Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Like A Bad Penny, They Keep Showing Up

The note read, "Can you come to my office pronto." It wasn't a question, but an order. So, easily within two hours of receiving the note, I entered the guidance office. I could be the poster child for passive-aggressive. The primary guidance offered in the small reception room, encircled by four offices, was how long until lunch and how much longer before retirement. I could answer both questions for them with ease; Forty-one minutes until lunch, and you retired about 5-years-ago.

"Why do they keep coming back," the counselor asked?
"Whose coming back?"
She handed me the re-enrollment form and I read the name. "It could be worse. I remember him as not having perfect behavior, but he seemed like a good kid," I said.
"Do you know how many I registered today?" I didn't know and could care less.
She continued, "Ten students returned here today. You'd think it's August not halfway through Febuary."

My mind had already moved on to my next task in a building far removed from here. What difference did it matter how many kids registered today? If ten returned then ten would leave. Cosmic balance always seemed to prevail and protect students from burned out counselors, teachers, and principals. The only ones it couldn't protect them from were themselves.

All the counselor wanted in the end was for someone to say the classes she typed in to the returning students schedule was okay. I did not care if I validated her efforts, but I did want to move on, "Looks okay to me." I turned, in the small, windowless office, reaching for the edge of the door.

"How was your weekend?"
"Uneventful," I said.
"Mine also. I didn't want to come in today."
I wondered what made her believe she was here. "It's okay. Could be worse by not having a job."
"Oh, wouldn't it be great to lounge around all day."
"Not much different than what you do now."

Before I could make it to the outside door I heard the receptionist tell the counselor, "You have a new student waiting."
"They are like bad pennies. They keep showing up."
I cringed for the student and his single, tired parent waiting for guidance.

And it goes on and on and on..............................