I spent the weekend in Austin.
I’d like to tell you my time was spent in blissful oblivion at some frou-frouey spa in decadent self-indulgence where the only decision-making crisis was whether to add the aromatherapy salt-wrap or to have chai or organic green tea.
But you know that never happened. For crying out loud, did you forget I’m a public education school teacher?
As if I could afford blissful oblivion. As if. Jeez, I can’t even afford that blue and white Bliss in a bottle stuff.
While most folks view getting away once in a while to get re-centered, re-grouped and re-energized, I, on the other hand, loaded up an assortment of newspaper and yearbook staffers –13 to be exact–and headed to one of the best cities on the planet for the annual state journalism convention. (That alone should give you pause to ponder if perhaps someone whacked me in the head or if, perhaps, I should be whacked in the head, and not for traveling to Austin, but for traveling with that many teenagers.)
So boys and girls, that’s how I found myself in Austin, surrounded by teenagers–did I mention 13 to be exact. (Well, 14 if you count my daughter who serves as VP of Humor Control for this blog.)
Now, we all know that any time you spend an inordinate amount of time with teenagers in a confined area, well, strange things happen. But before we go there, let me just say speedy quick that the chicken, of course, accompanied us and came in quite useful as we darted across lanes of traffic.
As always, Mr. Chicken generated joy to those he pointed and squawked at. After all, what’s not to like about a rubber chicken hanging out a Suburban window or peeking through the sunroof? Compare that to our second van that was forced to navigate without a rubber chicken. At last count, they got flipped off six times.
OK, OK, OK, let’s get back to interesting things overheard… And while what happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, Austin is entirely a different story. Because whatever happens in Austin with 14 pairs of eyes watching will inevitably get embellished exponentially until I’m flying down the freeway at 150 mph singing “Born to Be Wild” at the top of my lungs while flashing my new tattoo of our high school’s first ever state Silver Star. (And just for the record, no, I never drove 150 mph, nor sang much of anything, and no, I don’t have a tattoo, but we did get a Silver Star.)
And speaking of winners, here are a few things overheard on the trip and duly written down by our very responsible yearbook business manager…
In the “Crowded Van” Category… “I’m trying really hard not to touch your butt…”
In the “I-can’t-believe-my-teacher-is-this-stupid” Category…
Me…“Your left or my left?”
Them…“It’s the same left.”
In the “Are We There Yet” Category…
Passenger #1…“When you go over speed bumps do you make noises like ugggghhh?”
Passenger #2…“No, that’s probably just you.”
In the “Rhetorical Question” Category to the participants of a Problem Solver Convention who were sharing our elevator…
“If there are so many Problem Solvers and this is only Texas, why are our world’s problems not solved yet?"
In the “I can’t believe I just said that” Category
“Oh, I think I hear an ice cream truck!”
“No, dear, those are church bells…”
In the “Let’s get on the same page” Category or the “I-can’t-believe-my-teacher-is-this-stupid” Category Part II…
Me…“What movie are we watching?”
Me… “I’ve never heard of that movie before. What’s it about?”
Them… “That’s the room number…”
In the Honorable Mention Category
•“Your face isn’t normal…”
Now, I bet your weekend wasn’t funner than mine… Unless, of course, you found some bliss.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
I spent the weekend in Austin.