One of the cool things about my job is that I get to go into elementary schools and try and get little kids jazzed and that I also get to go to universities and try to get college kids to volunteer. Today both of these things were on my agenda, and it was my first time doing either, so I woke up this morning pretty excited about my day. I love thinking that only a year ago I was a student going back to school, and here I am now, with a new car, new apartment, and professional job. I put on my prettiest professional black dress--one with huge red flowers on a black background and imagined that I was very imposing and authoritative. Indeed, I already felt pretty badass and adult driving in my Acura, Starbucks coffee in hand. I was in such a good mood driving to work that I rolled the windows down and sang along with the radio to Tom Petty's, "Don't do me like that." My mood wasn't even dampened when a homeless man decided to join in the chorus from the sidewalk. One thing, however, that did dampen my mood happened when I pulled up to the parking guard's station at U. D.
"Are you a student," he asked. "No, sir," I said. Meaning, "obviously not, I am a professional woman of the world." "High school?" He guessed. Well, fuck. Here I was, feeling professional and important and the stupid security guard thinks I'm fifteen. "Uh, no, I actually just graduated from U.D. in May," I replied icily hoping to at least make him feel bad, and then realizing that I'm a bad person for actively trying to make someone else upset. But, he was oblivious. "Haha, shoot," he chuckled. "You look like a baby." Ok, asshole, you look like a fifty year-old man who works as a rent-a-cop.
Anyway, I was only slightly shaken by that professional hiccup and I strutted across the campus, smiling at passersby, realizing that since I was a) not wearing sweatpants and b) not hungover at 10am, I obviously differentiated myself from the students. My presentation went well and I was drunk with power being able to leave after I got my speech, instead of staring desperately and waiting for the period to end like I was doing as recently as April.
The elementary school, however, was a completely different experience. I haven't been in elementary school forever, and I'm going to be honest, I was a little creeped out by how tiny the kids were. I started giving my presentation in the 4th grade classroom and I almost asked if they put with the kindergartners because they all looked like infants. Aren't kids supposed to be in puberty by 4th grade because of all the hormones we put in milk or something? I definitely wore a bra in fourth grade. These kids were so alarmingly tiny I think a diaper would have been less shocking than a bra. But speaking of milk, the whole school reeked of chocolate milk and hot dogs since it was just after lunchtime, and I was finding it difficult not to gag on the oxygen. Anyway, I was getting ready to address them as ladies and gentleman, but then I realized that was stupid since their teacher two seconds earlier referred to them as, "boys and girls." When I followed her lead, however, the worlds sounded hollow in my mouth and I was reminded of my terrible crusty-bitch art teacher from first grade. However, I said, "Hey boys and girls, how are you today," and they screamed back at me, "GOOOOD!" And then I realized, they were enthusiastic because I was enthusiastic. So I switched up my approach. Instead of telling them anything that contained any sort of information, I just spoke in my"perky" voice reserved for cheerleading camp and talking to mean receptionists, and said buzzwords like, "cool," and "Girls Rule!" There was much fist pumping and and cackling with glee so I think I was a success. Also, a little girl told me she liked my dress and that it was, "totally pretty." Win.