Yesterday afternoon, I was standing in the school's main office and waiting for the clock to say it was time for me to leave. Or, at the very least, for the hands to reflect a time that might lend a little credence to my fleeing the building with nary a backward glance.
With me were Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Front Desk and Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Back Desk. Also in attendance was Mrs. Perma-Sub.
The latter is the very nice lady who covers 99% of the substitute teacher duties in our building. She's sort of "on call" most days and often works in the office when she isn't needed in classrooms. She is currently helping out with some of the gaps in coverage currently being experienced in my own room.
This has been a tiring week. The kids managed to get through it and we even learned one or two of the things that the government wants students to know. However, I'd be lying if I said the staff absences didn't make it a "uniquely challenging experience." I am tired and it is when I am tired that the stupidest conversations seem to happen around me. I honestly don't try to make stupid conversation. I really don't. I can't help it if I am a magnet for the bizarre.
Mrs. Secretary Who Sits At The Back Desk: I'm going to put this vacuum cleaner away now.
Mrs Secretary Who Sits At The Front Desk: That's OK. I'll do it.
Mrs. Perma-Sub: No! Please...let me. I'm the one who spilled the tea leaves. I should do it.
Ms. Sheep: You spilled tea leaves?
MPS: Yes. I was going through my purse and....whoops! They all spilled out! I was really bummed because it was my special Monkey Tea.
MSWSATFD: You heard her.
MSWSATBD: Monkey Tea. The special kind.
MS: You have tea made from monkeys? That seems kind of mean.
MPS: Of course not! That would be silly. This is tea that was picked by monkeys.
MS: Oh. Well that makes so much more sense. Thanks for clearing it up.
MSWSATFD: She's not kidding. It's really picked by monkeys.
MSWSATBD: And it's special.
MS: (thinks hard for a moment then has a sudden realization) I think you mean monks. Not monkeys. Monks pick tea. Monkeys don't pick tea. That's just science...
MPS: No. Well...yes. There are monks. Someone has to train the monkeys, after all.
MS: I still think you're misunderstanding your tea.
MPS: I can prove it. Look!
(She reaches into her purse and pulls out a packet of tea clearly labeled as having been picked by the aforementioned monkeys)
MS: Oh my god! They pick the tea!
MPS: I told you so.
MS: I wouldn't drink monkey picked tea.
MPS: It's really good. You should try it.
MS: No way. I know what else monkeys pick!
(Receiving only blank stares, Ms. Sheep helpfully mimes the picking up/throwing action seen in zoos the world over. Dawning horror settles over the office)
MPS: Why did you have to tell me that? Why?
MSWSATFD: Wait. Do you mean the monkeys throw their...
MSWSATBD: Stop! They're having a meeting in the next room! Don't yell FECES!!!!
MS: Why is it always me that gets involved in these conversations? And why is there always a meeting going on when I do?
I left the office with visions of monkeys dancing in my head and wondering if anyone thought to train them to wash their hands. Is there a sign in the monkey bathroom that reminds all employees about mandatory hand-washing? Do they make little monkey-sized rubber gloves? For that matter, has anyone considered the need for hairnets?
I barely slept last night for the worry of it all.
This could account for the lack of mitten progress today. I didn't once pick up the needles, although the mitten is well past the thumb gussets and could probably be finished by tomorrow if I could just get my mind off monkeys. I don't have good feeling about it, though. Once the monkeys get into your head, they hang on like, well... like monkeys. You just have to wait it out.
Monkey Picked Tea. If I hadn't seen it, I woulda never believed it...
And yes. I thought about monkey mittens. And no. I won't be knitting any. You can't pick tea in mittens. Which is the least of my monkey concerns at the moment, but you just know they'd bring it up at the union meetings...