Walking down the long corridor, I feel like a giant. I glance down at the water fountain that comes up a little beneath my waist line. I look at the row of sinks at the same height. There’s a sign posted above the sink that says “Remember, only take TWO towels.”
It looks almost as if I’m in a miniature art museum. There’s artwork scattered up and down the lengths of the hallways. I see a library to my right. Nobody is in it.
I turn right down the next hallway, then make a left before I finally see it. “There it is,” I think to myself as I spy the little people cafeteria. Directly to the right, I peered through the windows into the gymnasium, hoping to see a sweet game of dodgeball, or maybe some kids doing the “flexed arm hang.” But alas, the gym was empty.
I walk into the cafeteria, and immediately get stopped by a woman wanting to know if I wanted to trade her food for my Subway I brought my daughters and I to eat. I laughed, thinking she was joking. A few minutes passed before they showed up, so I took a little time to study the room.
I sit down at a tiny table and sit on the tiny orange stool attached to said table. Almost instantaneously, I hit my kneecap against a metal pole connecting the table to the chair. There is only a couple of empty seats between a classroom of second-graders and myself.
I nod my head in acknowledgement and say a quick “hello” to the children closest to me, and in return I was met with about five death stares.
“OK,” I thought to myself. “Nice bunch.”
I start looking around the room, and all the different kids. They look so different. Some got dressed like they were going on their first date, others didn’t even attempt to brush/comb their hair. Some of the children were small, and some were a lot bigger. As I waited for my kids to get to the cafeteria with their classmates, I started taking mental notes.
“Two kids down from me…” I whisper under my breath. “He has gutted his banana, and looks as if he is about to de-vein it.”
Maybe I should’ve been more helpful, and informed him that a banana is not a shrimp. I would have, but I was too busy staring at the poor lad in front of me, sitting at the adjacent table. He was pounding his forehead into his cheese pizza for no apparent reason at all! It was quite amusing, actually.
Next to that same child, was another boy who was drinking applesauce through his straw, and then spitting it out through the same straw on top of his pizza. I didn’t watch long enough to see if he ate the pizza after that or not.
I look over to a child a couple of spots past the first child I observed (the one with the banana—who, by the way, has now moved on from cutting the banana, to squishing it in between his little nasty fingers). This kid had a fork in his hand, and was stabbing mercilessly his pizza over and over again.
Then, finally, my fourth-grader shows up. I tell her what I just observed. She laughs. I tell her that the WHOLE cafeteria just lost five minutes of recess time, for talking too loud. She laughs again.
“So, is this a fairly normal day,” I ask. “Yeah, pretty much.”
Then, my sixth-grader walks up, sits down next to her, and almost immediately, I hear a loud fart. They both look at each other, start giggling, and denying it.
Thank GOD I’m not in elementary school again. And for those teachers and lunchroom aides, librarians, and anybody else working in that environment with children other than your own—God bless you, as well!