…and not happy, nice, comforting, she-just-got-fired-amidst-accusations-of-bestiality sorts of news…
Emily just came home, just a little while ago. She was late, which is no surprise – both because it’s Emily and because she had an after-school band practice. But even with that in mind, she was late: nearing 4:00, and the regular school day gets out at 2:45. I wasn’t yet worried, because the previous two after-school band practices ran to about 3:15 but the parade for which they are after-school practicing is this Thursday, and I’ve been in a marching band. I know that every once in a while, the occasional band director can get a little, shall we say, intense and spastic, as the performance date looms.
So, not yet worried, but I had written “Worry about Emily” into my agenda beginning at 4:00. (It’s good to have a special planner just for Mommy Guilt and Worry About Children, because if you include it in your regular planner it can obscure other entries like “Get in Argument with Husband” and “Attend Own Funeral.”)
At about 3:55, she walked in the door. Well, more limped, really, accompanied by much moaning and drama. I was all set to poke at her a little, because I had carefully reminded her, this morning, to call me at the end of practice so that I could come pick her up, and ha ha, isn’t this a good reinforcement of why it’s good to listen to your mother, now what do you want for —
Wait, what? Rewind a few seconds, please. That last thing you just moaned, the part I was all set to ignore because I thought you were just complaining about your band teacher and how unreasonable it is to expect you to do something awful like practice. Say that again.
“Principal Mannish is so mean!”
Well, yes, I know. But what does that have to do with this?
According to Emily, everything. She says she went to the main office at the end of practice – bypassing a number of her cell-phone-infested friends (of which Emily recently was, until a new infraction at home resulted in a grounding away from all handheld media for a while) and Gawd knows how many other working phones en route – and had the following experience:
I walked into office at about 3:15, when band practice was all done. There were two women in there, a secretary and Mrs. Mannish. The secretary said, “Can I help you?” and then Mrs. Mannish said, “What do you need?” both at about the same time.
I said, “May I please use the phone to call my mom to come pick me up?” The secretary put her headset back on and went back to her other work, and Mrs. Mannish said, “What is your name?”
I told her what it was, and she typed something into a computer and looked at the screen, and then she said, “No, you can’t use the phone. See if you can find a friend whose phone you can use.”
Upon further interrogation by Mom – immediately after several new aneurysms simultaneously appeared inside my brain, but before I started bleeding profusely from both ears – Emily wasn’t able to say with 100% certainty that she really said that last sentence; she might have said something about the phones not working or whatever instead. When I explained why it mattered – “One of those things is an inconvenience. The other is a potential lawsuit.” – she thought about it and admitted she really didn’t remember, because as soon as she heard the word No she kind of tuned out and resigned herself to the walk home.
Then, the more I thought about it, I decided, well, it doesn’t really matter which sort of reason Mrs. Mannish offered, but I could certainly rule out the reality of the phones-not-working one. So I called the school’s main number and it was instantly answered: not just by a person, but by Mrs. Mannish, herself.
Rather than speak to her while I was trembling on the edge of incoherent rage, I decided to just mumble a “wrong number” sort of excuse and hang up. And given the time of day, I decided I wasn’t likely to be able to reach any of those in her line of supervision – whether I waited until I was no longer trembling with homicidality or I called right then and there, seeing as how school administrators are rarely in their offices after 3:00, and certainly not after 4:00, and this wasn’t likely to be a quick little chat.
Lots of deep breaths and oooohhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmm on my schedule for the rest of the night, in hopes that it might just help restore a tiny bit of my current, situational sanity sometime in the next decade.