Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Saving Grace

Last Friday I skipped merrily to work. Even though I should have been dragging my ass because I hadn't had nearly enough sleep the night before, I was happy because it was Friday. Damn, I loves me some Fridays! But, I was also pleased because it was Speech Contest Day! (I was going to link that up,...but - blah.) I'm in charge of Speech Contest. Whoopee! I pick out some sort of text and I practise it with each of the classes every time I'm with them for about a month. Then all the students gather in the foyer and we listen as they read. Clap clap clap. Yeeee hah!

Speech Contest days used to be quite out of hand, and the K-Teachers would patrol and hit the kids with sticks, but these days we're a kinder and gentler school - and no one carries weapons. Well,...that's not true. Sunny has a broke down rubber mallet that squeaks, and Jane's got a cushy yellow fist at the end of a stick that doesn't hurt at all.

Me? I've got my rolled up newspaper that I use to swat my students's butts. Then I mash their noses into their erroneous worksheets, while I shout "BAD! BAD STUDENT!" Oh, wait. That's my puppy I do that to. Oh, wait. I don't have a puppy.

Anyhow. Where was I? Oh, yes. Tra-la-la, I skipped to school.

I like Speech Contest because it gives me a chance to not be,.....well,...teaching. It does give me a chance to be proud of the wee students as they display how well they can perform. When I first introduce the "speech" we're going to practice, they're really quite awful. But on Speech Contest day - all of them are very good and a bunch of them are outstanding. I dig Speech Contest Day.

Used to be that you could set your watch to S.C. Days. They were Friday. Last Friday o'the month as I reckon. Giddyup. These days, though - many things are pear shaped. Up is down. Day is night. Who knows when the hell things are going to happen? Which is why I asked Jane on the Thursday after Chuseok (9/27) if we were going to have Speech Contest the following day. "Uh, nooooooo," Jane decided. "Let's have it next Friday."

Right, then. Skip to "next Friday" and I skipped to work.
"YAY!" I bellowed as I came into the staffroom. "IT'S S.C. DAY!" (Not really. But I asked where the microphone was because I was all ready to go!)

Jane and Sunny looked at me like I was nuts. "No! It's not S.C. Day!" they protested.
"What? Yes it is!" I countered.
"NO!" Jane said. "Look at the calendar," she said, pointing to the whiteboard up on the wall.
I did look, and indeed - S.C. Day was listed on the 12th.
"But you said last week it was THIS week," I told Jane.
"No, I didn't"
"Huh? You did too!"
"No, I di--" And just then two little girls came in the Teacher's Room and said, "It's S.C. Day!"
"Did you tell the students today is S.C. Day?" Jane asked me.
"Ummmm -yes, because when they asked me last Thursday and I asked you, you said it was today."
"No, I didn't."
I sighed. "Well, let's have it today." I said. "It's been six weeks since the last one. We're sick of practising the same speeches."
"But look," she said pointing to the whiteboard calendar again, "Speech Contest is next week."

I guess she did have a point. The October calendar was there on the wall and we could all clearly see that Speech Contest was written in red on the twelfth. It's not like you can just go around erasing these dates. It's not like you can just rub them ou,....Oh, wait. It's a whiteboard. I walked over and rubbed out October twelfth with my thumb.

"Oh, look!" I exclaimed, rewriting the words "speech contest" in on the fifth. "Speech Contest just moved! Now what say you go get the microphone?"

She still wanted to argue with me, but I wasn't going to bother. This Face-Saving b*s* can be tiresome. Sometimes it seems like no one can ever be wrong here, and the most stubborn person wins.

It's now been just about a couple weeks shy of a year since I started fighting my boss about taxes and pension. I think we managed to come to an agreement today. It's been a cordial but sleazy ordeal, and I'm absolutely owed more than what I'm going to end up with. I could fight more, and utilize the government agencies with their employees who are, by my experience, uninformed, unhelpful, or just plain idiots. However, I don't have the mad Korean language skillz or a vindictive hard-on to nail my boss. As I've always said, I like her, - and it's a shame she didn't set me up right and I wasn't better informed when I started working for her. So negotiations have been tiresome. It's been impossible to get her to agree to what I want, so she gives a little and I give a little and she gives a little, but she's determined to have the last little. So today we were left arguing over 0.3% of tax. (And give me an "amen" if you think income tax should be non-negotiable. That's what I'm saying!) Regardless. "Fine. Save face, and rip me off just a little bit more," I thought, as I finally relented. Let's put this to bed, and you can go to sleep tonight with your precious face intact. (And my butt more ravaged than I'd like, but whatever.)

Speech Contest, done. Negotiations, done.
Now let's see if I getz paid!

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