Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


Issues with Authority

The "office lady" was the bane of my childhood: it was in her disapproving hands that I had to put any notes from my mother, it was her disbelieving sniff I had to tolerate when I went to the office sick or in turmoil, she who frowned or sneered when I came in late or left early for a doctor's appointment.

My junior high office lady was complicit in lies and betrayal against me that I do not forgive her for to this day. (After being bullied in gym class, I fled the gym in tears. Instead of running straight to the nearest bathroom, where I knew they would just grab me and haul me back to class, I ran out the front door of the school, around the building to the back door, back up the hallway and into the bathroom...buying myself enough time to have a good cry, or so I thought. My evasive action so baffled them -- because, of course, they went looking for me in the bathroom right away but not three minutes later when I was actually there -- and they were so furious that I had evaded capture, they snatched me up when I did come out of the bathroom at the end of the period. The bathroom was right in front of the office and the office lady was livid that I'd somehow been under her nose the entire time. She and the Assistant Principle teamed up, called my mother, and while I was in the room listening completely LIED about having "found me" wandering around somewhere off school grounds! LIES. Complete fabrication. The Assistant Principle looked me right in the eyes while he told this lie; he knew exactly what he was doing and did it on purpose. It was the most petty and blatant abuse of power I'd ever experienced to that point in my life and it affected my default position on people in positions of such authority ever since.

Until last year Kate's school had one pretty decent office lady and one older and slightly more abrasive office lady who I got to know and get along with alright. This year there's been a new office lady and I find I don't much like her. She's called me a few times this year over various Kate issues and each time she manages to insult me in some way. Like when I spoke to her about Kate's lunch money account being overdrawn; I thanked her for calling and told her this was the first I'd heard of it but that I would send a check the following day. That should have been the end of it but she kept talking, insinuating that there was some other reason that Kate did not have lunch money or that Kate was lying about forgetting to tell me. Finally I said, "I assure you I can afford to pay for my daughter's lunches and I've already told you I'll send a check tomorrow. What more do you want?!" and only then did she shut up and apologize if she'd offended me. Or the day she called because Kate had been in the office with a headache for over an hour and "it was up to me, of course" whether I should come get her or not, but basically she was not going to let me off the phone unless I said I'd come pick her up. I despise that things are such at public schools that you can't just offer a kid with a headache a tylenol and send them back to class!

The day after the incident with Kate's pants being cut at school, I went to pick her up because I happened to be going to the post office that day at the time her classes let out. I arrived on the playground but there was no Kate. Her 3rd grade teacher was on playground duty and told me he'd sent her to do an errand for him ("I needed someone I could trust.") and she should be right back. He needed the megaphone they use to call kids to their bus lines but it was in the office, so he sent Katherine to fetch it. Because English is not his first language, he called it "the loud speaker" so that's what Kate went to the office to request. When she returned with it she told me that she'd gotten in trouble with the new office lady because she'd asked for "the loud speaker" and the office lady said "Loud speaker?" and Kate confirmed "Yeah, the loud speaker." Kate was then treated to "Don't you talk to me that way. Don't you talk to me like I'm one of your little friends!" When I heard this, I was angry. It pressed all my buttons and I marched into the office intending to ask the office lady where the hell she got off. I arrived not two minutes after this exchange took place and she was on the phone so I did not launch into things right away. Seeing me, she was immediately all sweetness and light, calling Katherine "Sweetie" and so forth. In the end, I merely picked up Kate's pants (which we'd turned over to them to prove she wasn't making it up and about which they did nothing) and left, but that episode told me all I needed to know to make up my mind. This woman treated kids one way when she thought she was the big boss and completely differently in the face of any parental scrutiny.

I had to deal with her yesterday when she called to tell me, with all the disdain and judgment she could muster, I had to come pick up my daughter because "her head is crawling with lice." That's what she said. "Her head is crawling with lice." I spent the day treating Kate for lice to be safe but after thoroughly going through every strand of her hair I can tell you that she was NOT, in fact, "crawling" with lice. Not only did I have all that unpleasantness but I had to deal with HER. I'm sending Kate back to school today and I'd better not hear from that office lady about it or we will have words and she will not like it.

I still have problems with authority figures.

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