February 14th, 2007

...and The Look strikes again

So yesterday I was drawing to a close the class I teach for five little monster children. (Only four of them were there. And most of them were shockingly well-behaved. So I should perhaps clarify that I use the term “monster” in only the most affectionate way.)

I’m not sure how I forget each week about the father of one of the kids. He’s a doorknob of a guy who obviously thinks he’s adorable. He is not. And all the knit caps and facial hair upkeep in the world couldn’t make him so.

He comes into my room every week, five or seven minutes before class is dismissed, to greet his kid. (And every week I forget how much I loathe it. A testament to the equanimity I can, on occasion, maintain.)

So last night I was talking to the kids, reminding them of their homework, and so on and so forth, and I heard an irritating noise but I just ignored it. At last one of the kids said, “Do you hear that noise? I bet it’s my dad.”

What an odd thing to say, I thought. But sure enough, it turned out that this doorknob of a man was standing on the bench outside the classroom door so he could peer into the windows, and was whistling to catch the kid’s attention. The kids and I glanced at each other, perplexed at such odd behavior, but I forged ahead with my end-of-evening announcements.

And then the dad burst into the classroom.

“We’re just about done,” I said to him.

“That’s nice.”




That’s when my heart started pounding in my ears. That’s nice? Would he burst unannounced into the kid's private school classroom and stand there like a jackass, while class was ostensibly still going on? I haven’t gotten that angry in some time, and it’s always a little bit of a shock to realize how hot my temper can flare.

“We’re. Just. About. Done.” I hope I didn’t say it through clenched teeth, but I can’t guarantee it.

He glanced at the clock then, and said, “Come on, kid, let’s go.”

Are you kidding me?

His kid—a very sharp, very pleasant person indeed—glanced at the floor and said, “We’re not done yet.”

“You don’t want to come with me?” He didn’t even wait for an answer, but tore across the quad to the classroom where his wife was teaching, like a great big asinine puppy.

I finished my announcements and released the kids. One girl stayed behind to give me the update on her family situation, and when she finished, she muttered—after glancing about to make sure we were still alone—“That dad is really weird.”

I laughed weakly, and mumbled something like, “Oh, well, you know…”

“And you had a weird look on your face when he was in here.”

Aw, man!

Not only was I (again) completely unaware that my face was doing anything remotely interesting (although, if anyone deserves The Look in all its horrifying power, it is this stupid man), my expression hadn’t even crossed my mind (again). I was too busy trying to keep my tone polite. But this does explain why he left so abruptly, I guess.

I only hope seeing The Look at such a tender age hasn’t traumatized the little monsters.

And I wonder what the next class meeting will bring!

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