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A Charming Tale of Rainbow Snot

28 Oct

Much like mice that harbor bedbugs, children are the carriers all things bacterial, viral, and otherwise bad for health. Plus, they give me heart attacks. Since I started teaching preschool (again) (mistake) barely two months ago, I have been sick with a variety of illnesses afflicting nearly all parts of the body…including heart attacks. I’m fairly sure that I’ve had up to seven heart attacks a day since September.  Oh, and did I mention that I’m not even technically teaching?

Oh, okay, let me clarify. I’m assisting. And by assisting I mean things like this happen: the actual teacher and I are standing within equal distance of a child with rainbow mucous streaming down her face. Actual teacher says to assistant teacher, “Oh, could you help her wipe her nose?” (oh, by the way, why me?) No. Because helping her makes exposure to the rainbow snot plus the possibility of being covered in it a sure bet.  Not to mention that I am already internally vomiting by seeing it slugbubble out of her nose. No.

By “help her” actual teacher means “do it for her” which means? Now I am contaminated. Because even though I feel like saying a big fat overemphasized “NO!” I do it. And while I wipe and cringe, rainbow snot germs crawl into my pores, disperse through my veins and hitch directly into my lungs where they send out all of the rainbow army into every area of my body that can produce and store large amounts of phlegm. Plus I have three heart attacks right then because I know what is happening. I know what that freaking rainbow snot army is up to.

It doesn’t matter how many times I scrub my hands. Or how many times the little ones scrub their hands. The concept of germs with children does not compute. If they can’t see the germs (i.e. the snot, the pee, the poo, the GERMS!) it does not require washing. The only thing kids believe in that they can’t see is Santa Claus. Because he brings presents. But invisible germs make you sneeze and cough and feel yucky?! No way.

So the wee one in question is finally coerced to wash her little fingers and pat them dry…and ahhhhhhhh, she snakes one little pointer finger back up the nostril it came out of and for good measure the other hand trails back down the rear end of her little fuchsia corduroy pants with the pink satin hearts on the back pockets. Adorable. Great. More whooping cough. More boogers. More e. coli. Thanks. I always need a little e. coli and a heart attack with lunch.

And here’s the real thing of it. The preschool where I work is on a lovely piece of land out in the country in a rustic home and it is truly magical. The beauty of the surroundings plus the organic home cooked lunches make it rather pricey. So the children attending have parents who let’s just saaaayyyyy, can afford it. And most of the mom’s are stay-at-home. So, if their child is sick enough to stay home the only thing that is interrupted, seriously, is yoga. And mayyyyybbbeeeee tea with the girls after reaching proper consciousness at yoga class. At other preschools where I’ve taught, a child’s sick day can cost a parent’s work day. That, I get. Other arrangements still must be made but…but in the current preschool…conjuring up stories (or, benefit of the doubt…a medical information error…) about how your child’s fluorescent snot is not contagious to get out of bringing your sick child home with you when only your yoga class will be disrupted??? Seriously. Moms. Seriously.

Oh, and more importantly so I am not the total naysayer…with warmest appreciation, I thank the moms and dads who keep their sick kids at home. They are learning how to care for themselves by watching you care for them!

So yes, I rant. I rant for the week’s pay I lost from BOTH jobs because those who send their children in sick.

Simultaneously, I make some decisions. I have to do something to make money. But accountability is key and this I know is true: children are not my thing; I can do without the germs and heart attacks.

What I do know is: for the rest of my life the very most important things for me to practice are writing, publishing, and performing poetry, listening, learning, reveling in silence as a form of communication as well as learning to choose words that matter when I speak, making connections, riding my bike, seeing the world, and being creative…thinking larger than my immediate horizons.

And also? I don’t do “kid” posts. This is the last one. You’ve got my word.

*(oh p.s. thanks to www.accessv.com/~shawgrp for the rockin’ 1980’s Rainbow Brite Image)

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Bargain Grocery Outlet: Field Notes

3 Aug

It’s a parallel universe…a warp world. My first trip ever to Bargain Grocery Outlet. Thoroughly intrigued by my immediate sensory thrill (and slight overall discomfort), I suggest that we walk down every aisle even though we are there for just two items.

Our first encounter: a mildly cross eyed twenty-something male employee stands just beyond the sliding door entrance.

An older woman with salt and pepper hair pauses, just past the cross eyed guy. Her eyes locked on the shopping carts askew on “the outside”, she is thrown off course because we pass and momentarily obscure them from her vision.

She looks like a spooked horse. Arms straight down at her sides, she spreads her fingers to maximum webbing and rears her head back looking down at us, grimacing.  Had she been doing exactly the same thing on her back on the ground I would’ve been sure she was having a seizure and probably would’ve held her head for her if someone wasn’t already doing that. But since she was standing and ambulating? Not quite sure what to make of it.

The floral department: a miniscule rack of flowers dyed unnatural shades of turquoise, canary yellow, and fuschia like a second grade science experiment with food color and water in which the veins of celery and flowers are highlighted as they suck FD&C Red No. 2 and water from the vessel in which they are submerged.

Detergent aisle: overpowered with the scent of mothballs reminiscent of basement shops in Chinatown, all shops in Taiwan, and my grandmother’s closets. So many brilliant colors of sponges and convenience pack Jell-O. That’s what I notice. All the colors.

Produce: The vast crate of corn, 5/$1.00 and a trash can filled with husks. And shabby little sacks of wrinkly little fruits.

Endcaps: Bedecked with packs of totally nonsexual items…yet are easy to turn into juvenile jokes:  “Big Soft” cookies, “Stubby” tool sets.

Other endcaps: rows and cases of extra large portable varieties of cheap beers: Bud Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon…all in bottle and can sizes you just don’t see in real life…unless they are lying empty next to a vagrant asleep in a park, on a sidewalk or in a doorway in San Francisco. Or, in a frat house…the morning after some strange ritual that requires  family size beer…yeah, you know, because hops are good for the wee ones.

Rows of canned goods: canned ham, spam, Willie’s Chili, or Willie’s Pork and Beans, Spaghetti and meatballs, hash, sardines…Okay, side note: this is a public “outing”…let it be known that my very own mother used to make spam hash. When I saw the stacked cans of Spam, I immediately tasted Ketchup and crispy fried potatoes. The Spam I don’t so much recall as it would be drowning in FD&C Red No. 2 Ketchup from back in the day.

And cookies: galletas, Mother’s, pink cream wafers…the ones that made me salivate as a child. The ones that leave a waxy fat film on the roof of your mouth and tongue. Interestingly, they did not carry the pastel frosted animal cookies with rainbow sprinkles. My childhood personal favorite. Did/does anyone else favor the pink pastel animal cookies because they “taste better”? Or is this just me?

Shortly thereafter: Cheap wine, candy, sodas, impulse buy trinkets.

At the registers: In front of us, an older woman dons hot pink leggings, a black lace dress, a matching pink lei and pink wide brimmed sunhat, wire rim glasses, hair in pigtails and glitter woven throughout the lace and tassels of her dress. She has a thick east coast accent. She snips and snaps at the children with her. I can’t tell if she’s Grandma or Ma. She squints hard at the screen bearing her order’s total and asks, what’s the damage?

Behind us: A younger woman who looks old. Her pale thighs are covered in dark, inky tats. They sprout out of short cutoff denim shorts. She broadcasts in a loud monotone to her toddler-something child: NO, YOU DON’T GET TO GET THAT BECAUSE YOUR BEHAVIOR WASN’T GOOD ENOUGH. IF YOUR BEHAVIOR ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH YOU DON’T GET TO GET PRIVILEGES. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT!? YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT!!!

By this time it’s our turn to pay for our measly 3 pack of blue scrubby sponges and 4 pack of Angel Soft Bathroom Tissue, signs for both items boasting that elsewhere the products cost over $1.00 more. At a total of $4.58 we pay and scramble for the door. On the way out we are again face to face with the cross eyed employee, standing in about the same place. He watches us blankly. Or maybe he isn’t. Who can tell when eyeballs aren’t aligned? At any rate, he stands doing something with a pallet jack bearing produce…a vast crate of watermelons.

It is dusk.