Monday, May 08, 2006

Along my travels

I took a trip recently with my child's class. The kids rode busses and the parents drove along behind. I learned a few things along the way.

Before getting into all that, I must say that the trip generally worked like an well-oiled machine. With about 100 kids and 40 adults, that saying something. The only time it didn't go smoothly was when someone was being stupid. So, props to the school for that.

However, some people ARE stupid. Okay, no news flash there. As you know, that's a favorite soapbox of mine. I don't really know why I'm still amazed by this. This time, though, I was a little disheartened to realize that most of the stupid people on the trip were women. We had a grand total of two stupid men on the trip, and one was the school principal.

I saw the first bit of stupid on the highway. When you're traveling with two greyhound busses, do not get in between them. It messes up their stopping distance because they have to compensate for your stopping distance, too. This rule is especially true when Bus #2 looks like it's been in a serious accident before. Do you really want to be between him and another BIG bus? Just stupid.

You had to really pay attention to the bus drivers or you'd be left behind. Speed limits figured into the equation about as much as red lights did. They'd either leave you in the dust of the open highway or lose you when they ran that almost-red light.

I laughed my ass off when they got pulled over. They'd left us all behind again, but we caught them when those flashing red and blue lights came into view. Laughed. My. Ass. Off. They didn't push the speed limit anymore.

One dad didn't get that being assigned a group in the dorm at night meant you were the leader of that group. After the trouble of the water fight (with the water intended to get us through desert heat the next day) and his boys peeking in the girls' windows (these are 10-year-olds) at 11:30 at night, he finally realized (in his own words), "They apparently want us to be some sort of [finger quotes] role model here."

And if you ever see that commercial about how great a place Alamogordo, NM, is to take the family, don't buy the bit about the kiddie mini-train. The "conductor" is a loon. Kids were watching the train go around as we ate lunch. He stopped the train, full of little passengers, and berated them for not being 20 feet away from the track and if they didn't move, he was calling the cops on them. On 10-year-olds. Watching the train. Sitting in the grass. Then, he completed the route at break-neck speed. What a stable man, driving kids around the park, eh?

I officially can't stand my child's teacher. The kids had two activities that required hikes in the desert heat. They were supplied with plenty of water, but one boy didn't drink it. Upon arrival at the second hike site, he began vomiting and complaining of a headache. Hmmm...can anyone say heat stroke? One lady got him some water and sat him at a table in the shade. He put his head down while she went to get wet towels to put on him.

In the meantime, here comes this teacher. She wants to take away his water because he doesn't have the lid! AND she wants to send him out on the second hike! The child is listless, with his head on the table, obviously in distress. A parent intervenes: "No, he's sick."
"Aw, he's fine. Just get up and go."
"No, really! He might have heat stroke."
Teacher makes a snotty, how-stupid-are-you face. "I'm sure it's nothing like that."
"He's vomiting."
That stopped her. "Oh yeah? Well, how much water have you had?"
He confesses the small amount. She says, "That's ALL?!" and began berating him for not drinking more water.

Just can't stand that woman. He did not go out on the trail.

She got mad at me later for telling my child and her friend to come away from the edge of a large drop. She scolded a few for the same thing a few minutes later, but had a big surprise.

See, Mr. Principal made sure the kids knew the rules of the hike. Stay on the path. Don't climb things. Stay with your group. When nasty teacher saw those other kids at the edge, she assumed they were looking down it. Wrong, they were hiking UP it. And who was their leader? The bright one leading them (remember, they had to stay with their group) off the path and up a cliff they shouldn't climb? The principal. Stupid.

I also learned that I'm competitive to a nearly unhealthy level. When we departed the school, I looked at the situation and maneuvered myself to a position that assured I would be first behind the busses. I did that the entire trip. As long as I did that, I wasn't left behind at a light.

We had to make a u-turn once and a soccer mom in an SUV cut me off to get ahead of me. Oh, it's a mistake to piss me off like that. I spent the rest of the trip not caring who was ahead of me, as long as it wasn't her. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities I had to cut her off throughout the trip.

One last thing I have to share. While passing through one of the many little towns along the way, I saw something that made me double-take. You often see vendors along the streets of these towns, selling rugs, fruit, rocking chairs, velvet paintings, etc. We passed one of these stands...selling acchordians. Wow.

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