Today I missed almost all of our after-school faculty meeting because carpool came and went, and B was still in the room. "Who's picking you up today?" I asked. "I don't know" she said in her tiny, precise little voice.
We waited a bit, I took her down to the office, hung around until some other late pick-ups had left, then we headed back to the room to contact somebody. I tried to reach her mother's cell phone --- which B helpfully recited, along with her father's --- but I couldn't get through. I said, "I'll try your father," and started dialing.
"My father is at China" said B in her tiny voice.
I broke off and looked for her home number. I reached her mother, who speaks English passably. "Hello, J," I said. "B is still here!" Her mother said, "It Tuesday. She has Yoga class in, ah, gym." I thanked her and hung up.
I looked at B, astonished. "Why didn't you tell me that?!" I thundered.
She put a finger in her mouth and grinned mischievously. "Tee hee," she giggled. She knew all the time she had an after-school activity. She just didn't want to go! She'd rather have hung around watching me make small talk and call people. Kids are such sneaks.
I caught the last ten minutes of the meeting and hit the snacks. I saw the Head, and he greeted me with an amiable, "Oh, you still work here?" I found out later that I'd also totally forgotten about a meeting of the Environmental Awareness team I'm on. Whoops!
This was made more ominous by his final announcement of the meeting, which was that teacher contracts will be postponed until returning students have all be accounted for. "It's just prudent, in this economy, to make sure the numbers are three," he said. Then, not quite so reassuringly, "I can't promise that everyone will be guaranteed a spot, or that nothing unfortunate will happen."
Hey! What? Huh? Wow!
Well, actually, I feel as secure as an insecure fellow like me can feel about this job, but it's the first time I've head anyone at Prestigious talk like that.