Wednesday, August 26, 2009

That Woman Is A Non-Stop Party

Last night was curriculum night at Laura's school. On curriculum night, parents go to the classrooms and hear what's on the learning agenda for the year. I think it's a good chance to get oriented to the teacher and her expectations, AND a major, important chance to meet and scope out the other parents. You know, chit chat, say things like, "Laura loves sitting next to Kennedy/Cooper/Addison/Carlyle!" (those are all girls, by the way), discuss playdates, and check out each other's handbags. The uniform for this event, if you are a woman, consists of:
  • cropped pants (everybody's wearing those cargo ones, the kind that never go near any actual cargo)
  • a floaty, fluttery top OR a t-shirt, if it's pink or turquoise
  • sandals
  • a pedicure
I am always slightly out-of-uniform because I wear jeans most of the time, whereas my fellow matrons only wear jeans in winter. I have the other pieces, though, which keeps me from getting a demerit. Anyway.

So we were sitting at our children's desks for this event, which required getting ourselves little chairs from a stack. Jan My Former Co-Room Mom's daughter sits in the same group of desks as Laura, so when she entered the room ten minutes late, I waved excitedly and pointed out her daughter's desk to her. I was thrilled to see her, because she always says or does something a little startling. The teacher was already talking, and everyone was actively listening to the intricacies of the first-quarter rubric for mathematics standards. Jan threads her way through the chairs and arrives at her desk. When she realizes there is no chair there, she points to a dad sitting at the next desk and says, at full volume, "I'll just sit on his lap," and she does a half-bend of her knees, as though she is about to come in for a landing. Everyone erupts in titters, the dad leaps to his feet to offer her his chair, she refuses, saying she can get her own, he insists, his wife smiles blandly, and we all get completely distracted from the pressing need to buy multiplication flashcards.

Everyone was seated again and the teacher went on with her program, and everything was fine except that she said, "If it's a test they had did badly on" instead of "had done," and I was pondering how big a deal this was, this grammar slip-up. On the subject of linguistics, in general, I am a liberal, but not when it comes to teachers. For them, I tend toward a jackbooted, strict prescriptionist model. I wondered if maybe she had been going for the simpler, "A test they did badly on," and got caught up in her tenses.

While I was working this out, she came to the end of her remarks, and we were invited to take our child's composition journal out and read it. Then we each wrote a little note for our child to find. I was engrossed in these activities, and only became aware of Jan again when she asked the teacher, "Will N get in trouble because I messed up her desk?" Ms. H came over by her and said, "What do you mean?" Jan said, "I messed it up, I totally trashed it as a joke. I spilled her pencil box and messed up her papers." I couldn't see, but Ms. H glanced into the desk and actually looked horrified. She said, "Oh, don't do that to that child!" My fellow parents were watching this scene in bemusement and dismay. Because they don't know what I know:

The woman is kooky.

I think that is the technical term.

And that's all I have for you today.

24 comments:

Jane said...

I like that Jan an awful lot.

Michele Renee said...

And the teacher is thinking to herself, "Please do not tell me this is the woman I have to work with as Room Rep the whole year"????
BTW the messing up of her child's desk was hysterical. That lady needs ATTENTION (from the young workers at the skating rink, etc.).

Amy said...

I think you're right, Michele! :) Jan is hilarious! And I love that you were so thrilled to see her cause you knew she would do something crazy. And she delivered!

Erika said...

I was corrected by one of my smarty pants students when I said "less" instead of "fewer."

I wish you had posted a picture of your outfit ;-)

The Dental Maven said...

Jan's on crack.

Kate said...

To second Amy, Jan totally delivered! God bless her! You can always count on people like Jan to give you some great blog/dinner party/gossip juice. Love it.

bernthis said...

I want to meet this woman. She sounds like my twin

Michele said...

Jan hasn't been taking her medication again. I thought I said inappropriate things. Jan's got me beat.


FYI, tried that recipe that I sent you today. Loved it.

Fantastic Forrest said...

I am greatly disturbed by the teacher's grammatical error.

If a similar transgression occurs, I hope you will remove Laura from her class.

But do go back there to visit, to see what Jan is up to. Or do I mean to see to what Jan is up?

Grammar is hard.

Jessica said...

i heart jan

Veronica said...

She is a-mazing!

Rick Dakan said...

Becky, one wonders at your priorities in life - passing on another year as co-room mom with the crazy woman isn't doing your blog any favors.

Also, Cooper is a boy's name. Come on. Seriously?

bsouth said...

Fabulous - I so need a Jan in my life right now!

Coffee with Cathy said...

Oh, Becky, how I've missed your school-year posts! Looks like it's going to be a great year! And I love those girl names -- does this mean that the era of Heather, Tiffany and Rebekah is over?

Jenni said...

oh, jan. she never fails.

Bex said...

and so, jan strikes again! hahahaha!

i have a pair of the cropped cargo pants. mine are denim. i love them and wear them all the time. except that i wore them on my son's 5th bday party and in the pictures of me i look like a cow -for which i blame my pants. so i no longer wear them and have gone back to jeans. bc you can't go wrong with jeans (unless they don't fit and you have a muffin top - but mine fit bc i have like 3 different sizes in my drawer!)

Kate said...

the teacher has more grammar problems than you know! it should be poorly, not badly.

Love from an ex-English teacher.

Becky said...

Hmm, good point second Kate. And yes, Forrest, the grammar thing actually really bothers me! I am kind of a fussbudget on this issue though.

I totally heart her too. And I know, Rick, if I had any regard for my blog readers, I would attach myself firmly to this girl.

Casey said...

I'm with you on the teachers and bad grammar. Jan sounds like someone you should take drinking. Wow.

Fantastic Forrest said...

I don't consider you a fussbudget at all. When we had an open house at my daughter's elementary school, I spoke with a few of the possible teachers she'd have the following year. When one committed a similar grammatical error in conversation, I quietly let the powers that be know that I would prefer that my daughter not have that teacher.

Anyone who says "...they had did..." without verbally going back to show she had tripped up by saying it correctly doesn't realize she's committed an error. Harsh, I know, but that's who I am.

Here's a clip just for you, Becky:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8fbrUjjivw

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Poor Jan. She has no internal "governor."

I'm a stickler with the teacher's spelling and grammar, too.

Becky said...

That video Forrest links is hilarious. Looks like there are others using that same footage too.

Keely said...

Awesome. I need to meet this woman. Does she meet the dress code? I can see her getting a little quirky in that department.

fraught said...

Spectacular post. As one of the rather infamously jackbooted myself, I would have been completely derailed by the "had did... badly" comment, to the point of causing a scene by writhing about on the floor, twitching uncontrollably.

And thank god for Jan and her contributions to the entertainment of all. I'm with Rick, and think you need to reconsider your rather selfish decision to take a pass on the room mom duties this year.