I love the part in Steel Magnolias when Ouiser says, “Well, I’ve found it. I am in hell.” There have been a few times in my life when I’ve uttered the same words.
Yesterday was one of them. It was the countywide inservice day for us, and if you don’t know what that is, it’s an all-day offsite meeting something akin to Chinese water torture. At one point I pictured myself curled up in the fetal position in a corner screaming, “Make it stop! Make it stop!”
There were 2 hour-long meetings in a gymnasium with an audience of over 150 teachers, one presenter, and NO sound system. At first I thought I might learn to read lips until I realized that I didn’t really care what was being said. I was too distracted by the numbness in my behind from sitting on bleachers for what seemed like the last 30 years of my life. In one session I looked at the girl sitting a couple of rows in front of me, and she was reading away on her little Kindle. She had it neatly concealed on top of the packet we’d been given, and from the way she was holding it, you’d have sworn she was completely engaged in what the speaker was droning on about. I decided right then and there that if she and I taught at the same school, we’d be fast friends.
The bright spot in our day was an hour and a half lunch break, during which my grade level and I enjoyed a wonderful lunch at a Mexican restaurant. We considered having a round or six of margaritas, but then we decided that we didn’t need any extra help in passing out during one of the afternoon meetings. Of course, that would have been impossible to do in the first session because the fire alarm went off no less than seven times during the speaker’s presentation. With no sound system and an overactive fire alarm system, I’m sure she thought our county school system was all that and a bag of chips.
Three o’clock finally rolled around and we were herded into the auditorium like 300 or so sheep where we were treated to one last powerpoint presentation. Or as I like to call it: a quick nap, a little snooze, or a siesta. Ouiser said that she didn’t go to plays because she could nap at home for free. I could say the same for inservice days except that since it’s work-related we get paid to nap.
Mercifully, the day ended at 3:30, when I ran screaming from the building and hopped into my car, where it was 135 degrees. So great was my joy, however, that I didn’t even care. After the air conditioner kicked in, I sent my inner Ouiser back to her hiding place, where she’ll stay until I find myself in another part of hell.