As it was with several of my past employers, I suspect I landed my job at the Montessori school only because I’d formerly worked in construction. It doesn’t matter that I sucked at the construction job. That I weighed not much more than the jackhammer, and the foreman would take his lunch break early just to watch me try and fail to tame that convulsing electric beast. That I reached down to pick up a sledge hammer and my whole entire ponytail sunk into a bucket of tar. That it had to be chopped off with carpet shears while the rest of the crew spit laughter through wads of chewing tobacco.
The only thing I liked about the job was the industrial fan I temporarily stole for my bedroom to soothe the nighttime summer heat. The fan was so strong I had to keep it two hundred feet from my bed at the far end of the hall so it wouldn’t blow everything in my room over. Each morning, I’d crawl on my stomach like G.I Jane/Joe in a bunker to smack the off-switch. The job was way better than my previous one at the paper mill where I’d spent forty hours a week picking up trash with a trash poker.
During our interview, the principal of the Montessori school was wearing a drill on her hip like a pistol. She spotted “construction worker” on my resumé and said, “You’re hired!” I knew what she was thinking: Someone who can lug rebar up three stories of scaffolding is certainly tough enough to handle nap time. I soon figured out I wasn’t nearly tough enough to convince four-year-olds to fall asleep in a room with twenty other four-year-olds. But wow, did I love Show & Tell.
I was only a few months into the job when Finn stood in front of the sharing circle, opened a tiny tin can, and pulled out what appeared to be a dead worm. “Um, this my umbilical cord”, Finn said. The co-teacher and I leapt up from our 2PM fatigue and gawked at the thing while Finn walked around the circle dangling it in front of the other kids’ eyeballs. From the corner of the room, Arnie, one of the three-year-olds, hollered, “What a billcull core?” Finn said, “It’s how ya eat stuff ‘fore ya get born.” Arnie thought that was weird and said as much, but really was in no position to say anything was weird, as the previous week while watching Camilla show off her ballerina tutu, Arnie raced out of the bathroom with a wad of toilet paper containing a poop he’d fished out of the toilet. It was his first time going poop anywhere besides his home and he was wholeheartedly proud and needed someone to show and tell the poop to. “Amazing job!” I told Arnie. “Now go put it back in the potty.”
My favorite show and tell is always the first thing I think of when I think of what doesn’t suck about our world. Eireann recently moved to the U.S from Ireland. A couple of months after her arrival, she and her mother stood before the class with handfuls of tiny fairy sculptures and told stories about Ireland’s fairy gardens.
“Some are humongous,” Eireann said, “but some are tiny as a hopscotch square.”
“In Ireland, when they are building a big highway”, Eireann’s mother told us, “if they come across a fairy garden, even if it’s very small, they’ll re-route the highway around it, no matter what it costs.”
Eireann added, “No matter if it costs a hundred-hundred dollars. They won’t make a highway over a fairy garden.”
I was wowed. Capitalism yielding to magic. Below is a drawing I drew of a re-routed highway in Ireland:
Love, Andrea 🖤