Friday finally found us, gasping for breath and staring at the clock. It was the last day of a very long week. It was also not the best day for me to wear a dress to work. The weather has turned muggy and none of us were handling it very well.
I was telling my teacher that the one thing I love about working for the school district is the same thing I hate about working for the school district.
“The kids?” she asked.
“No, actually, I was referring to summer vacation. A nice long break of doing whatever I want, whenever I want, including getting things done during business hours…Then, all of a sudden, here comes September and POW! I'm back doing the alarm/snooze thing then ferreting around in the pile for clean clothes.”
“Yeah,” she said, “it was REALLY hard to come back to work. But I kind of like the paycheck, so I come back for another nine months of IEP’s, crazy parents, not enough money, and those songs we play every day and longing for summer break.”
“Those songs live in my brain when I’m not here. I will occasionally break out in the ABC rap song while shopping for groceries. It amuses few who hear it.”
“Rappin’ m’ ABC’s! Rappin’ m’ ABC’s! oooh! Oooh!”
“Yeah, that’s the one. You may kill me now.”
It takes all of us a good month to reacclimatize to being back in the swing of things, and the hardest part is not showing it around the kids. Not that they won’t pick up on it or anything when they see us with that thousand-yard stare at the end of the day, while chaos is running amok and groping everyone.
Yes, I said groping. We have a groper. A charmer for sure, and very affectionate, but at times a little too friendly. The first day he was with us, he walked up and patted my boobs. “That’s not ok, honey. We keep our hands to ourselves.”
He was back, moments later. “Look, kid,” I said, removing his hands from my bosom, “it is not ok to do that even if you close your eyes.”
While we were getting ready for morning calendar time, he indicated I was to sit next to him. I complied with his wishes and that’s when I learned he had more than just the one wish where I sit next to him. “Oops!there’s your hand,” I said as I moved it out from under my leg. Moments later: “Oops! There’s your hand again!” only this time I moved it from my lap. Cheeky fellow.
Anyway, we’re learning about our new students, and Mr. Cheek is full of surprises. He’s quite fond of folding chairs and would carry one everywhere if we let him. We don’t, which is why he gets so cranky and hitty. According to his former teacher, he only does that when he’s comfortable with someone. I would be fine dealing with the sniffing (yes, sniffing) and groping, but the hitting and scratching is starting to suck and we’re only in our second week. But I’ve figured out that there are things he really likes (besides boobs) and watching the custodian is big on his list.
Unfortunately, the Custodian is an ass and being in the same room with him gives me hives. He’s one of those “gods gift to women” types and who doesn’t like a guy like that? Besides me, that is. Ill-mannered, slimy, uncouth, opinionated, probably believes supermarket tabloids are reputable newspapers. He pounds his chest and flaunts his…machismo at every turn.
And I have to follow him around a few hours every damn day because Mr. Cheek loves to do janitorial stuff, as long as it means pushing things around, yelling, and moving folding chairs. It’s kind of like walking behind the horses in a parade. Not always the most pleasant place to be on a hot day, especially while wearing a dress.
Mr. Cheek is also very fond of bathrooms and will spend a lot of time in them, flushing, standing around, turning on the hand dryer and playing in the sink. His favorite restrooms are at the park near the school where we occasionally go for a walk. They are filthy and I have to make sure he doesn’t touch anything gross or remove his shoes at any point.
Mr. Cheek and I were in the men's restroom while one of the other paras was waiting right outside. Everything was fine until she said, “There’s a guy coming this way, you should probably leave.”
“Well, that would be nice, only he’s not really interested in leaving.”
“Is he just standing there staring?”
“Yes. Oh! No! Don’t take off your shoes! Oh! Oh! Oh!” I made a mad dive for the unshoed foot before it touched the filthy floor, then nearly burst a blood vessel trying to get the shoe back on his foot while simultaneously keeping him from touching the toilet seat, which was right next to my head.
“I guess that guy didn’t need to go to the bathroom after all. He turned and walked away.”
“He can go pee on a tree for all I care; I need your help getting this one out of here.”
“I don’t want to go into the men’s room. It’s disgusting.”
I poked my head out of the stall and glared at her. “No! Really? And here I am, wearing a dress for the occasion.”
We headed back to go to lunch, Mr. Cheek alternating between hitting, sniffing, scratching, and groping me, while I looked like some kind of spastic interpretive dancer, ducking, dodging, evading and blocking. Tam and I really need to work on our future plans, because as funny as this job can be, I’d like to retire with a little bit of my dignity intact.