I like to think I keep shit on an even keel. I don't let the kids make me nuts like so many on this page seem to. I just take charge of my room, teach my subject, grade fairly, and then pick up my stuff at the end of class and go home.
But for some reason this semester things have gotten out of control, and it all starts with a precious entity I call Low Blood Sugar Lester.
Oh, Lester. You ever have one of those students who is a patience-suck? A student who just seems to be able to get on every last nerve? Well, Lester is that for me.
He's a couple of years older than the rest of the students - a result, he tells me, of 18 months in a minimum security facility somewhere in California. That's fine. I don't give a shit about that. But his seniority in class forces him to raise his hand at the tail end of every class discussion to say, "Well, I've been through the wars a bit more than everyone else, so, here's what I think of Spinoza."
Anyway, I can handle his in-class interruptions.
But in the 3rd or 4th week Lester comes to me at the end of class with a pained expression. "Dr. Vince, I hate to bother you with this, but I'm under a doctor's orders, and I need to eat something every 2 hours; it's actually pretty important in my treatment."
He went on to show me his class schedule, and he regaled me on his morning routine, when he ate breakfast, how he was able to eat at certain times on Tuesdays and Thursday, but no matter when he got up or how he arranged things, one of his important times was smack dab in the middle of my class. I mean, he had a fucking chart!
"What do you mean, eat?" I said. "A meal? A power bar? What?"
"Oh, Dr. Vince, I normally have a high protein bar that I eat and then a special drink I keep in a plastic bottle."
So I'm thinking, that's no big deal. "Don't worry about it, Lester. Shouldn't be a problem."
And it wasn't for a while. Then in the 6th week I walk into class and I can smell something, food, something cooked. Lester is sitting at his table with a large toasted sandwich of some kind, cheese oozing out the sides."
"Hey, Dr. Vince," he said when I came up to him.
"A grilled cheese, really?" I said.
"Oh, Dr. Vince. I'm really sorry. When I got up this morning I realized I was out of my normal stuff and I had to run to the cafeteria to have something for my snack."
So, what can I do. And it sits there on his table, smelling the joint up, making his neighbors hungry, until at exactly halfway through class when he luxuriously eats it. (That he finished off with a Hershey's candy bar with crackling, wrinkling tin foil is something that was also new.)
Anyway, we went back to protein bars for several class periods, and I had just about blocked grilled cheese day out of my head.
Until yesterday, I mean.
When I walked into class and caught a whiff, I immediately knew Lester had taken things to a new level. When I passed by his table, I looked down at a whole roasted chicken in its grocery store plastic container. Not a chicken leg. Not a chicken sandwich. The entire fucking bird.