Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sub Notes: Seen ‘Em All

I was standing in the high school library, subbing for the librarian. “Lookin’ good!” exclaimed the high school boy as he strode by. “Nice hair!”

I looked behind me. There was no one there. “No, the person behind you,” he laughed.

I was sort of horrified. Was he being sarcastic?

He seemed like a sweet, affable kid. Even though most people my age assume teenagers say horrible things about us, I don’t think they really do that much. At least not to our faces. In fact, I'm pretty sure most of them just don’t think of us much at all. Still, it was weird to have some high school kid tell me he liked my I-have-to-be-at-work-by-6:30 AM-hair.

Yet there was something so genuine about this kid. He will be a P.R. guy someday, this one. Or an amazing salesman. I shrugged and thanked him.

It wasn’t till later that I realized it: he thought I was the woman I was subbing for! Because to a kid that age, we really do all look alike. The woman I was subbing for is about my age, and we both have brown hair. That is where the similarities stop. In fact, her hair is much longer than mine. Which explains it. He thought she’d had it cut! I wonder what he thought when “I” showed up at work with long hair again?
I once had a high school girl mistake me for a teacher who is about five inches taller than I am and has short, poufy, red hair. Mine is droopy, shoulder length, and brown. But to a teenager, we were both female and have the same number of limbs. Close enough! After all, we old people are pretty much interchangeable.

So I’ve thought of a new job. Whenever parents of teenagers want to run away (which I’m sure happens often), I will hire myself out (for big bucks, of course) to fill in.  I won’t have to disguise myself at all because the kids will never notice I’m a different person. 

Middle school paper that proves spelling counts: "The man fell off a 
 hor   ." 


  1. On Monday, a student asked me if I got a haircut. Yes. On the weekend. It was the next sentence that was appalling. "Do you like it?"

    Several times a week, students call me by another teacher's name. I have two alter-identities. Both share some of my peccadilloes: Don't touch my whiteboard, and don't touch things on my desk. Now they might be calling any teacher with a bad haircut "Mrs. Val."

  2. You are so right. We are just useless blobs to teenagers.

    That job idea is a marvelous one. I wonder what the name of your company would be?

  3. Your tender mercies would not be wasted on youth, old French guys, that's another story.

  4. I'm pretty sure you are NOT overlooked as just another old lady.

  5. I prefer a charming teen to a surly one any day.

    Critter Alley

  6. As always, you made me laugh. There is another possibility though. That he labeled you a MILF and wanted to compliment you. It probably happens more often than you know.


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