free stats Carmen's Web: Surrounded by a**holes
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Surrounded by a**holes
When I was in the fourth-grade, my school had an International Food Fair. It was something I was very excited about because even at a very young age I was a food connoisseur. I spent weeks with my mother trying to figure out what kind of food to bring. We finally decided on kofta and I carried it proudly to school that day. On an index card I wrote a little history of kofta as well as how to make it in case one was inclined.

Lunch time took forever to come. But when we finally made it to the cafeteria it was a feast for the eyes. So much food from so many places! Isn't it great when the student body is made up of so many immigrants?!

Some time between stuffing my face with an Indian dish and licking dry an Ecuadorian pastry I heard some of my classmates giggling. I turned around to see one of them throw a piece of kofta on the floor and hear another say, "EWWWW! It looks like kaka!!!! KAKA KOFTA!! S MADE KAKA KOFTA!!"

I was so heartbroken at that moment. I didn't do anything. I didn't cry. I didn't try to stop them from making fun of me and my food. I just sat there. I hated what they were saying, but I couldn't do anything about. It was at about that time that I realized that the world was just full of assholes and that since there were so many of them it was inevitable that I come across several throughout my lifetime.

Last week my school had a Thanksgiving Feast. And a feast it was! I went through Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America like a tornado. My students were shocked to see their teacher down food like that! But I had to do it. For the kids. They did all this hard work and if I didn't sample their food they would've been sad. It's all about the kids.

I made grape leaves for this ocassion. I made it once over the summer for my co-workers and they loved it so much that they demanded I make it for the feast. We stored all the food in the teachers' lounge before moving it to the cafeteria and the grape leaves were under attack as soon as the teachers walked in. I'm surprised that there actually were handful that were finally able to make an appearance in the cafeteria.

So while I'm dogging down the food, three of my students appear behind me and start snickering. I turn around and it's my Egyptian crew.

"Ya Miss, el warak 3enab da wahesh gedan!!! (The grape leaves are awful!) If anyone eats them they'll have to be sent straight to the hospital!"

They continued making fun of me for a bit and one actually took one of the grape leaves, bit a piece off, then spit it out into the garbage. The rudeness of this entire act KILLED me. I couldn't believe the nerve these kids had. I couldn't believe that they had the nerve to come up to me and talk to me like that, straight to my face. This wasn't a case of kids joking with teacher or trying to give teacher a hard time. They were just being assholes. It was the worst case of bad manners I had ever witnessed. Their act was followed by two other students who thought it would be cool to emulate them and make fun of teacher and for a moment I felt like I was back in the fourth-grade.

One of my grandfather's favorite mantras centered around "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all." He would constantly tell me that people have feelings and that it was very important to be diplomatic in your dealings with them. There are many assholes in this world, he would tell me, but I shouldn't be one of them.

A main reason I've been so unhappy at this job is because some of these kids have the worst manners in the world. They're rude, uncouth, and highly uncivilized to me and each other. I struggle everyday not to take some of the things they say personally, but it's hard sometimes. It's draining more than anything else. In the fourth-grade I had to deal with it every once in a while. Now I deal with this shit everyday. I don't mind the kids challenging me. I actually enjoy it if they frame their arguments properly. But the bad manners kill me.

I was about to lose complete hope in teenagers when a couple of my African girls came up to me and thanked me for always being around to listen to them. It's been really hard moving to a new country, they said, but their day is always better when they come into my class. I hugged them and wished them a happy Thanksgiving. As they were leaving, one of them turned around and said, "Miss S, by the way, your food was really, really good. Thank you for making it".

The world may be full of assholes, but it's good to know that there will always be good people walking in their midst that have the potential to make it all better.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 3:14 PM
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Who: Carmen

xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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