Entries in Relationships (112)


Our Fearless Leader by Annie


This, in more of a Pilgrim's Progress sort of way, is what my 2nd grade teacher looked like. Even for a rule follower like myself, Mrs. Roach could be and was frequently terrifying.

A stern, pale, and skull-faced woman of late middle age who pulled her hair back in a no-nonsense bun, my teacher wore what were commonly referred to as "cat eye" glasses and her mouth was a horizontal slash of red, courtesy of the House of Avon. She wore dresses with slips underneath, silk hose and high heels with pointy toes. Every single day.  Mrs. Roach pulling her Pontiac into the teacher's parking lot in a pair of stretch pants would have have been no less shocking than discovering an aproned minotaur in a hairnet serving up tater tots in the cafeteria on Hamburger Day. 

When it was time for math, you did not ask why and then pretend to lose your pencil. You had at least five other Eberhard Fabers (always sharpened) in the "side pocket" of your desk which you lined with a brown paper towel so that pencils and crayons didn't fall through the holes. When it was time for handwriting, you did not cleverly substitute the capital "S" in your last name with a treble clef  (even though they sort of looked the same) unless you wanted it circled in red pen with a note to erase and do it over. When it was time to read aloud, you did so in hopes of hearing a "Nicely done!" before she selected another victim student.  That was high praise enough. We didn't need or expect a 21 gun salute and an application to MENSA.

When accused of chewing gum in her class you did not roll your eyes and say, "I don't HAVE any gum" in an exasperated tone which--although-- technically true because you were chewing something, it wasn't gum. It was Captain Crunch. Because you didn't have breakfast that morning (As if that was somehow her problem or responsibility. But go ahead and suggest to her that it was her responsibility and then wait for the Apocalypse.) Better yet, have your parent do it. Same result.

You did not try to be the class clown by burping words to the Pledge of Allegiance or ask her if this was her "real hair" or if she dyed it.  When she asked for your homework you did not fix her with a smarmy grin and tell her you didn't do it because "I was busy".  The only notes you wrote in class had damn well better be from the assignment on "How to Write a Letter To a Friend" and not to your actual friend who had a different teacher altogether who wouldn't have cared if that same friend spent a brief moment of class time reading your synopsis of last night's episode of "The Monkees".

If you were told to carry a sealed envelope home to your parents, you were clueless about its contents and you did not ask. It could have been a letter about a PTA matter or a request to have you publicly flogged. It mattered not because it wasn't any of your damn business because it wasn't addressed to you and hiding it for two weeks inside your copy of Encyclopedia Brown wasn't going to make it go away.  Later, your parents weren't ever going to go all Liza Minnelli crazy when questioning Mrs. Roach like she was at her own trial because you didn't bring the note home. Why?? Because that was a parenting issue and your parents--God love them--were smart enough to know it.  However, your ass would be--as they say--grass even though the note was about being a homeroom mother, you paranoid maniac.

Had the internet existed back when you were a kid, Mrs Roach would have been listed on Wikipedia as the country's seventeenth line of defense. Just ahead of the Boy Scouts.

Mrs. Roach was a teacher, not a convenient doormat to be stepped on by lazy-ass parents who expected her to offer free tutoring for class days missed because of a surprise birthday trip to Carlsbad Caverns which necessitated lying about being sick for two days so that it would be excused. She wasn't about to be trifled with or disrespected during professional development seminars by being asked to remove her teacher hat for the day and pretend to be a student learning the same shit she was already teaching in real class. One didn't tell Mrs. Roach that she would be taking and grading work from any and all children who had sufficient time to turn in their assignments but didn't do so....for five weeks.

And if someone told her that she would be expected to tiptoe around a mentally ill student who hears voices that tell her to do bad things and if said student was demonstrating those bad things in class and began to otherwise act strangely like having a conversation with her own shoeand that she--Mrs. Roach-- was required to halt the educational process for everyone else in the class, hit the panic button on the wall and then step ALONE(?) into the hall with said mentally ill student and wait until help came? Well...Mrs. Roach would have poured those people a big old glass of OH HELL NO and stood calmly while they drank it down with a side of KISS MY ASS cookies. Guaranteed Mrs. Roach did not have to aid her nightly sleep with  five melatonin and a martini chaser because even though she was required to dress like June Cleaver and she was paid like crap and the moral turpitude clause in her contract prohibited her from being seen buying or consuming alcohol, she was respected. By everyone. Or they did a really good job at pretending. Period.

It's not hard to see why my colleagues and I look wistfully into the rearview mirror and sigh before pouring ourselves another stiff drink. Even on a good day, I'm forced to behave less like Mrs. Roach and more like the friendless kid who converses with her sandwich. We live in an era where teachers are everyone's whipping boy and--like my friend Nance says, no one's boss. I live for the days when I can say "no" or "yes" and actually be granted permission to follow through on my own decisions. Sure, I'm allowed to wear pants, but only in the literal sense. Never in the figurative.

But I can hoist a glass and so I do. Here's to you, Mrs. Roach.



You can read more of Annie at Rainbow Motel. Go say hey to her!


The Spanish Class

To assist in fulfilling their dream of retiring to Mexico, Mr. and Mrs. G. signed up for a Spanish class at a local college. If their dream doesn't come to pass, they will at least have expanded their horizons and maybe regenerated some of the brain cells they wiped out in the late eighties, or divorced, depending on which way the viento blows.

Their class started Monday night and while Mrs. G. has tried to broadcast nothing but love and esteem for Mr. G. on this blog, she is going to tell you something true: he believes he is a deft virtuoso on all several subjects. No experience necessary. None. Mrs. G. isn't calling her True Love a know-it-all but rather highlighting his confidence, his innate self-proclaimed gift of knowledge regarding everything in the world.

Problems On The First Night Of Class

1) Mr. and Mrs. G. are ninety minutes early. Mrs. G. isn't pointing any fingers at who has a compulsive need to be early early but it's not her. 

2) Mr. and Mrs. G. have to stop by the bookstore to buy Mr. G. a copy of Tu Mundo (Mrs. G. bought her copy on Ebay for sixty bucks) and the line at the bookstore is long. Mrs. G. isn't pointing any fingers at who is dramatically averse to lines of any length but it's not her. Mr. G. makes a minimum of six audible, "expressive" complaints about the quality and efficiency of the bookstore. He claims they were in line for ninety minutes but it was more like twenty-five.

3) They are charging $125 for the paperback, 1/2 inch thick book. "Pfffffffffuck that," mutters Mr. G. as he walks out of the bookstore.

4) Mr. and Mrs. G. will now have to share a book.

5) While they are having coffee waiting for class to begin, Mr. G. shares his belief that Italian (of which he speaks  piccolo poco) and Spanish are basically the same language. Mrs. G. says she is paying $160 for ten weeks to learn Spanish. Mr. G. continues to speak Italish until it is time to head to class.

6) Mr. G. believes he is capable of teaching any subject without regard for what the professor actually says is so. Mr. G. once said, "You don't really need to know math to learn physics." Study sessions at home are going to present some problems.

7) Mr. G's joking repetition of "Me llamo Nick. Me llamo Nick. Me llamo Nick" while waiting for the professor to show up wears thin. The smartly dressed woman with the beautiful black patent leather handbag sitting in front of them gives him a subtle side eye.

It is at this point Mrs. G. fears Mr. G. may get up and attempt to teach the class. It is also at this point Mrs. G. considers no longer sitting beside him.

8) Dear Lord, please don't let him raise his hand and complain about the rip-off price of the textbook.

9) He raises his hand and complains about the rip-off price of the textbook.

10) His frequent whispers of what the professor should actually be teaching are distracting...to everyone.

11) The smartly dressed woman with the beautiful black patent leather purse moves four seats to her right during the class break.

Mrs. G. kids but only pico. She is far from perfecto but she does not entertain the notion that she can teach a workshop on String Theory simply because she owns a ball of string. But two decades in, what are you gonna do?

In the meantime, pray for Mr. and Mrs. G. Pray for the Spanish language. Pray for Mexico.

e speriamo che vissero felici e contenti 


Imperial Margarine (by Regina)


So, I’m a wardrobe gal for Theater. This means that I make costumes, assist costume designers in getting a show up and on its feet, and, most importantly, making sure the actors are wearing the correct costume at the correct time. (Harder than it sounds sometimes.) For the two hour extravaganza you see on stage, months of sweat (and tears) go into designing and figuring it all out.

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The Helpline (by Clara B.)


Dear Clara B,

I am dating a man who recently suggested that my Lady Garden grooming practices weren't up to his standards...

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There Ain't No Pause Button in the Throes of Hankering, Part Two.


Mr. and Mrs. G. went on several dinner and movie dates before Mrs. G. invited him to her shabby studio apartment for a home cooked meal. Looking back, Mrs. G. realizes how crucial those initial nights on the town were for igniting and sustaining the spark necessary to start a five-alarm fire.

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There Ain't No Pause Button in the Throes of Hankering, Part One


When Mrs. G. met Mr. G, she was not looking to fall in love, marry and get pregnant in fifteen months...

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Venice Beach and the Deli From Hell


When Mrs. G. was 19 or 20, she took a summer job at Susan's* Natural Macrobiotic Deli in Venice Beach. The fact that her shift started at 4am didn't bother Mrs. G, because she had the afternoon to sit on the beach and read trashy novels (a beach edict unless you have been living under a bridge). There were only four people on staff (including Susan) because the industrial kitchen was very small. There was a place for everything, and to duck Susan's wrath, everything had damn well be in its place.

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Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

After reading some of the comments in the confessional, Mrs. G. felt she should post this to lighten things up. As you can see, confessors, you are not alone.