Friday, March 4, 2011

Children of the Corn!

I have mentioned that my office is in the school library. The Foundation does not have it's own space but there was one space left in the library so that's where they put me. I love it.

Because my office is in the library it is relatively quiet. It is also away from the children who roam around. I have also become great friends with the librarian (I will call her Nancy - not her real name) and, for the most part, I don't have to deal with the public at large. Sure people come in and out but basically unless they are there to see me, most people don't even know my little office exists.

There are days when Nancy is out of the library somewhere on campus and kids come in to ask a question or something. Inevitably, they end up at my door asking where Ms. Nancy is. Sometimes, I actually have to talk to them for a period of time because they always feel the need to inform me why they are in there looking for Ms. Nancy. I always, very politely, try to explain I have no idea what the heck they are talking about but they always yap. My response is always, you need to go talk to Ms. Bev (not her real name either) in the front office. That is my answer to everything. Go see Ms. Bev. Then they get out of my hair.

But most times, it's just me and Nancy alone in the library. Sometimes she has classes but usually in the back part of the library, so it doesn't bother me. I admit sometimes it does get a little loud and distracting when the kids are doing projects but I always have the option of closing the Bat Cave door.

I always have to close the door when Nancy has story time for the lower grades. Usually this doesn't bother me because I get to hear the story while I do my work. But I have found that I have to close my door just a little because the area where the kids sit is directly across my office. If I don't shut my door then the little ones get distracted and watch me work. It freaks me out. They stare and glare. Instead of listening, they start watching me. (((shudder)))

Yesterday was story time for the first graders. When the kids filed in, I got up and closed my door. The kids settle down and Nancy starts reading. After a while, I notice she stops reading and is talking to the kids. I can't hear the whole exchange because I have my internet radio on and the door is closed. Then I hear her say "Carolyn."

There are a few Carolyn's and Caroline's in the school so I have learned to tune it out because usually it isn't me they want. Then I hear "Carolyn" again with a hint of panic in the voice and know it's not for a little Carolyn but me, big Carolyn.

I can't see where Nancy is at. So from my office I ask what can I do. She tells me to call the front office and tell them to come get little Beth (not her real name). At this point I still have no idea what is going on but I call the front office and give them the message. Of course, no one shows up so Nancy is left to deal with Beth. She tells me from the front door "Can you watch the kids?"

Okay, there are no other words in the English language that bring fear into my heart and make my blood run cold then "Can you watch the kids?" I froze. The hairs on my arms stood up. A deep chill ran through my body and shook the very core of my soul. My heart raced. My pulse quickened. I was trapped. OMG I had to watch the kids.

Apparently I had to do this is because you cannot leave any child or children in any room without adult supervision. Who knew. Since there was no other adult around, I was trapped like a rat. I couldn't run. I couldn't scream. There was no other choice. There was a little girl at the door crying and throwing up. So Nancy tosses me the book she was reading and says, "I'll be back." What could I say? What could I do? I am too nice to say "Hell NO! Don't leave me with these rugrats!"

She didn't wait for an answer and left. I am left standing in the middle of the library. I turn and look at the kids who are sitting there looking like the kids from the movie: Children of the Corn. If you haven't seen that movie, you should. It's pretty good.

Anyway, armed with the book, I walk toward the children. It was like walking down the Green Mile to the gas chamber. I am getting glares. I am getting stares. I think I even see a snarl at one point. As I am getting closer, I hear a small voice say: "who are you?" I stop cold. I was as nervous as a whore in church at this point. I turn towards the kid who said it and he is staring me down. I stare but I flinched people, I flinched. So I am all, "umm I'm Carolyn." They fidget. They move toward me. I could swear I saw a knife blade but then realize little first graders do not have knives.

I suck it up and I continue the long walk to the chair and then another munchkin says, "Carolyn who?" At this point I freeze again. I am thinking "hey I don't have to explain myself. WTF?" Of course, I didn't say WTF? But I realize that I have to plan the next few words that come out of my mouth very carefully. It's like a powder keg in there and I know that one wrong move, one wrong word and I am toast.

I can tell they smell my fear. They might be small but they can smell fear. They are all looking at me at this point. So I say, "umm Miss Carolyn" and hold my breath. Seconds pass like minutes and I hear a collected sigh of relief come from the mob, I mean group. Somehow, that appeased the little buggers. Interesting. I figured out that I could fool them by putting a Miss in front of my name. They respond to authority that way. I wait and then I see a few smiles. I see the glares fade away. The hairs on the back of my neck are still on end, but I know that for the moment, I have gained the upper hand.

I sit down and start reading. I had to read Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose. I am 2 pages in when I am interrupted. "Excuse me Miss Caroline." I want to say my name is Carolyn but I figured I better choose my battles carefully. One wrong move and I am dog meat so I say "Yes" trying to make sure my voice doesn't give away my fear.

"Miss Caroline, you have to show us the pictures. Miss Nancy always shows us the pictures?" I really want to say STFU little girl but I don't. I take a deep breath and remind myself that I need to behave like a responsible adult. So I suck it up, put my big girl panties on and say "Oh, you want to see pictures too? Okay." So I turned the book around and show them the pictures. They were appeased once again. They quiet down.

In my mind, I am thinking okay I can do this. I keep reading but time is passing slowly. After a page or two more, I realize that they are enthralled by reading skills. I can tell I am winning them over with when I read "the bullets were flying" and I hear a gasp go up. At this point, I figure I am money. I had those rugrats eating out the palm of my hand.

I am almost at the climax of the story when Nancy comes in and steals my thunder. She snatches the book out of my hands and dismisses me. I was almost done. I had tamed the wild beasts and then it was over in a blink of an eye. I retired back to my office as Ms. Nancy got all the applause and accolades.

In the end, I got the full story of the afternoon of horror. While reading the book, Nancy noticed little Beth crying and when asked what was wrong she said she had a tummy ache. She said go to the office but noticed she was really sick. As they got to the front door, Beth threw up. thank god she waited to get to the front door. A few inches and t would have been in front of my office and I would have thrown up. UGH.

I know that one day I will hear those dreaded words and they will bring fear into my heart. But I beat those kids today. They couldn't take me down!

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