Sunday, May 06, 2007

Fearless

I like to pretend to dreams of being a fearless warrior princess. Alright, maybe I just like to dream about fearless warrior princess, but I know there are very few things that will truly get under my skin on the best of occasions. So it was that I'm standing in the smaller office that sits next to my classroom, trying to navigate and negotiate the several dozen students who are running in and out with flies, my Korean co-teachers who suddenly has to talk to me about something in the middle of the milieu and the sudden dropping from on high of what seems like an ax. I don't even flinch. Fearless, that's me.

I look up to gauge where the attack on my person is coming from and I see one of my biggest problem students. He is standing with what had been just moments before the dust pan on a long handle. The dustpan is laying in two parts now on the floor. "What the ? Why?" I say because that is all I can manage to blurt out at the moment. My student points to the floor and I look down and see a pigeon. It must have flown in through one of the open windows in the hall. The brown spotted bird blends in seamlessly with the floor which explains how I had not noticed it sneaking up on me. My Korean co-teacher screams and runs in a different direction. The students all flee the scene right behind her, and the bird being frightened takes flight and lands on my table and looks at me. I'm amused. I don't even flinch. Fearless, that's me.

I grab a towel that hangs on the clothes dryer and shoo all the kids out of the room. This is entirely ineffective, as now that the bird has been spotted all the kids want to be either cowering in fear in a corner or moving towards the bird with the fascination that only middle school teens can have. I shoo them anyway. I take the towel and toss it over the bird and it lands softly covering the poor things body completely. The kids who were just a moment before moving forward with fascination suddenly tweak and dash off. They know what I'm about to do. I move towards the bird and gently put both my hands on either side of it's body, press in just a bit to keep it from flapping it's wings, and hoping that my hands are far enough away from the beak that it won't turn about and peck at my fingers. I lift. The bird settles into it and does not move, I feel the tension there, but otherwise there is just gentle waiting. I take a deep breath and start walking and the kids start screaming. I keep moving and try not to be distracted. One of the kids touches my shoulder. I don't even flinch. Fearless, that's me.

I walk the bird out into the hallway; all the windows have been closed up. I turn to one of the students and ask them in English to open the window. They stand and blink at me. The bird blinks back at them. I ask for the window to be opened again in English. Never waste a teachable moment, never stop teaching. The kids all blink. The bird blinks. Time seems to stand still. I ask again for someone to open the window, restraining the desire to speak in Korean with the sort of skill that comes from long years of experience under pressure with groups of kids who don't understand. The kids move for the window and start to open it. The old metal casing squeals high pitched. The bird moves it's head. The kids scream and run in the other direction, convinced that this small bird is about to fly at them and peck out their eyes. I don't even flinch. Fearless that's me.

I bring the bird to the now open window, count to three and fling out the towel holding onto only one corner of it. I was a bit worried the bird might be injured since it was pretty calm during the entire episode and braced myself for a heavy wet thud as the creature hit the garden outside the window. Fortunately it was just fine and took to the air flying into a tree to rest and enjoy the warm spring afternoon. The kids start to applaud. I shoo them into the classroom so I can start my next class. My Korean co-teacher does not return. The kids give me a little more hell then usual, but it's fine. I don't even flinch. Fearless, that's me.

I get home later in the evening and go through the motions of settling in. I let the dog in to join me. The dog comes in and looks up. I look up and see a four in long beetle crawling across my ceiling. I scream, not a girlie scream, but a scream none the less. I can feel my skin crawling and the hair standing up on the my arms and the back of my neck. I feel like running out of my apartment, but I know that is not going to help and that this Lovecrafitan abomination will merely remain unless I do something. I mumble the litany against fear under my breath and grab a coin container. I plug that container against the ceiling and the beetle falls in. I restrain the shutter and the desire to flee. I shake the container and wait to hear the sound of the beetle dropping to the bottom. It does and I cap. The dog is amused. I breath. Fearless, me, fearless, I think.

I calmly strap on the dogs harness to take him for a walk. I calmly pick up the container with the beetle. I calmly walk out of my apartment and lock the door. I calmly walk into the front steps and calmly put the coin container down on the stoop. I count to five and try calmly, while my fingers shake a bit, to pry of the lid. It start to come away. As soon as it comes up I see long hairy antennas working their way out of the case. I scream and the dog and I run away in the other direction, I run for about a minute. I stop and start laughing at myself and the creepy adrenaline rush that is pumping through me after my battle with the dreaded beetle. Yeah, sure, fearless, that's me. .

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