I’m back from the trip to Toronto with Gal Smiley and her eighth grade class.
I wrote about a dozen blog posts in my head while I was away, because that is how I process. But now that I am back, I find I don’t really want to wallow.
So to sum up:
- Some of the boys on the trip were jerks.
- I let their behaviour really get under my skin.
- There was an incident where I kind of blew my top at them, in an inappropriate manner.
- They laughed in my face and told me they didn’t have to listen to me, and I cried a whole bunch, and felt totally embarrassed and humiliated.
So! It wasn’t exactly a great time. Luckily for me, Gal Smiley had no awareness at all that this had happened (possibly doesn’t even still). She had a very nice time and her friends were wonderful so I’m happy about that.
I spent a lot of time after The Incident processing and self-analyzing. I beat myself up for my well-established tendencies to bossiness and nosiness, which had bloomed out of control on the trip. I gave myself firm lectures on how I need to get my menopause emotions under control, stat.
I wanted to be the Best Trip Supervisor Ever, but although you might think that means being active and involved, I think it actually would have been easier for the teachers if I was more of a warm body, willing to be directed and told what to do, but otherwise on the sidelines. I tried to be that for the remainder of the trip and it was better.
Most of all, I had this really weird flash where the boys were laughing at me when I could really see myself through their eyes. It was the first time I have ever felt truly old. I could hear myself barking at them about The Rules, The Rules, and I sounded to my own ears like a bitter, cranky old woman, angry at youth. Wanting to exercise what sad, little power I had before I vanished completely.
I have probably thought about this incident about 1000x more than any of those boys. It’s come and gone for them, hopefully for the teachers on the trip too.
But I have changed. I am different now. I can see what some part of the world thinks of me and it isn’t pretty.
After The Incident, I was sitting on the bus with dark glasses and tissues and I was sitting behind one of Gal Smiley’s best girl friends. And she casually pointed out to me a cool license plate as it was going by – “AZ IF.” And I cried anew, because she was kind, and because we shared a geeky interest in license plates, and she talked to me like I was just any other person. Maybe it is possible in this world to find the kind of people who are like you, who value you, no matter what your age or station or mistakes or damage.
But it will take some soul searching to get over it all, I think.