The one really frustrating part of this gift is that I can tell if a person is cheating on her spouse just because she happens to be standing in front of me at the Dunkin Donuts, but I cannot tell if someone I am interested in is interested in me. To be fair, I don’t think it’s the ability that holds me back, I think it’s my ego.
I have a crush, which is annoying because I am not sure what this significant crush is thinking. Again, I can see a video of a perfect stranger screaming at his son in my head, but I cannot for certain know if one of my guy friends thinks I am attractive. The other frustrating part of this is that I used to really dislike this man. For the sake of time, I will begin our story and continue it tomorrow.
Here’s how it started…picture it. A high school library filled with students three years ago…
I sat at a table near the main computer lab situated in the center of the library. The room was packed with students. Thirty of my Honors students swarmed around my table and the adjoining areas. They were working on their research papers, and in true Honors style, they had so many questions. I was answering some and reprimanding others when I heard a booming male voice, “Women’s rights?” He yelled. He waved a paper in the face of a young girl who looked to be in ninth grade. Her eyes were wide with horror. She stayed silent but backed away. “Why would you want to do your paper on women’s rights.” He shook his head and threw the paper on the table in front of him. “Either way it must be more specific. Go and pick a better topic than that please.” I stared, incredulous. When he looked up, our eyes met and I waved my hand.
“Really?” I mouthed, hoping my eyes and gesture conveyed my disgust. He smiled and shrugged, Disgusted, I looked away. I was shocked, not only by his blatant disrespect for the topic of women’s rights, but that he would staunchly yell about it across the library as if it were ok. In addition, the look on the girl’s face stayed with me, even later that day when I was at the lunch table with other people from department.
“I don’t know who it was, but I can’t believe he would say that. It’s the 21st century and it’s a public school. I know he’s a Social Studies teacher, but I have no idea who.” My friend Sally walked from behind the wall that separated the two sections of the lunch room. “I know who it is,” she answered.
“Who?” I asked.
“It’s Brewster. He’s always making sexist comments like that.”
“I don’t know,” I answered. “What’s that guy look like?”
“Cute,” she answered. “Brown hair, kind of built.” I nodded. For all of my irritation while I was in the library, I could tell he was cute. His arrogant smiling face showed a guy who was used to getting away with things because of his looks.
“Yep, it sounds like him,” she said. “I am so sick of his shit. My kids tell me the male chauvinistic shit he spouts off in class all of the time. Someone should really talk to him. He needs to know that the stuff he’s saying is not ok. I was at an in-service workshop with him once, and we were working on an exercise where we had difficult and stressful situations. We had to explain how we would work through money issues with a spouse who was upset that we were working long hours.”
“Oh, yeah,” one of my male colleagues said. “That was so weird.”
“He said,” she continued, ” I would tell her to shut up and just enjoy m my big fat check.” There was a hushed silence followed by various comments. I shook my head.
“Such a dick,” I said. “And so smug, standing there smiling.” I have never liked arrogant men like this, regardless of what they look like. Looks have never been something I’ve focused on.
“That’s it,” my friend said suddenly, slamming her hand on the table. “I’m going to talk to him.”
“What?” I croaked, choking slightly.
“Yeah, I am going to set this guy straight once and for all.” She stood up. My fried Sally has always been a powerful ally. An ex softball player, she was always dealing sexist stuff on the field and off. Her solid, athletic body was poised for a fight. “Wanna go?”
“No,” I answered as my heart raced. “I feel like I’ve said enough.” My heart fell into my stomach. So many doubts, so many misgivings. What if this guy wasn’t even Brewster? And what is he going to think if he is?
Sally gave me no time to plea for some kind of reprieve. She threw her lunch in the trash and angrily marched down to the Social Studies office.
To be continued…