I have been so angry lately and people don't really know what to do with angry, upset people. We're not supposed to display our emotions. It scares people. We're supposed to control everything, keep it all together, nice and neat, don't bother anyone with a spill-over of feeling.
Last night I had to go to this school meeting. I was sick and exhausted, all I wanted to do was sleep. I forced myself to conform to minimum appearance standards. Had my bangs cut, washed my hair, put on perfume and makeup, and went out, sans bra, I just can't bring myself to wear bras anymore, they just hurt too damned much. I actually liked my hair, but Beau took care of that by telling me it looked "really bad" just before I left. He doesn't like me to change, not even a little bit.
I was a few minutes late for the meeting and they had already started. The two-fifth grade teachers were standing at the front of the auditorium, with the smarmy, balding, smiley faced, money sucking principle seated off to the right. I've tried to like the guy but he just pisses me off and that's the simple truth of it.
About thirty parents and a few kids were seated in the auditorium. I took a seat near my neighbor Janet who had carefully written out a speech she hoped to deliver. The teachers were discussing discipline. Parents were asking questions, some of them were concerned because their kids had been suddenly suspended for what seemed like a fairly minor incident, having a little meeting in the bathroom, and keeping some of the younger kids from using it, and I'm someone who knows how very necessary it is to have immediate bathroom access, but even I can see this kind of thing doesn't warrant any more than a benching, or at most a note home, not suspension certainly. I mean it's not like they were smoking pot or trading pornographic DVDs.
Finally, after much back and forth grand standing, and political feather smoothing on the part of the principal, I began to notice that less than one-fifth of the people whose hands were raised to speak were being called on, and we were accomplishing nothing. The only people talking were the principal's favorites, school political figures, if you can believe such a thing exists in grammar school, and no one wanted to rock the boat by calling the teachers on their poor handling of this minor matter. Clearly the teachers and the principal had come with an agenda, we the parents are the bad guys, our kids suck, their teachers are saints, we're lucky to have them, now shut up and support them blindly.
They really didn't want to hear that we had concerns about teachers who arbitrarily suspended a few boys, ruining their chances of being accepted into any private school, without any kind of lead up or warning note to their parents, and punished over sixty eleven year olds for the actions of four or five, by telling them they would not be having recess until the culprits confessed. Police state pressure tactics, fabulous, I want more of that for my little boy please. No one wanted to hear that we think Miss Bienstock is way too ambitious and is stressing out the kids, that she's overburdening them with hours and hours of homework, that we don't particularly care for her calling our kids "crappy students" or doing nothing about a substitute teacher who called one of the kids a "dumb ass," and told them it wouldn't be long before we'd be thanking him for all those weekends he spent on base, learning how to protect them from the American hating terrorists who would soon be invading their homes.
I feel too weary and sad to recount my angry, emotional speech about wanting my son to come home from school feeling good about himself, that it would be nice if he wasn't feeling so freaked out and stressed that he might actually like going to school, or about how well my friend Janet illustrated how ridiculous the amount of homework the kids are being assigned is, by simply reading out the weeks assignments. I can only pray someone was listening, but I kind of doubt it, it's like pushing slimy boulders up a hill. These people are their parents all over, stick with the teachers, present a united front, kids are naughty, what do they know.Silly oversensitive mothers wanting their kids to be happy, wanting to be able to spend a little time with them at night, before they go to sleep, only to get up early and start all over again. You silly, selfish girls, don't you know it's a big bad world out there, and loading them up with too much homework now, will help prepare them for the homework horrors that await them at, wait for it, Paul Revere Middle School, oooh tremble with fear. Why I heard that just this year all of the sixth graders were asked to assemble a rocket engine from spare radio parts, and that was just one Monday's assignment.
Miss Tarr, a verrrrrry old teacher, and an enormous bitch if ever there was one, (envision the Wicked Witch riding away with Toto, or someone who forces children to eat prunes and put iodine on their cuts, and you'll have a pretty good picture of her), seems to have been a prime instigator in all of this. Apparently she saw the "bad" boys huddling up in the bathroom, where they were caught denying the younger kids their fundamental right of access, thereby forcing the aforementioned "poor little kids" to have to walk to "gasp" the other bathroom, and freaked out. This put pressure on the two brand-spanking-new fifth grade teachers, who eager to please every-fucking-body, except for of course the children, and the nice, nonsocial climbing, non-pushy parents, who don't grease the palms of the principle with expensive, silent auction gifts, cocktail parties, and new libraries, made a huge deal out of it.
Oh terrible terrible what is our society coming to? Poor overburdened teachers, will these parents never model proper disciple at home? Will we be forced to police their horrible, bathroom-hogging children, as well as teach them, and grade their damned papers, to say nothing of our tremendous personal outlay of petty cash spent decorating our tiny overcrowded bungalows. (Forgive me here, I usually love teachers, I swear I do, I'm just venting) Thank God Beau wasn't one of the kids suspended or I would have really gone ballistic, at least this way I can pat myself on the back for having modeled proper bathroom etiquette at home.
The final straw for me came when the lovely Misssssss Tarr, got up and completely negated everything my friend Janet had just carefully stated. "I've been a teacher for 99 years, (groan,) maybe that doesn't mean anything to you. When I started things were very different believe you me. It's a hard world out there, a very competitive world. What you people need to know is that you are lucky to have these two fine young women team teaching your kids. What you should be doing is thanking them. This is a meeting about discipline (never mind that we were told we would be allowed to discuss homework issues) we are here to ask for your support, not to hear you parents complaining about your little individual concerns. Too much homework, oh isn't that just too bad. Blah blah blah." By this point I was truly boiling with rage so I did the only thing I could do, I stood up, said, "See ya," as loudly as I could, and voted with my feet. I tried to slam the door as I left but wouldn't you know it, it had some kind of pneumatic device that prevented me. Then I screamed in my car and cried all the way home where I spent the rest of the night questioning my sanity.
I won't even tell you about what happened at the vet today when I tried to pick up some simple saline fluids for my cats. I left in tears and said, "You are so unkind. This place has become so uncaring and corporate. I hate VCA!" I went to another hospital next door, appealed for help to people who didn't know me at all, and got what I needed for my poor sick cats. Scott said I should have reminded the nasty counter bitches at VCA that I spend the cost of two small cars there on an annual basis, but they wouldn't have cared. He also asked why they bothered having a meeting at school? If they couldn't tolerate dissension then why didn't they just pass out pieces of paper saying, "We're right!" It's been a bad couple of weeks.
The thing I hate the most about all of this, is that you go through these semi-tortured childhood's, with all the adults ruining your joy and squashing your potential brilliance, by controlling every move you make and destroying your self esteem in the process. Your hope that someday you'll enjoy real freedom, get to make your own decisions, go out there in the world and take your place, raise your children the way you wish you'd been raised, only to end up in the exact same place as an adult, because your're at the mercy of all of these cog-people, petty, scrabbling, career dictators, everyone ruling their small corner of the earth with whatever rules they feel bound by. Compassion, empathy, emotion, these are truly threatening to people who are just barely held together with social norm glue. As long as I spray my hair with lacquer like this, it won't challenge me by moving freely. As long as I bind my breasts with this bra, they won't move and remind any one of my sexuality. As long as I wear this outfit and put on this mask of makeup I'll look presentable. Don't question, don't challenge, don't ask for anything that deviates from the norm or we may just fall apart, I mean if we aren't busy controlling this little piece of the big universal pie, what other things would we be forced to look at?