Friday, May 18, 2007

A Thief Among Us

When you work in a school, it makes sense to emotionally prepare yourself for the fact that some of your possessions are going to be stolen. It would be foolish to think otherwise, which I learned in my 2nd or 3rd year of teaching when a boy named Bryant or Bryan or Byron stole my wallet out of my purse, which was in a cabinet, which was behind my desk, which was in the corner. How did he get there? Why wasn't I aware of his location at all times? First of all, I was new at this and easily distracted. Secondly, I popped my head into the class next door to ask what had just been announced on the loudspeaker, since my class was so lively (euphemism) that I couldn't hear a thing. Oops. Anyway, the whole class saw it; many of them tattled, but without hard evidence a school cannot accuse a sweet, innocent child of such a crime. So there went my wallet. Big whoop, really. I've had books stolen, which is semi-ok with me because it may mean that someone desperately wants to read. Other things disappear all the time. Markers, trinkets, various office supplies. Lots of the time it's probably not even stolen, but misplaced by this absent-minded educator who can't keep track of her keys. But I never expected what happened today. Today, a teacher robbed me.

Our principal is the defendant in a lawsuit (yes, school-related) that has gone to court. She has been away for two weeks. Things at school have been running very smoothly, I must say. Today was the last day of state testing, and to celebrate one of the assistant principals organized a potluck lunch for the entire faculty after the kids had gone home (early). The Multi Purpose Room buzzed with camaraderie and surprise at how such a simple occasion could make teachers feel appreciated and worthy of attention. Several long tables were lined with offerings like tamales, roast chicken, cupcakes, pozole, green salads, and my silly attempt at something light(ish) and crisp - a garbanzo and celery salad with cilantro and rice vinegar. It's to die for, I assure you, but it turns out that it's not exactly South LA haute cuisine. Nevertheless, almost everyone tried it, which pleased me.

After the feast ended, I returned to the MPR (after having run up to the library for some reason or another) to find my garbanzos and their twelve-dollar, brand new tupperware container with the red lid....gone. Yup. I checked with everyone who had anything to do with the organization of this event. The assistant principal, the custodian, the office manager. Baffled, all. It's not that I am emotionally or spiritually attached to my tupperware, but I was shocked that a teacher would walk off with something that silly, that small. We may not make a competitive wage, but we can afford plastic ware! Did this teacher think, "Ooh, this garbanzo salad is delicious. I'll eat it all weekend long and then bring the tupperware back and just leave it somewhere in the main office." Did this teacher think, "Well, if no one wants this, I might as well keep it from going to waste." Or, was it my current nemesis? Could he have deliberately made off with the chickpeas to hit me where it hurts, thinking, "Heh, heh, heh. So much for Mizz Murphy and her big, garbanzo-stuffed mouth!"

It is difficult to say what happened. A shocking way to end the week, a perfect way to begin the weekend; I will have stories to tell at dinner tomorrow with my friends. If I didn't have this job, would I have anything to say?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mizz Murphy! Love the blog. This story reminds me of a story that my mother still tells (30 years later!) about taking a salad to a feminist-peace movement potluck. She used her good silver salad bowl with matching tossing spoon and fork. The tossing implements were never returned to her, and my mother has forever blamed "The Feminists", turning her off forever to the women's movement. Me, I am still waiting for someone from my husband's office to return my Rubbermaid cake carrier from a year ago...

-- K's friend P