Today the cops came for me at school. Wow, that’s a pretty dramatic opening for a teacher blog entry. With any luck*, visions of God-knows-what are flashing through your head right now. “What did he do? Did they haul him off in handcuffs in front of his students? OMG, will his next post be from the cooler?”
The reality wasn’t quite so dramatic, though the front office staff got quite a charge out of it. Actually, it was only one officer. And he left his number, instead of leaving with me. But it took me right back to when I was in seventh grade. That was the last time the cops showed up for me at school. Yep, this post isn’t about my class or teaching, this is all about me.[audio:http://teachingtheoutsiders.com/allaboutme.mp3]
I got a phone call at school at 7:30 in the morning. This in itself is a bit unusual, because I don’t really talk on the phone (no, I don’t own a cell phone – and never will), and most people know not to call me. Even the office staff knows (if it’s not an emergency) to send a runner, instead of calling me during class, because I usually ignore the phone. But this time, I was thinking it might be a parent I had a meeting scheduled with. So I answered it.
“Is this Mr. Coward?” Angry, just barely holding it in.
“Were you skating on BlahBlah Street yesterday afternoon?”
“Maybe” (That’s the seventh grader in me.)
“Well, I called the cops, and you’re gonna pay, and…”
“Wait, you’re that guy? The guy that almost ironed me as you ran a stop sign?”
It was all downhill from there.
Yesterday, on my daily skate, as I was crossing an intersection in front of a stop sign, a giant pickup like everybody drove until gas prices forced people to be smart, ran said stop sign.
One of the reasons I wear wrist guards is for this sort of occurrence. In 16 years of skating, this has happened a lot. There is always a look of shock and surprise as they finally look my way. Most people then give me the sheepish I’m (sorta) sorry look. Not going to do me much good in the hospital, but better than the ones who think it’s my fault they ran the stop sign (light). This guy was one of those.
Usually I can go around them. Some yelling, and a few choice curses, and I move on. This one dead ran it, and I was already off the curb. I hit the truck with both wristguards. I guess I left a dent, but I didn’t stick around to check it out, because this clown was out of the truck and yelling. Best not to mix it up with those prone to road rage. As I skated away, I “gently” reminded him that that dent could easily have been caused by my head, and since he ran the stop sign, he should be apologizing to me. He didn’t exactly see it my way.
But as I said, this sort of thing has happened more times than you might think in 16 years of skating, so after I vented to the wife about the latest bonehead, I forgot about him. Until the phone call.
Dunno how he tracked down my name. Guess I’m famous. Anyway, he claimed he was sending the cops to see me. Great, cops coming for me at school. Just like in seventh grade.
Part II tomorrow. Maybe Sunday.
*Remember, the word hopefully is an adverb, as in “We waited hopefully for news of the rescue,” so it would be incorrect here to say, “hopefully” like many of us do.