In the last installment of this series, I confessed to being a supremely awkward being. I wasn’t lying. Just when I thought I couldn’t embarrass myself any more in front of my bosses, I had my evaluation meeting. Halfway through the meeting, one of the beads on my necklace cannonballed down my shirt. Thankfully, we were both seated, so it was only mildly awkward when I wrenched my elbow towards my torso to try to hold the bead in place. All was fine until I had to stand up and say goodbye. To say I looked like a Tyrannous Rex would be a perfectly fitting description. I’m no paleontologist, but I do know that T-Rexs would have had a downright difficult time shaking hands back in the day.
While I basically spend all my waking hours inadvertently seeking opportunities to turn seven shades of red, I am also refining an awkward moment specialty: financial embarrassments. These awkward encounters are all courtesy of my job–students and fellow teachers alike. And yes, I know you’re laughing at me, not with me. It’s OK.
“I didn’t know people actually ate that part of the bread.”
I do cafeteria supervision on a regular basis. It yields me a very little extra spending money and allows me to bond with students in their natural habitats. Out of necessity and given my fondness for routines, I eat a whole lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. In the middle of one bite, one of my students started waving wildly for my attention. As I scooted over, she blurted out, “I didn’t know people actually ate that part of the bread.” I looked down and realized one half of my sandwich was made out the heel. Normally, I turn the heel inside, but in my haste, I scraped together a misaligned sandwich that particular morning. I swallowed my bite and shrugged, offering only, “You should see my husband’s lunch! He eats the bag and the bread clip!”
“Can’t you buy Ziploc bags?”
Before I recycle plastic containers, I reuse them. Before you tell me that I’m slowly filling myself with BPA and all sorts of other chemicals, I don’t reheat or freeze anything in them. I merely use them to store my pretzels and other assorted snacks. Normally, I keep these containers balanced precariously in my lunch bag and simply pull out the pretzels while I pace the length of the cafeteria. It’s much less awkward than constantly repeating the phrase, “No, I’m not actually eating straight sour cream.” Turns out, I’m not as clever as I thought because just last week, a student asked, “Can’t you buy Ziploc bags?” No, kid, I’m an environmentalist. Or maybe just a tad too frugal.
“Do you need a little, um, help?”
I carry a designer handbag. I drive a car that’s only five years old and looks brand new because I’m exactly as obsessive in real life as you imagine. I have too many nice clothes, though none that I’ve purchased new this school year. I do my hair every morning. I even remember to swipe on mascara most days. But apparently, if you turn down enough requests to buy Cabi clothes, Stella & Dot jewelry, Thirty-One bags, and Girl Scout cookies*, one of your coworkers will, in fact, ask, “Do you need a little, um, help?” After a synchronized reddening of our cheeks, I countered, “With the door? Thanks, but I’ve got my keys right here.” Boom. I’m so smooth, you guys. So smooth.
*It was Lent. I’m actually a big fan of kiddos getting a taste of side hustling and entrepreneurship.
So Tell Me…Any awkward encounters as of late? How do people handle your frugality?