Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Adventures in Ridiculousness

OK, seriously, I can't make this stuff up. My job is so ridiculous. Let me share with you my latest adventure.

I forgot to pack a snack for myself this morning. I don't know what I was thinking -- so I will blame Emiko for distracting me. On the way to work I realized that I had forgotten to pack anything, and as I hadn't eaten much for breakfast, I knew this would be an issue.

At school, we have vending machines. A few years ago CPS got rid of soda and salty snacks (I really miss being able to get a Coke at work), but the machines still have "healthy" fare like PopTarts and Rice Krispies Treats, and some kind of salty non-chip snacks. And they offer juice drinks and whatnot. I decided that I would get a Rice Krispies Treat to tide me over until lunch. Not the healthiest thing in the world, but I was OK with that.

My planning period is 4th period, which is the first lunch period. The vending machines are only turned on 4th period. The bell rings after 3rd and I go down to the first floor to get my snack. As I'm putting my quarters in the machine, the security guard who we'll call Eugene starts yelling at me that the machine is not on and to get my money. I said why isn't the machine on? He yells at me that the machine is not to be turned on yet, that our principal doesn't want the kids using that machine. Which apparently means I can't use it, either.

So I'm walking away and thinking -- that's crazy. I see another security guard who I really like -- we'll call him Anthony. I ask Anthony if I'm allowed to use the vending machine. He looks at me like I'm crazy. He says of course I can use the machine -- just to plug it in and get my snack and then unplug it. I said that Eugene had yelled at me. He said, "Eugene is an asshole. You know that. Everyone knows that. If he yells at you, yell back. Don't be scared of him."

That made a lot of sense. I'm a grown woman, after all. So I march back over to the machine and plug it in and get my damn Rice Krispies Treat. Eugene starts yelling at me. "You better unplug that machine! You are not supposed to use that machine! The students are not to use that machine! Please tell me you are not using that machine!"

I said, "I'm not a student. I am eight months pregnant. I need a snack. I will unplug the machine as soon as I am done and no one else will use it!"

He said, "You aren't supposed to be eating that spicy stuff anyway! You should get something from the cafeteria!" (I've never set foot in our cafeteria, but from what I understand, they serve pizza and french fries everyday. Not especially healthy options, and I only had four quarters.)

"I'm getting a Rice Krispies Treat. It's cereal!" I'm thinking -- why am I explaining this to you? It's none of your business what I eat!

Then he yells to unplug the machine when I'm done and don't let anyone else use it. Of course, right then a couple of kids want to use it. I yell, "Get away from the machine! You are on your own!" One of my students asks me to buy her something. I tell her that I had to put up with a lot to get this dang snack and I'm done -- I can't help her.

I'm leaving, and Eugene yells, "You aren't supposed to be eating that sugary stuff. That's too much sugar!"

"Thank you!" I respond, completely furious at this point. "I will tell my doctor you said so!"

As I walk back towards the stairs to get to my classroom, I pass a huge mob of students in line to buy donuts. Different groups sell Krispy Kreme donuts to raise money. Somehow that is OK, but our vending machines can't sell candy bars or Coke. And apparently had I chosen to stand in the donut line, Eugene would have had nothing to say about it.

This job is frustrating enough; I should not have to fight with the security guard to buy a snack from the vending machine. Now I'm worried that he might key my car -- it's a good thing I don't park in the school parking lot. He really is an asshole.

But now I'm back in my room. I have eaten said Rice Krispies Treat -- and it was good. Tasted just like victory!

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