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Pepper spray…

June 4, 2010

Presently she looked at Bess and said,

“I have a confession to make…

When I first learned that you had put my photograph in the contest and won,

I admit I was worried about the publicity…

But now I want to tell you that your idea turned out to be a good one…”

“Really???” said Bess…

“Yes,” Nancy replied, smiling…

“Your surprise was a wonderful help to me in finding the clue of the whistling bagpipes!!!”

in Nancy Drew Mystery Story #41 by Carolyn Keene

Today I took a trip to Victoria,

to visit the Parliament Buildings and St. Ann’s Academy,

with Starshine’s class…

We had to get up before the crack of dawn to catch the 7 am. ferry,

in the rain…

But the clouds parted and it was a spectacular day

I’m no stranger to school field trips…

I love them…

Especially now that I’m no longer in the position of being responsible for 24 five and six year olds,

and the volunteering parents,

who are sometimes,

but not always,

more work than they’re worth…

Today I was only in charge of four ten and eleven year old girls…

We went over appropriate ferry behaviour,

which included walking in the aisles,

and using low voices…

I asked them to check in with me every fifteen minutes,

and then gave them free rein,

to roam if you want to…

I heard Starshine and her friends talking,

I like how your mom doesn’t follow us around…

She just goes over what is expected,

and then trusts us to do the right thing…

I notice that some parents have no idea how to mediate the world for their children…

They do not seem to see it as a parental responsibility to cultivate a sense of awareness of other people,

and the concept that even though we may each be in our own little worlds,

our worlds collide,

particularly on a crowded vessel…

On the trip home I put myself out on deck,

in the smoking section,

in order to get a moment of peace,

and knit some rows on a new little googaa

Then peace was shattered,

by another parent…

Someone I had never had the pleasure of meeting before…

Someone I didn’t know from Adam…

A father of my daughter’s classmate happened to be on a getting some business trip the same day as the fieldtrip,

doing a favour for a friend,

in a state of disconnection…

I can’t remember how the conversation started but as soon as I mentioned the nun at St. Ann’s Academy,

he decided to tell me about a woman he dated from City Hall,

and how when things weren’t happening by date #3,

he asked her what the problem was,

because he’d never had difficulty getting his car out of the garage,

with other women…

She confessed to him that she had been a nun and had,

only two years ago,

left her order,

because she felt called to get married and have children…

She told him,

I’m a virgin…

I asked him how old she was…

He told me,

34…

And then he added for emphasis,

You know that’s a lot of baggage to carry around…

There are some barriers that just can’t be overcome…

I stopped seeing her,

it was just too much to take on…

Not quite believing what I’d just heard about one human’s views on another,

I riffed on the nun theme,

in order to bring the conversation back into balance,

and talked about the nun I’d recently met who heard her calling to the church as a child,

but due to her mother standing in her way,

and other life circumstances,

married and had children…

Finally fulfilling her heart’s longing in her fifties,

in a marriage with God…

I asked him if he’s ever experienced a calling…

Oh this troll had alright…

A big call at 23 years old…

After he met a 42 year old woman at the Stardust Roller Rink in Richmond, B.C.,

and she fell on him,

all wet…

He picked up all 100 pounds of her up and took her home for a dirty weekend…

She made a comment that snapped him to attention as she walked out the door…

He quit his job in Fort St. John making 60K back in 1983,

that very week,

bought a used van,

and became the entrepreneur he is today…

He said,

You have to listen to that little voice when it calls…

I just broke up with a woman who has anorexia…

She had major control issues,

which goes hand in hand with an eating disorder…

She just called to let me know that she met someone else three weeks ago,

and is now engaged…

I told her she really should spend some time getting to know a person,

before she jumps into things like that…

I said,

trying to get my peace back with a meat hook,

and closing the door to further conversation in the key of a lowest common denominator,

You need to be VERY careful about who you bring into your life around your children,

because at your daughter’s age the influence can be dangerous,

and permanent…

Good luck on your next adventures…

He said,

Yeah, thanks…

I’m building a convention center and hotel out in Hope,

with a Tim Horton’s,

and everything

As if this might be of my interest…

When I told him to shove off,

with my eyebrows,

he finally got the message,

and said,

Well, I better go find my little girl…

I wondered,

if this is what a man is willing to say to a woman he doesn’t know from Eve,

then what in God’s name is going on in his head…

And what in the devil is he thinking when he looks at his pre-adolescent daughter,

and all of her friends…

I wanted to run through that ferry and find that little girl,

and take her home with me,

for some health care…

But it wasn’t my place…

So I went back to knitting the googaa,

as the boat crossed the Straight of Georgia,

into some dark clouds,

and rolling thunder…

And as I went to find the four girls in my charge,

I passed the father on the ferry,

four steps ahead of his daughter,

who followed reluctantly behind him,

down to the car deck…

Not wanting to leave her peers for a moment that continues to refuse to show up…

And I suddenly got the picture of why this girl came every Tuesday for hula hooping…

A split second chance to stand close to an adult,

who knows how to say,

I see you…

and

Your being here matters,

in ways you still do not know…

You can lay your head back on the ground... (photo: Starshine)

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