Saturday, August 25, 2007


Now it is time to tell the tale of my afterschool outing on Friday. Pull up a pillow. Sit at the knee of the master storyteller. Eavesdrop on the secret shenanigans of teachers after a long week of babysitting other people's kids. Don't hate us because we have summers off...hate us because we are public servants.

All right. Is everbody comfortable? Let's begin. Last spring, four of us began the habit of meeting after school once a week to decompress, eat some wings, and play bar trivia. Let it be know that we did not sit in the bar part of the restaurant, and that the trivia was just a TV screen and those Playmaker electronic game box thingies. Which over the summer, I might add, one of the teachers wanted to take back to school, sit down at a meeting, and tell everyone, "Look. WE got new laptops." Which was not as funny once school started this year, and I found out all traveling teachers did indeed get new laptops. Real ones. Not Playmakers. But on with the story.

I took my 12-year-old genius, and my Lower Basementia buddy brought her 5th grader and a colleague's 2nd grader. Only my self-proclaimed Genius played the trivia with us. Two other colleagues, who shall go by their Playmaker names, joined us shortly. In fact, I shall identify everyone by their Playmaker names. Here is your cast of characters:

Bad Co-ME
Genius-my 12 year old
Roast-LB Mathie
Mystro-male colleague
H-male colleague sorely lacking in imagination
G5-fifth grade boy
G2-second grade boy

We all ordered food, shoved some quarters at the two small fry for game playing, and jumped right into a round about sluts in literature. I proudly lay claim to winning that one, as H admitted that he had only read one book in his life.

G2 won some big bouncy balls, and commenced to bouncing them off the walls, which were hung with sports memorabilia like jerseys and hockey sticks and whatnot. Roast cautioned him to settle down, and for G5 to watch him closer. The food arrived, which included actual Wings for G5, Chicken Strips for G2, SuperNachos for me, Chicken Fingers for my boy, a Bloomin' Onion for Roast, Chicken Fingers for H The Unimaginative Illiterate, because he probably couldn't read the menu and just copied my son, and a Pizza for Mystro. Oh, and everybody had a different beverage as well. The poor waitress had another waitress help her carry it out. And we told her that it would be separate tickets with 3 here and 2 there and individuals for H and Mystro, and she took it pretty well. Little did she know...

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I held onto my lead for quite a few rounds. Mystro was hot on my tail after trudging past Genius, who was too young to realize the TV profession of Lynn Belvedere, the cop show starring Dennis Weaver, or the ditzy blonde on SNL. Roast, perennially a top contender, had fallen into the basement, below even the lowly H. G5, anihilating a plate of wings across the table from me, wearing a wide clown mouth of saucy goodness, motioned at his mouth and raised his eyebrows in the universal signal for "Do I have any food on my face?" I told him yes, all around, and told Genius to rip him off a paper towel. G5 said, "Thanks" and set it down next to his plate. In case he needed it, I suppose. G2 took a break from kicking my foot under the table to knock over the mustard (at the other end of the table) with a striped bouncy ball, and say to G5, "You look like a PIG. Oink oink." G5 ignored it, so entrenched in ripping flesh from the chicken bones and shouting out answers that an insult could not break his rhythm. G2 begged him to play some more games. Roast dug out some more money and told G5 to go do something and stop yelling out answers, because he was driving her crazy and she couldn't concentrate. He replied, "You're only mad because you're losing."

Some questions pertaining to electric cars (Chrysler was not the company to introduce them) and the Riviera (it's not in Brazil. Who knew?) threw me off stride, and Mystro took the lead. I told him there was a reason we did not tell him the time until 45 minutes before our play date, which was kind of a low blow, because he came in paranoid that we did not really want him, because H was supposed to tell him, but we should know by now not to rely on H.

There was a break in the action, so Genius decided to go to the bathroom. That was good news for us, because there was some hot and heavy gossiping to do out of range of his tender ears. He came back about 10 minutes later, and said, "I'm giving up. The door has been locked ever since I went over there." Then G2 ran up and asked me where G5 went, which was a bit disconcerting because it was not my day to watch either one of them. Then we figured out that G5 was in the bathroom. And here he came now, looking sheepish, and plopped down at the table, and whispered, "The toilet is clogged." Roast said, "Didnt' you tell anybody?" and he shook his head, and she said, "Well what are they supposed to do, Son, just find it?" G5 shrugged his shoulders. "I don't care how they find it." Roast told him, "You need to go up and tell them it's clogged." With that, Mystro declared, "NO! I have to go." He traipsed off to the Men's Room, the door of which was visible from our table. We all turned to watch. He opened the door. "Oh, the humanity!" "I can't believe he's going in there." And the last word from G5, "He is SO brave!"

G5, still snorting and giggling over the clogged toilet faux pas, started playing with his Sprite, which was in a white foam cup from which he'd removed the plastic lid. It tipped over and spilled on the table, pouring through the cracks. Genius jumped up, shouting, "It's pouring down my leg! I'm not sitting with you losers!" He moved his chair out into the middle of the room, not even at a table, Playmaker on his lap. Mystro returned. We eyed him expectantly. "The bathroom report: Urinal, fine. Toilet, clogged." G5 mopped at the spilled soda with some soggy paper towels. Our waitress showed up, helper in tow. "Did someone make a mess?" Nobody else said anything. "I think he made a couple of messes, " I squealed, like the narc that I am. "I'm sure glad he's not MY son." I held my arm up behind Roast's back, pointing at her head. H and the Mystro were giggling like schoolgirls. The poor waitress could tell that something was up. She must have thought the kid stuffed the toilet with paper as a prank or something. She cleared up the soda mess and was back in a jiffy. She pointed to the Men's Room. There was a plunger and a bucket of cleansers. "I got you some supplies," she said. And G5 went and took them into the Men's Room. Roast didn't say anything. I was shocked. I would not let MY boy clean a public toilet, even if he had messed it up. Not that I'm high and mighty, or worried about disease, but I KNOW the kind of cleaning my boy would do. And it would not be pretty. Anyhoo, I suppose Roast and I diverge here in our childrearing practices, as she obviously encourages responsibility in her children. After all, mine wanted me to walk him into the school building holding his hand until the second half of his third grade year. Hers told her the second day of Kindergarten, "Just let me out in the parking lot."

While the boy was scrubbing, I leaned over to Roast. "I hope you're not mad that I outed your clogger. But remember, oh...four years ago, when my boy acted the fool at the Christmas Program, what with kicking his loafer over the music teacher's head, and pulling his pants up like bikini bottoms, and karate chopping the boy behind him, and pulling the belt off that little girl's dress, and leaning over to smell the embroidered flower on that other little girl's dress? Yeah, and when all those people around you asked, "Whose kid is THAT?" you said, "Oh, that's that little Hillbilly boy." Well, I've waited for years to get my revenge, and this is the big payback!" She laughed. She leaned over and rubbed her hands together like Montgomery Burns, mumbling, "I'll get even with her one day." I think she was impersonating me. That's OK. Now we're Even Steven.

G5 returned from his janitorial internship. He picked up his cup. "Hey! Where's my soda?" Genius turned from his conspicuous seat in the middle of the room. "You poured it down my sock. Don't you remember?" G5 tilted his head. "Oh, yeah."

My mom called for the fourth time to tell us about severe storm warnings in our area, with 60 mph winds. We decided to call it a day. Mystro won on the last five questions, just like last time. Roast gathered the young 'uns. The waitress brought our individual bills. I felt sorry for her. I gave her a $5.55 tip on a $17.45 bill.

Because that's how I roll. It was cheap, quality entertainment.

And the title of this post? Bring Your Own Plunger


Mean Teacher said...

This was a really good post and I wanted to comment on it. I'm either not very smart or extremely tired.

Or both.

Yeah, it's both.

Maybe at some point between now and the time I get old I'll learn how to hold it all together.

Hillbilly Mom said...

A good time was had by all. You need a night out, and perhaps a chance to plunge a public toilet.