Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Grand Finale of My Teaching Career

Yesterday I went to Subway for lunch because I can't bare to cook or clean, let alone shower ( please note: I did shower) at this point in the year. School just needs to be over. My OPUS is finished. My decade + of teaching has reached it's grand climax and the resolution is wearing thin.

While I was telling the man to hold the lettuce and load on the tomatoes, the girl behind me asked the sweet sandwich maker,

"Does the turkey sandwich come with cucumbers?"

The man, who's first language was Spanish, really tried hard to understand this question, but he (and I both) looked perplexed, 

"Excuse me?"

I turned around and looked at the girl...she was staring earnestly up at the photos of the sandwiches. The turkey one pictured, did, indeed have cucumbers on it.

"The turkey sandwich, it comes with cucumbers right?" The people behind her also looked perplexed. The man didn't know how to answer, so he shrugged his shoulders. She responded, "Ok, well, um, I guess I'll get the ham sandwich."  *Please note that the ham sandwich was not photographed with cucumbers.

When I looked at this girl and I realized that she was, indeed, one of my students. She was a normal, run of the mill student (because you may be asking yourself if she needed special help on a daily basis). But, no. She was a normal kid.  Well, normal for Park City, which means she looked like Gisele Bundchen at the beach.

(mini/weird/offtopicrant)I don't really know how these girls do it--to look and dress like they do on a daily basis. They are so slender and wear so few clothes. I'm just perpetually cold when I look at them. But 90% of the girls could be supermodels. It's what they aspire to. Park City is a funny place to all of us regular folk. The women of this town are freaks of nature.  It's either something in the water--or the intermixed gene pool from the Gods or most likely it an eating disorder pact. (endrant)

I looked at this poor girl and the pain in my heart was sharp. Had I not taught her better than this? Had I really not given her the skills to understand that at Subway (and in life) you could have it your way? It was a call to action, and somehow I knew that this was going to be the last (and greatest) lesson I ever taught her (or anyone in Park City)!

"Hey," I said casually, "you know, you can still get the turkey sandwich and then when you get over here (I pointed to all of the vegetable choices) you just make sure they don't put cucumbers on it. You have the choice. You have the choice with whatever you want to have on your sandwich."  I spoke slowly, so as not to confuse her. I felt like this was a defining moment in her life, the moment she understood how to order from Subway and also how to understand what life could be. All the possibilities wrapped up in a metaphor about a turkey sandwich.

I saw the lightbulb go on "Oh! Wow. Thanks, Ms. Bee." The rest of the queue looked relieved. They could move on. I could move on. We could all move on.  And, with that, I bought my sandwich (with cucumbers) and I walked out. 

I feel like I really changed her life.


jorg wobblington lopez said...


Kim Orlandini said...

Uhm. I love you so hard.

Politicalcynic said...

Now make everyone read this, and "cucumbers on a subway" will become a universal expression for everything that feels impossible for no good (or bad) reason. We need a metaphor for that.

Ruahines said...

It's never about the cucumbers....