Friday, July 18, 2008

teachers and toilet paper

as i was leaving school today (teacher workdays start monday, the joys of year-round schooling) my sister-in-law texted to let me know we were out of toilet paper. without thinking i drove to the safeway nearby my school to run in and grab the needed toiletry.

i clutched the large package of toilet paper close to my chest and i hurried toward the front of the store. out of the corner of my eye i caught one of my kiddos from last year.

"Hi F!" I called happily, "How is your summer?"

his big eyes looked at me curiously, but he said nothing. Thinking that was odd since he's quite a talkative and fearless little boy i kept talking.

"so are you ready for first grade?"

his eyes moved to the package of toilet paper, a look of horror spreading across his face. and that's when it hit me. for the first time in his little life it was occurring to him that yes, teachers use toilet paper. they even go to the bathroom.

his car ended up being parked near mine and so his family and i walked out together, his eyes still staring in horror at my purchase.

"see you soon!" i called, climbing into my car. he waved silently.

i've gone out of my way not to buy alcohol at this safeway (which is a shame because it has a fabulous wine selection), but it never occurred to me not to buy toilet paper there. i guess i forgot that one of the magical elements of being a child is believing your teachers live at school and are only there to serve you.

i once run into a parent while buying a rather large case of beer. (i don't normally buy in bulk, but it was on sale, and they didn't have the kind i wanted in a 6 OR 12 pack). i wasn't even at a store near my school, but one near where i lived at the time, far, far away from where i usually run into kiddos. standing in the line holding the heavy case i heard a laugh. one of my mothers was standing in the line across from me with a HUGE smile on her face. she wasn't a mother who was particularly warm to teachers, and i had just reached the point with her that she would call me by name and not by her child's previous teacher's name. in broken english she said, "good weekend?!" and laughed again. the next time i saw her in school she hugged me and kissed me on both cheeks. maybe i should buy beer at my school's local safeway...

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