My lovely and talented wife, Aries28, shared this story with me when I got home last night. She has given me permission to share it with you. She won’t, because she’s embarrassed as all get-out.
Yesterday was orientation day at the Stepminion’s grade school. Aries28 took the day off work so she could go with him, meet his new teacher, sign various and sundry forms, and in general do whatever needs to be done to make sure our son is set to go for second grade.
The folks at this school are very nice, and the school itself is pretty good. But they cannot, for the collective life of them, organize something properly. We know this from experience, but it still grates on the nerves of my sometimes-impatient wife. Suffice it to say that by the time she actually got to the classroom where our son will spend second grade, she was a little put out by multiple minor frustrations.
She greets the teacher, who is (in my wife’s words) “very young and pear-shaped.” They talk amiably for a moment, and the teacher asks Aries28 to sign a few forms.
My wife sits down to do this, along with a few other parents who are there. There’s a packet on the table with our son’s name on it, so my wife opens it and starts signing. Then she turns the packet over.
On the back, written in pen, she sees the words “Given to Lie.”
This gives her pause. At first she didn’t understand why that particular assessment was written on the packet, and then she began to get mad. She finished filling out and signing the forms, and debated internally if she should say something to the teacher. At that point, the teacher happened to come over and ask her if she had any questions.
Aries28, as she is wont to do, seized the moment. “Actually, yes, I do have a question,” she said. She sent our son to the back of the room, because she didn’t want him to hear the conversation. Mystified, the boy went.
My wife pointed to the notation on the back of our son’s packet, and spoke in a tone of steely, barely controlled fury. “I want to know who wrote this on here, because I have NEVER been told of any problem with my son lying at school. I do not appreciate someone in authority here apparently trying to prejudice you against him like this without at least talking to me first.”
The teacher, reacting more to the tone in my wife’s voice than to her actual words, stared at her incomprehendingly. This frustrated Aries28 even more.
“If anyone at this school has a problem with my son lying, I want to know about it IMMEDIATELY,” she said. “I do not appreciate this type of rumor about my son being passed along without someone talking to me about it.”
The teacher still bore the look of a duck attempting to decipher the Rosetta Stone.
My wife tried a different tack. “Who wrote this on here?” she demanded. “If it’s one of his earlier teachers, I want to talk to them right now.”
The teacher at last felt she knew the answer to a question. “The office writes those notes on the back of the packets,” she said feebly.
My wife pounced. “How would anyone in the office know that my son lies?” she demanded. “Who should I talk to about this?”
The teacher, obviously thinking this was not the day to accidentally leave her Uzi at home, said, “Did you write a donation check to the school at the end of the last school year?”
“Yes,” my wife snapped, “but what does that have to do with this accusation?”
The teacher pointed to the handwritten note. “That says “Given to Liz.” It lets the office know that you’ve already donated money to the school for this year, and that the money has been given to Liz, the school secretary.”
When Aries28 told me this story yesterday evening, I collapsed on the kitchen table, shrieking laughter, while my wife beat me about the head and shoulders with a whisk. She said judging from the expression on the teacher’s face, that lady still doesn’t understand where my wife was coming from with her indignant outcry.
Second grade is going to be such an adventure this year.