Sunday, February 05, 2012

Fun Fact

Apparently I own a necklace that looks like a sex toy. 

This week, I wore a different necklace to work. Early in the day, my class was with another teacher so I stopped by to say hello to a friend, N. As we spoke, another woman walked in the room. N started laughing about something, then turned the other, said something in Arabic, and pointed at my necklace. They laughed as I looked confused. "I don't want to know." I said. 
They laughed more. She lowered her voice. "That looks like a sex toy." 
AND THEN I DIED. I teach 2nd grade! I do not own necklaces that look like sex toys! And if I did, I WOULD NOT WEAR THEM TO TEACH 2ND GRADE. 
"Can I borrow this?" she asked. I more or less shrieked a no at her. "You stick it--" she started to say, laughing at my embarrassment before I retreated to my classroom. 
However. Readers, I am stubborn. ("What? Not you!") I refused to take off my obscene necklace. I was...I don't know, proving a point? In retrospect I'm not really sure what I was trying to prove. That I can handle the inevitable mocking? At lunch, N was well behaved. Until the one man in the room got up to get something from the other room. She leaned in towards a couple others and started murmuring in Arabic, pointing towards me. (I work with a fair amount of bilingual people.) 
"STOP IT!" I shrieked, reddening. "SHUT UP STOP IT STOP IT I HATE YOU." 
"What's going on, Amanda?" asked the man from the other room, laughing at my spectacle.
"Nothing!" I answered too quickly. The women were laughing. 
"Why are you hiding?" 
"I'M NOT!" 

I thought I was in the clear. I had the rest of the afternoon without any breaks, so I could easily get away with hiding in my room with my class. Later, I was in the middle of reading a chapter out of Charlotte's Web to my class. N knocked on the door. I started to open it when I realized the man was with her. But I was going to be cool. 
"Um, I'm kinda busy here. You know, teaching?" I said, trying to be casual. I would not meet the man's eyes. 

OH RIGHT I FORGOT PART OF THE STORY. That man? He's the only single man in the building. And you know how it goes--two single, straight people in close proximity of both age and geography must be destined for each other. Which many people have tried telling me. (And maybe him, who knows?)

Back to our story. I'm standing in my door, holding up Charlotte's Web like a shield, protecting me from having this conversation. 
"Tell him the story about your necklace," N says with a smirk. 

Yes, she did get a door closed on her as my face burst into flames. 

Excuse me, I have a necklace to put on ebay. 

Friday, February 03, 2012

so bright it'll blow your mind.

My years at Smith College were the best of my life, to date. It was where I learned that sometimes it's ok to make bad decisions. (I learned a lot of other things, too, don't get me wrong.)  More than anything, though, I found a second family. The Smithies surrounding me were, from day one until this very moment, my support system. They are my source for adventure, advice, hugs, rubber ducks, tea, and love. (I know, gross.) They picked me up after I fell so many times. They still do. My Smithies are the first ones I want to call when I have good news or bad news or stupid news. They are the reason I started writing here. They are the family I chose. 
Like Harry Potter, I was sorted randomly into a house--but I never for one second believed it was random. The universe sent me that house, those women, that family. We were meant to find each other. 

One of those women, a brilliant and caring young woman, lost her battle with cancer this week. It has been a tough reality to face. Knowing that Kirby, someone so beautiful and kind, has lost to such an ugly steals the air from my lungs. I can't pretend to understand. Kirby was a superhero walking undetected among us, making things right whenever she could. Hearing the news of her diagnosis this fall, I had to sit down. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Last week, when news of her declining health reached me, I sobbed. The unfairness of it all. And when I saw E's name on the screen of my phone, I knew it was over. 

And even through all of this, I look back at our time at Smith...and I can't help but smile. And I know that's exactly how I will remember her. I'm so proud to call her a part of my history. My whole family is.