Field trips are a unique piece of performance art. Or as I fondly call them: Freak Shows. Seriously, kids-on-field-trips give the exact appearance of people who have completely lost their everlovin’ marbles.
The whole thing starts with an email to me from my son’s fourth grade teacher, “We’d love to have you join us for our upcoming fieldtrip blah blah blah.” [In general, she makes it sound like being chosen to chaperone a field trip is my reward for a lifetime of good works. But I know different. WAY different. I don’t do good works. So this ain’t no reward.]
I in turn respond with a complete and total lie, “I’d love to join you for the field trip.” And then set my mental-health boundaries with, “I will be assigned a group of mild-mannered girls, correct? Ha, ha. Kidding. (Kind of.)”
When I arrive at school the day of the field trip, I note that my group does actually consist of four, fairly calm girls. And two complete wackadoodles, also known as boys – one of which is my son. And here I’d been secretly hoping he’d be in the teacher’s group and I could just wave to him from afar.
Speaking of the teacher’s group…you know what else I noted? That she only had FOUR kids in her group! What the WHAT?! Rude.
Anyway, since I had a bunch of squirmy bodies to keep track of before, during and after our bus trip to the State Capitol, I suggested to same that we come up with a group name. I envisioned that I would have to quickly get their attention when the building security guards started wrasslin’ outliers to the ground for body cavity searches. At which point I could call their group name and they’d all stand at attention, counting off like good recruits. I was thinking of something snappy and quick. I was thinking school mascot. I was thinking “Lions.”
Instead, they came up with Neon Pegasus Tortoise Fairy Rainbows.
Oy. [rolling eyes Heavenwards]
We went on to spend a fun day learning about Cyber Bullying (a bill being discussed in the House, complete with “sexual orientation non-conformity” descriptions. Cool.) and taxi cab service in Greeley, CO (a bill under consideration in the Senate) as the kids tried to see how many of their arms and legs they could force through the Plexiglas partitions in the Visitors’ Gallery; All while making as much noise as they could possibly make without really making any noise. (Cough, cough, shuffle, whisper, whisper, rustle, rustle. Shhhh! Pinch. Poke. Sigh. Giggle. SHHHHHHHHHHHH!) The highlight of the Visitors’ Gallery experience for me was explaining to the kids what all those shiny metal compartments were in the armrest of EVERY seat. “They’re ashtrays. People used to be able to smoke everywhere, including public buildings. And those trays held the cigarette ashes.” Judging by the shocked (yet intrigued) reaction I got, you would have thought I said, “That’s where they used to stuff the dead bodies back when mayhem ruled and you could kill people in public buildings. Yep, those trays held the bodies.”
I’m happy to mention that I did come away from the day with body and mind (mostly) intact. Although there was that one dicey moment as we were boarding the bus when someone was twirling around and ran into someone else’s nose, thereby starting a bloody gusher of massive proportions. This then necessitated that ALL the teachers RUN, with full-blown BOXES of Kleenex, to the scene of the crime. At which point I surreptitiously looked left. Then right. Uh-huh, I was completely alone on the bus with forty inmates and no working taser. But it was fine because – having been informed earlier in the day by one of the Neon Pegasus Tortoise Fairy Rainbows that the toilet on the bus actually dumped its contents into the STREET – the entire cast of Nut Jobs Go To The City was clustered around the bathroom trying to prove the point through incessant flushing.
The bright spot in all this? The teacher and I are homey’s now. She gave me her personal cell phone number. After she told me not to give it to any of the kids (?!) and to only use it in an emergency.
QUICK, Home Girl! It’s an emergency!! The freak show is over and we gotta go drinkin’! STAT!!!