…i have so much that i want to say all the time. i literally feel like i am back to being seven and in the second grade with so much burgeoning enthusiasm that it just cannot be contained.
when mrs. jones asks the class a question, i am nearly falling out of my seat waving my hand the highest and the hardest, even yelling, “oh, oh, oh…i know, i know, i know!!!”
well, that’s because i’m seven and i’ve been reading already for nearly five years, everything that i can get my hands on. i truly do know most everything that my classmates do not.
i am not called on to answer the question, so i begin talking to my neighbor telling them the answer, distracting them from their own learning experience. another question is offered up to the class.
this time i am standing on my chair for a split second before mrs. jones very calmly walks over, puts her hands on my waist and in one movement puts me back into my seat. she says nothing, but continues to stand next to me with a hand on my shoulder.
i shoot her a look and then, i see all of my classmates staring at me, so i begin to make goofy faces, which elicits laughs and giggles from the whole class. very displeased, mrs. jones picks me up, grabs a chair and places me into the corner.
she points to an arbitrary spot on the wall and tells me to put my nose on it and keep it there. i grudgingly do so. she continues to stand next to me determined to make me comply.
mrs. jones asks the class another question. it is a really good one, one that no one readily gets called upon to answer. i really want to be good.
i try hard to be good, but i just can’t do it. i cannot contain my seven year old enthusiasm or my need to feel intellectually superior.
i am so amped that i shriek the answer with gusto and glee, because being right and well-informed is worth absolutely any punishment.
with that little antic, mrs. jones becomes visibly shaken, grabs a roll of masking tape from her desk, tears off a sizable chunk and places it across my mouth.
my classmates all turn around. there are snickers, belly laughs, and giggles. my friends are pointing and making goofy faces at me. someone lets out a loud fart noise and blames it on me.
i can feel my face flush and myself getting angry. i am embarrassed and humiliated. i have to make one last desperate gesture of communication that shows that if nothing else, i am committed.
so, i look at my classmates very carefully and intentionally. i look at mrs. jones and “voice” my displeasure over the whole affair.
i slowly and deliberately raise my right hand and my right middle finger, holding the rest of my fingers in a tightly clenched fist.
with that, i push poor, calm mrs. jones off of the deep end. she picks me up and carries me, still with masking tape over my mouth, past one…two…three classrooms with students and teachers alike agawk…standing at the windows.
i am deposited at pastor geiger’s office with the statement to the pastor being, “i don’t know what else to do with her.” the pastor sits across from me. he is a very kind man. i stare into his gentle eyes and he stares back.
we continue to stare. suddenly, the pastor sticks out his tongue, makes a pig nose, and snorts really loudly. i let out a laugh that pops the tape loose from my mouth. i look at the pastor and he says, “you can remove it (the tape) the rest of the way.” i do.
i meet the pastor’s eyes. he is kind, but serious when he says, “miss w, we really need to stop meeting like this. i am going to let this slide this time, but if this happens again, before the end of the trimester, i will spank you and call your dad.”
i look at him and say, “okay, i’m sorry.” he looks back and says, “okay, but i’m not the one that you need to apologize to. you need to go back to class and apologize to mrs. jones and your classmates for disrupting class.”
so, he takes my small hand in his big one and we make our way to my classroom. he enters first and says, “excuse me mrs. jones and class, but miss w has something that she’d like to say. miss w, the floor is finally yours.”
and, i purposefully take my place at the front of the classroom. i take my time to make eye contact with each classmate, mrs. jones, and finally the pastor…who winks at me, as if to give me my cue.
i begin to simply apologize, but realize that i do have the floor, as well as everyone’s attention. my simple apology ends up a soliloquy, tying up all of it’s offshoots and loose ends masterfully.
as i finish, i notice mrs. jones and the pastor share a knowing look and smile. i pick-up on it and wonder if i am forgiven, as i am genuinely sorry.
i just want a chance to be heard and a chance to answer. i realize that i must find a more respectful way of communicating. i think about that for the rest of the day…
…and, here i find myself forty-two years later trying to figure out the same thing. how to not be overwhelming and word-heavy. how not make weird or awkward statements. how to not divulge too much information.
…until i figure about the “how” and can master that…i feel that i will forever be that big-mouthed, defiant, class-clown…giving soliloquies, when a concise statement will do.
***mind you, in real life i am learning and practicing being concise, with help. sometimes, i get down on myself. today is such a day. so, as always, my blog is for as many words as i want. real life is for practicing to be concise.***