On one old, dark, winter morning my alarm clock malfunctioned. Normally I am an early riser, but that morning was an exception. I suddenly awoke with a jolt only to realize that I was going to be late if I didn’t leave IMMEDIATELY.
Scolding myself under my breath, I threw off my pajamas (why I didn’t leave them on I will never understand), dawned a winter coat, grabbed my underwear, a pair of slacks, a shirt, shoes, and socks. Then like a flash I flew out the door and jumped into my small, red, cold, Ford Escort. There I was in my freezing cold car, naked under my coat with a pile of clothes heaped in the passenger seat. I tore off on the long drive to school. Halfway to my destination my car sputtered and died. I was out of gas!
|The car lights were like spot|
lights zeroing in on me in
the back seat.
Finally dressed, I left the car and started walking toward the gas station when a pick up truck pulled along side. The young man driving the truck asked me if I need help. I told him about running out of gas and he offered to give me a lift. Shoving the visions of murder and mayhem out of my mind I thought to myself that he looked harmless (isn’t that what they always think). I got into his truck and he made an immediate U turn away from the gas station. My heart nearly jumped out of my throat. I asked him where he was going and he said he had to get a gas can. I was already hugging the door on the passenger side like a long lost lover, and pondered about how much it would hurt to jump. However, there I sat with my hand on the door latch anticipating my quick departure and the surely painful rolling stop my body would make. The truck slowed, then stopped, in front of a shabby house and the man jumped out and ran to the back of another truck (in my mind I was seeing a shotgun or an axe buried in the bed). What kept me rooted to that seat was either fear or stupidity. Then, I saw him swing a large gas can out of the bed of the truck and amble back to his vehicle.
He drove me back to my car and helped me put the gas in. Then I thanked him profusely and drove back to the gas station to fill up. By this time I was already late to work and I knew I was in for a major lecture from the principal.
When I arrived in my classroom the teacher’s aide told me that I needed to go to the principal’s office. That phrase brought back the dreaded memories of hearing that same message when I was a student. Believe me, it was still able to trigger the same response even as a teacher. Off I went, mentally rehearsing my story as I walked the long walk to his office.
When I stepped into his office I was greeted by a stern look. You see, I had been late a few times before and was already treading on thin ice. I apologized for my lateness and then launched into telling him about my drive to work, all of it, even the part about not being dressed.
He sat there for a while and just stared at me. Then he motioned to me and said, “Come with me.” I followed him into the outer office. There were two secretaries at their desks along with a few of the teachers. He sat me down on a stool and said, “Now, tell these people your story. If they believe you then so will I.”
|IN THE SPOTLIGHT|
By the way, when I got back to my classroom I noticed that my knit pants were on wrong side out, my sweater was on backwards, and I had put on two different colored socks. I won’t even comment on the state of my hair.