So, picture with me if you will a van full of happy little school children on their merry way to enjoy an educational experience at a local art shop, spending the morning in an intellectually stimulating environment that would inspire their creativity and make them better citizens, I'm sure... and all this artistic enrichment would take place downtown, which I always love.
Anyway, the kids spent a couple hours making lovely art (actually, it was quite lovely... they painted the New Bern skyline at sunset, with the help of a stencil) and the plan was that we would eat lunch at the park before heading back to school. (Have you figured out yet that most of the time my life does not go as planned?) So, we finished up the painting, said thank you like good little boys and girls, and loaded back up on the van...
...and it didn't start. It made that dying animal sound a few times and then just decided to be rude and NOT turn on, while the entire sixth grade sat clamoring for lunch and playtime. (Their homeroom teacher was clamoring for lunch too...that would be me.) So, what should have been a lovely outing in the park turned into a eleven kids sitting on the curb next Bank of America eating lunch outside the dumpsters like homeless people. Hardly the sunny, fun-filled romp through the park we had planned... especially since we to sit and wait for jumper cables to arrive.
You might be thinking, "How long did you have to wait, half an hour? It couldn't have been that bad!" First of all, when kids think they are going to a certain place and they are told otherwise, every minute they wait feels like a half hour. Secondly, have YOU ever tried to keep a dozen preteens occupied and semi-quiet for more than two minutes AND make sure they aren't leaving enough litter to attract all the seagulls in a thirty-mile radius?! I have, and I would imagine that riding a blindfolded camel through a haunted desert would be easier. (Yes, that is the most out-there analogy ever. My creativity was stimulated today, apparently.)
It also includes fielding a million and two questions like this:
"Why don't we turn on the van?" Oh, we just want to sit here... the van is perfectly fine.
"Will we have to walk back to school?" Sure... what's five miles on a major highway?
"Can we walk to the dumpster?" Um... why would you want to?
"Why can't I throw my orange peels on the ground?" Because we don't want to further the people's impression that we are uniformed orphans.
This was after I they had become slightly...
out of control spirited and we played the "quiet game" until the van came. (The kind of quiet game where the winners escape my wrath and the losers get detention. hahaha)
So, the story has a happy ending in that the van finally arrived and we loaded up and went back to school, artistically enriched, disappointed, and only slightly soggy from our impromptu concrete picnic. It has a sad ending in that rather than playing around in the park, we sat in an industrial parking lot and got stared at by every ne'er-do-well that drove by.
Oh, and the magical morning was capped off by one ne'er-do-well in particular driving in BLARING rap music with EXTREMELY inappropriate lyrics that of course all the kids could hear, and they all managed to crane their necks and stare at the guy in disbelief (which made me a little proud, I admit.)
So, next time you need to take a field trip, I highly recommend skipping on something as conventional as a playground... gather your young next to a place of business for maximum enjoyment. I promise, it will be met with rave reviews. I must also insist that you bring along a knight in shining armor (or in my case, a knight in plaid and a sweater named Jonathan who was invaluable during our vehicle malfunction crisis.)
In fact, I am polishing my medal for Teacher of the Year as we speak. (My book on the subject will be out by 20-never... preorder your imaginary copy now!)