Monday, September 24, 2007

"The Tell-Tale Chair" or "Why I Can't Knit Lace"

There has been a little drama going on of late, one that I have kept from you. I had hoped that I might be able to keep this portion of my life a secret and perhaps remain as one for whom you have great respect. Or even a little respect. Failing that, I would settle for you considering me to be someone worthy of being told that I have toilet paper clinging to my shoe.

That all ends today. I know this. But, having discovered that the reason behind my inability to knit lace is that I am quite mad, I feel that I have a responsibility to the blogging community. I have complained enough to you about this project that you deserve to know the truth. I am not sane. Not even a little bit.

I will start by telling you that I now have a new nickname at school. It is not a nickname that befits a teacher of my great status and record of accomplishment. It is, at best, cute. At worse, it is...well cute, but in a demeaning sort of way. Yet it is a name I have earned.

Since the start of school, I have been having great difficulty with my desk chair. It is, in most aspects, a fine chair. It swivels, rolls and can be adjusted to any number of heights or angles. Most would consider themselves lucky to be in possession of such a chair. It had but one flaw.

It squeaked.

Now, I'm not so petty as to let a little squeak get in the way of my educating the masses. I like to think I am above that. But this was not just a sweet little chair peep. No. It was a veritable cackle. Sometimes even a squawk. And this sound would increase in volume as the day progressed, as if the ongoing pressure of this Sheep's fanny from hour to hour grew more unbearable with each sweep of the clock's hand. Again, I do not wish you to think me overly sensitive. This squeak was epic. It could be heard each time I moved or adjusted my hindquarters. By noon, I was able to observe passers-by in the hallway jump should I reach over to grab a pencil.

I approached our custodian, a fine and rather courtly gentleman who has assisted me in extricating myself from any number of difficulties ranging from broken window shades to a stick stuck in my truck tire. I described The Squeak to him in detail, compared it to the clucking of an outraged chicken and did my best imitation of the sound. He promptly oiled my chair and we thought the problem solved.

Not so. The Squeak resumed it's protests the very next day. Once again, the custodian was summoned. He promptly removed the offending seat and gave me his own. The Squeak was taken down to the place where all bad chairs go for further examination and oiling. It was returned to me the next day and the replacement seat rolled back to the custodian's office. An observer was heard to say, "Gosh, he just keeps dragging that chair back and forth...what's going on with that?"

I said nothing.

Last Friday was not one of my better days. I was lacking sleep, my teaching assistant was out for the day and I had my Fall Cold with which to contend. You can see how I might be a little short on good humor. At the time, I did not realize the degree to which The Squeak had come to factor into my life. I still thought myself a normal and sane human being. I couldn't seem to knit lace...but that was OK. Life was not so bad, really.

Until the The Squeak came back.

I don't really know what happened after that. All I can tell you is that I found myself barring the way to the custodian's office and informing anyone who wished to enter that, "unless this about me, we don't want to hear it right now." The three assembled custodians looked on with what can only be described as kindly suppressed hilarity while I proceeded to describe in great detail the ways in which The Squeak had come to take over my life. I shall spare you the specifics of my performance, but will tell you that there were sound effects involved as well as some pantomiming of daily desk related activities which might cause squeaking. They held back as long as was humanly possible and I really don't blame them for the laughter. I suppose that, to the sane people, this sort of thing might look a bit funny.

Once again, my favorite custodian brought forth his chair and we proceeded back upstairs to my classroom for an exchange in order that mine might be re-examined for Squeak control. As our odd little chair parade passed the principal, (the man who is my supervisor and whom I would like to think has a high opinion of me), he said: that the chicken chair?

I don't think I did myself proud by replying that it was, in fact, the chicken chair and that we are henceforth paying the custodian to only tend to this matter until it is resolved. My principal hasn't made any sort of eye contact since. You'd think that over the weekend he might have gotten past it...

I arrived this morning to find my chair back in its rightful place. Tentatively, I placed my cheeks upon it. The seat, which had rocked slightly before, was now solidly bolted in place. I wriggled a bit, grabbed a few pencils and gesticulated in the manner of a teacher providing some sort of instruction...silence. The Squeak was gone! And it remained gone for the entire day. Blessed silence reigned in my classroom once more! Perhaps now, with The Cursed Squeak gone from my life, I could resume those activities I'd once loved. I could put those precious brain cells to use on other sorts of things like remembering where I put my keys or which row of the lace repeat I was working... It was all good.

Except for this one thing. Now the custodian greets me with a hearty grin, a jaunty wave and the words,

Hiya, Squeak!



Anonymous said...

Hey, Bird, maybe it was a chirp and not a squeak! Dad

Jacqui said...

take comfort. at least Squeak is cute.

my boss' boss (the Dean) thinks i am quite daft. in my last exchange with him, after he laughed out loud AT me, i believe my exact words were, "Sure I am goofy but, hey, they learn...

(aside to nearby students) You learn, don't you?...

That has to count for something."

Anonymous said...

The squeaky sheep.

kmkat said...

Sheep can squeak? Who knew?

A rare talent indeed. We shall all -- except you -- mourn its passing.

Mouse said...

Doh. At least you're in good company.. my Louet wheel is also named "squeaker" because of its whines of protest.

Beth said...

Maybe you should start squeaking and squawking at the custodian when he calls you that. Then he'll really think you're crazy and avoid you. :)

Lorraine said...

At least their not calling you Chicken Sheep! Say it fast enought with a slight slur on the final consonant and it could be seriously misconstrued by various and sundry young people in the halls!

Knittymama said...

I don't blame you. One thing I've learned in my ten years of teaching is that the tiniest thing can throw me totally over the edge. And not in a pretty way either.

Susie said...


My dear Sheepie,

I do realize that you don't deserve this, that you post eloquently and that you've already been down this road. Nevertheless: Tag!

Click on my'll learn stuff about me that you'll wish you could pull right out of your head and never remember ever again. Perhaps I overdramatize. Consider for yourself. And then it's your turn~


Jeanne said...

Too funny! Sorry about the new nickname. It could be worse. BTW, I think I've caught your Fall Cold.

Anonymous said...

I am picturing the exchange with the custodians and it is making me giggle! You really are an amusing Sheep, Squeak :-)

trek said...

Number Guy calls the Neatnik "Squeaky" all the time, as in "Hey, Squeaky, how was school today?"

But you shall always be Sheepie to us.

Anonymous said...

It could be worse, much worse. Squeak is cute. Now if they called you Squawk there'd be a problem.
Don't worry you'll get the lace.

Bobbi said...

LOL. It could have been worse, it could have made farty noises. LOL

Cathy said...

Dori's nickname is Squeak. We think it's adorable. And you, too, are adorable.

I must be coming down with your Fall Cold.

Cursing Mama said...

As a person who has endured an offensive chair long term - I understand your pain. I will also now blame my lace issues on my past dealings with that chair.

I am inclined to mention that it is possible if your problems recur the staff could escalate to calling you "Squeaky" and thats just as good as calling you nuts. (ala Lynette Squeaky Fromme)