmare. Case in point: it was a Saturday afternoon and after somewhat recovering from Friday's hangover, I was in the local grocery store picking up ammunition for that night including cigarettes (I know, I know), a case of beer and two bottles of wine, and of course, tampons. I have a sloppy side ponytail and my mascara is still smudged around my eyes from last night.
So who is the check out of this aisle?
Oh, it's just John from second period English.
Me: not making eye contact, "Uh, hey John. I forgot you work here...."
John: "Hey miss," as he's scanning my groceries.
Me: "Yeah, good for you! Oh, I'm having a little get together tonight, as you can see" with a clearly awkward smile.
John: Grinning. "Alright miss. You want ice?"
Me: "Ice? Yeah...for the guests. Good idea. Thank you."
Was I having a party that night?
Of course not.
That was just wine for the week and beer before I went out that night. But now I have all this stupid ice.
Another little special meet and greet was at our local spring that's sort of like a really cool local pool. Or rather, it's cool if you're a teenager, a parent taking your child out or old.
If you're somewhat in between that, it's awkward because you WILL see someone you don't want to. For me, it was Jordan, a really sweet but distracted kid I had two years ago. I'm laying out on the hill with some friends minding my own business when I can feel someone staring at me and then after sitting up, I hear my name being called. I focus in and yes, it's Jordan.
And that's when I see what he's holding.
A giant bong.
I stop waving. I lean in and alert my friends to this very special little scene unfolding. Jordan is telling his friends that it's me, they wave, and then finally, he looks down and I hear from about twenty feet away, "Oh, shit, y'all! My bong!" Thankfully they lost the game of chicken and left first.
And finally, my most recent run in with fame. And I wasn't even lucky enough for this to be a solitary student. This also involved a parent of a different student. This occurred at a place where you really don't want to know anyone. This place is personal. This place involves some nudity and consequently some vulnerability. This place is the salon where I have parts of my body waxed.
I walk in and instantly the two ladies (one much older than the other) behind the counter smile, look at each other and say in unison, "Yep, it's her!"
Apparently they recognized my name and were just waiting for me to enter in person to confirm it.
Yes. It's me.
I'm here for a bikini, eyebrow and upper lip wax.
And now I'm fucking mortified.
What are we anyway, seals? But I digress...
Less painful than the actual ripping of hair from my body was making small talk with these women, especially the mother whom felt compelled to share with me all the wonderful places her son has been. Now, I enjoy hearing about the success of the kids, but just not here. Not now.
All I want is to hurry home, hide my red and swollen face, and put some ice on my ta-ta.