Similar to the “Roses and Thorns” family activity the Obamas allegedly play around the dinner table at the White House, Mr. Apron and I play a game we call “One Good Thing,” or, as he sometimes abbreviates it, “OGT”.  It’s not hard to find sucky things (ahem, “thorns”) in a shitty (“thorny”) day, but it can be hard to find a good thing.  We play OGT to help each other find one nice, decent, or even just mediocre thing in a day.  On a rough day, it might be, “I got a street parking spot in front of the house” or “The dog didn’t try to eat her shit.” 

Yesterday was just a normal day at work, until I received, out of the blue, an e-mail from a former supervisor.  She remembered that my birthday is coming up (October 9th; send presents!) this weekend, and wanted to send good wishes.  “I’m sure you are busy with your new job, but I hope you are loving that challenge too. They are very lucky to have you; I miss your positive attitude and clever insights. Please keep in touch.”  It made me feel all warm and snuggly all over.  I feel that I was able to leave my old job with no hard feelings.  Even though this woman sat in on my exit interview where I trashed the company she’s been working for; even though I left, citing irreconcilable differences with policies, management, and expectations.  That was definitely my OGT.

And my OGT was promptly derailed shortly after work.  A student I tutor, outside of school hours, inside of the school building, brushed briefly by my classroom/office/cubby/closet door, grinning ear to ear that he had no homework, making it clear he intended to get picked up with his sister today.  Bound by duty (and wary of 6th graders who proclaim they have no homework), I pulled him aside, checked his planner, and went through his classes.  Nope, seemed like no homework!  I got to leave early, all was good.

Until his mother e-mailed…didn’t he have a vocab quiz tomorrow?  Shit.  Of course he did.  And I, wonderful tutor, have neglected my duty, have shown myself to be forgetful (must not let them see my human side.  must be superhero speech therapist/tutor.), and have shirked my task.  I checked my e-mail obsessively after I replied, briefly, with a message that I hope came off more as, “Whoops!  I knew about the quiz — of course — but it slipped my mind.  Let me tell you about the quiz, to show you how much I know about. I’m responsible,”  and less as, “Sheesh, lady.  I can’t be expected to remember what every kid is doing in every class.  You do his studying with him.  You’re his mom.”  I kept expected to see her reply to my e-mail stating that she was 1) firing me from tutoring, 2) having me fired from the school, and 3) pulling her kid out of the school.  As of 8pm, I stopped checking my e-mail, figuring that she would have replied by then.  And I would have been fired by then. 

Lest I get too full of myself, it’s nice to know I will always make (and be called on) human errors to bring me back to earth, where the mortals belong.

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