When I think back to my elementary school days, I realize that I was, well, to put it bluntly and honestly, a precocious brat. I mean, there really was no other way to describe me.
I think it was in third grade that my teacher, who the other children absolutely adored, but I didn’t like so much, first made me aware that I was not the little princess I thought I was. Mostly because she didn’t like me so much. Mostly because I was rather spoiled and bratty. So who can blame either one of us for not liking each other very much? I can’t say that she was mean to me or anything, I just had this feeling that I wasn’t as appreciated as I should have been. It may have been brought on by things I said and did, such as the time it was blazin’ hot in the room (we didn’t have the luxury of air conditioning back in those days) and the students were all complaining about the heat. Miss So and So was trying to bolster our worn out spirits a bit and commented, brightly, that there seemed to be a nice breeze coming in through the open window. I, sitting next to the window, gave her a look that would have withered the staunchest of wizened teachers, much less fresh-out-of college newbies, and asked, “Are you crazy?”
She wasn’t impressed.
Then there was the principal. Notice that principal is spelled with “pal” on the end, indicating that he is our “pal.” Oh gosh, I do remember learning that little trick. Our principal was also our fourth grade science teacher. I have a distinct memory of one particular time he was teaching my class. We must have been studying germs and disinfecting or some such thing, because he was making it a point to telling the class that he would never eat at a cafe that didn’t have a dishwashing machine. Only cafes with dishwashing machines truly sanitized their dishes in a manner that made them safe for serving food to the public. Naturally, since my parents owned a small cafe at our resort, and we did not have a dishwashing machine, but rather followed the state approved three sink dishwashing and sanitation method of cleaning dishes, I gave him a lecture on procedures for washing dishes and state rules and regulations. I also pointed out that frequently the dishwashing machines actually left pieces of food on the silverware and plates whereas humans noticed those chucks of food and sent them back and scrubbed them off.
Perhaps that is why he liked to casually walk around between the students’ desks and when he’d pass mine he’d always look at me and push his eye glasses up, using, get this, his middle finger. I might have been only 10, but I knew when someone was giving me the bird.
That third grade teacher and I had another go around in the winter months when she was teaching us about birds, telling the class that they were mammals because they were warm blooded. I corrected her, thinking she’d just made a faux pas. But she said I was wrong. Seriously? That really got me going. We got into a rather heated argument about the fact that yes, she was correct, birds are warm blooded, but no, she was wrong, they are not mammals. I sited to her the list of reasons they did not fit the mammals category. She stuck to her guns and refused to back down, saying that they were one of the exceptions and they were mammals. We didn’t have a set of encyclopedias in the classroom and she finally “won” the argument by basically calling seniority, as she was the teacher. However, the next day I brought in one of our encyclopedias from home and proved that I was right. Excuse me? I was not going to let her win that argument, not when I knew I was right, and not when she was teaching a class full of students incorrect information.
So, with time I have manage to mature a bit. But only a little bit. I do manage now to hold my tongue once in a while and I am a trifle more diplomatic. But not much, not really. I am still a precocious brat. And I am still a princess. For a while there, they kind of had me thinking I wasn’t a princess, but then I figured out they were wrong about that, too.