how am i not myself?


the children went on a field trip to cabrillo community college today. joanna, luis, bernard and michael didn't make it. the bus driver looked more asian than mexican. he spoke with a loud, clear voice. "don't stand up or switch seats when the bus is moving," he warned. "stay where you are the whole time." it was clear he had been doing this for a long time. maybe too long. during the ride, the boys kept asking me to lean like a cholo. it's getting really annoying, and i feel really stupid every time i give into it. because i'm so indifferent, i lean like a half-ass cholo. i don't know why they like it so much. meagan explained, "wouldn't you like it if your teacher would do some strange, obscure dance?" i guess i would've liked to see some of my teachers dance back in the day. even now.

the field trip was a disaster. nothing was organized, none of us knew what was going to happen. meagan and i didn't even have a proper roster to call the names of our kids to see who was missing. our group took forever, stopping at every vending machine for hot cheetos (i didn't point out to anyone that it contained MSG...what that says about me, i'm not sure). the kids were indifferent, as usual, always dropping to an eerie silence whenever asked, "are there any questions?" but my favorite is the lazy, halfway raising of the hand when asked, "who here is thinking about going to college?" or even simpler questions, ones they don't really have reason to doubt themselves, such as: "who has a friend or relative in college now?" a hand will go up, then turn into a stretch, a scratching of the back. as if they might have thought it was college, but quickly realized, oh yeah, my older cousin's actually just working at home depot.

after the third session, a little after lunch, someone decided to pull the fire alarm at cabrillo college. unfortunately, i wasn't around to see who did it, but i suspected it was one of mine; specifically, juan. juan had already missed a full week, maybe two, of summer school, had no english skills at all, and often caused trouble in class because i don't think he's had any educational experience at all. i thought of him as candide, being yanked around from one location to another, hearing a language he obviously couldn't understand, and so thus decided to engage in an absurd act and pulled the fire alarm, terminating him from summer school altogether. okay, candide, and then mersault. but the person i felt for was tommy. liz stoll, the summer school director approached him, and for some reason, he told her things he couldn't tell me. then he talked with ms. fisher, the school principal. he looked very solemn and regretful when i asked him afterward what was wrong. i didn't have to be a cop to realize he'd sung like a canary.

class size now twenty-two.

2 comments:

sprout said...

hot cheetos, like heated cheetos (please say yes) or spicy cheetos?

Talking about Hard Times said...

spicy. the heated kind doesn't exist yet.