Recently, I agreed to go along on my daughter's middle-school "field" trip…which was actually a whirlwind three-day, two-night adventure in New York City.
Forty-three middle schoolers…with 11 adults.
I know. It was a brief moment of temporary insanity when I agreed to this, and trust me, it will never happen again. Gah.
The eleven adults consisted of six teachers, and five parents (including myself). The parents were told that we could just "enjoy ourselves" - and not chaperone the kids - which delighted my daughter to no end. Ha. As if that would happen. As it turned out, those six teachers definitely needed the five of us parents to help chaperone…heck, we could have used about 38 more adults on this trip…because managing 43 middle-school students on the crowded, bustling streets of Manhattan was like herding cats.
Honestly, though, the kids were great…mostly. The only trouble we had, actually, was not with any of our kids - but a stranger…
We had just visited the 9/11 Memorial, and we were walking the kids a few blocks up to where we were to get on our tour bus. This was on our third - and final - day of nonstop activity in the city, and all of us were pretty exhausted. The bus was a little late, and so the kids plopped down on the stairs surrounding a public park.
As we had been approaching the intersection, an elderly lady had accidentally (I hope it was accidental, anyway) RAMMED the wheelchair she was pushing into the back of my ankle. I was now hobbling, and bleeding, and when I saw the steps that the kids were sitting on, I plopped down with them so that I could begin doctoring my injury.
And here's where the trouble started.
As I began getting a bandaid out of my purse, a woman - sitting near me on the steps - said, "Uh, excuse me, but you're in my personal space."
"Oh," I said, "I'm sorry!" - and I moved a step further down from her, and began tending my wound again.
"No - you don't understand," she said. "You - I mean ALL of you - are in my personal space."
At this point, I looked up to see what the heck she was talking about. Obviously seeing the look of confusion on my face, she went on, saying, "I was sitting here first…and your…group…invaded my space." (She literally shuddered when she said "group" - as if we'd been chaperoning lepers around the city, rather than kids.)
Well. Excuse me.
Apparently, she OWNED the entire set of public steps near this park. Who knew??!!
Before I could say anything, another mom in our group stepped in and said, "What are you TALKING about??!! These kids are being very good - and quiet. And they're tired! They need to sit down!"
The Owner of the Steps sneered, and said, "Well. They don't have to sit down by ME. You're ALL in my personal space."
At this point, I was ready to go all Brooklyn on her, but realizing I had 43 middle-schoolers sitting within hearing distance of me, I decided that wouldn't be such a good idea. So, gritting my teeth, I very calmly said, "Lady…Welcome to New York City. There IS no personal space here. Get used to it."
And I went back to addressing my ankle.
After seeing that we weren't going to budge, the Crazy Insane Step Lady stood up, huffed, and then stomped away. I couldn't help but call out, "Good bye - and good luck finding that personal space."
Yes. I'm back. I took a much-needed hiatus/sabbatical from my blog, but after some nudging - and pushing - from some readers, I'm going to try to resume my ramblings and writings. Thank you all for patience as I took some time away…can't say that I'm more inspired, or more witty, than before - but I'm definitely full of more stories. Because that's one thing that will always remain constant - I am always full of it. :)