Mr. Fizz [chemistry teacher]: Just for once, do not do this to me.
Big copier: Thpppppth beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. [Red light flashes]
Mr. Fizz: Arrrrrgh! [races down to the other copier to see if he can get everything done in time]
Fr. Romanus shook his head. He and I cleared the jams, and he put his stack of originals on the feed mechanism.
Fr. Romanus: You’re such a good copier, you really are. [Presses buttons]. Such a good copier. [Gently pets lid of copier]
Copier: Thpth. Thpth. Thpth.
Fifty collated, stapled, and trimmed copies later, Fr. Romanus departs.
The history and English departments try to coordinate material so the students get the literature and history at the same time. Thus the following exchange:
Mrs. Conjugate [English teacher]: Miss Red, where are you?
Me: Just wrapping up the early industrial revolution. Zola and Dickens.
Mrs. Conjugate: Excellent. Stephen Crane and Poe.
Me: Very good.
We part ways, leaving the commons for out respective classrooms. The students, of course, have been listening. Behind me I hear…
New Junior: Was that in code?
Serious Senior: Yes. That’s how they know who is failing.
N.J. [concerned]: Really?
S.S.: Oh yeah. [Hides behind English book] If they mention your name and Bradbury in the same sentence, you’re doomed.
For Homecoming week, there is a little more leeway as far as dress. So we have things like Manic Monday (plaids, dots, stripes, houndstooth, whatever so long as it doesn’t match), Wild Wednesday (animal prints, the larger and louder, the better) and so on. Last year included “Throw-back Tuesday.” Everyone was to pick a decade and dress like it. A lot of the guys were 1950s (jeans, white undershirt, cuffs rolled, white socks), the girls had more variety.
Fr. Pax (the Headmaster) and Sister Scholastica (aka The Dean) stood in the main hallway, checking to ensure that standards of decency remained intact. No, no hot pants or micro-mini skirts allowed. Brother Vector strolled past wearing his Franciscan habit. And holding a leather-covered mug. With a faux medieval book in his other hand.
Fr. Pax: We failed to specify which century.
I drift by in late Victorian finery, including a hat large enough to block doorways, and a skirt that’s almost as wide.
Sr. Scholastica: Perhaps we should have.
It is October, well into the first semester. I walk through the main doors, nod at the secretary and Mr. Long-Slavic-Last-Name, then began working my way past the gaggle of students waiting to scatter to class. A young woman bursts free of the flock and races toward me.
Frantic Freshman 2.0: Miss Red, Miss Red!
I glance at the clock. It is a quarter till the first bell sounds. In other words, too early, and I have not been fully caffeinated.
Me: Yes, Ma’am?
F. F.: Didyougetmyemail?
Me: [calmly] When did you send it?
Sober Sophomore: [shaking her head]
Me: No. As I said on Monday, I do not check e-mail after nine thirty PM. (This is unofficial school policy. No teacher responds to e-mail after nine or ten PM. We are off the clock, and set our own stop times.)
Sober Sophomore: Teachers need sleep, remember? We don’t. [gives me a look of pity]
Me: And your question is?
F.F.: [droops, makes unhappy noise, slumps off]
Sober Sophomore: She’ll learn eventually.
Sr. Scholastica: Ah, there you are. [nods to sophomore, checks name off of list] Don’t forget that you must turn in your calculus work early if you are going on the basketball trip.
Sober Sophomore: [loud gulp] Yes, Sister. [Exit stage left, pursued by a deadline]