Thursday, April 23, 2009

A village. It takes one.

So, two stories:

The Renaissance Woman was on her lunch break the other day and walking out on the Big Main Street. (She works a few blocks from our house and from MG's school.) She was stopped at a street light and happened to see a bunch of kids with their teacher, out on a walk or outing from the local high school, the one that mysteriously has a terrible reputation as the place for Bad Kids even though it is in this relatively ritzy corner of Nearby Suburb.

Anyway, she knew these kids were from the Bad Kid High School because she recognized one of them from last year, when he had been in the oldest grade at MG's elementary school (which goes up to Grade 7), and had starred in the Christmas Play. He's very memorable: charismatic, a good actor. Also he looks a little like Barack Obama.

So while she's watching, and while the teacher is focused on a few of the kids in her charge, a loud car playing loud music pulls up with a bunch of guys in it, and Tall Charismatic Kid, assuming that no one's watching him, saunters over and gets right into the loud car, which zooms off into the distance.

The teacher emerges from her discussion and, perhaps feeling a bit defensive on account of Bad Kid High School's reputation, catches RW's eye, nods after the disappeared loud car, and says, "Those aren't our kids."

"Well," says RW, "one of them was."

"What?!?" says the teacher.

RW explains how she'd seen this kid get into the car, and how she'd known who he was from last year's Christmas play at Neighborhood Elementary, and describes him: "Tall, looks kind of like Barack Obama?"

"Oh! Robert*?" The teacher says, and RW, recognizing the name from the play program, confirms it.

"Thank you!!" the teacher says fervently. And off she goes, with what's left of her class, preparing no doubt to make a report to whoever needs reporting to. RW was pretty amused to think about how surprised ObamaBoy would be, to be busted by someone he didn't even know but who remembered him from last December when he played The Santa Show's MC.

I was sitting in on a volunteer training for some teens this afternoon at the suburban library where I work (a different one from the one where RW works), and on the short break, one of them--a very charming kid who showed up on a scooter--whipped out her cell phone and then said, "Oh! Rats!" and then explained: "I couldn't find my key this morning, so I borrowed my brother's key, but then I remembered I had to go to this training and he wasn't home yet, so I left the key in the mailbox with a note with his name on it, PETER* in big letters in bright orange highlighter, to make sure he'd be able to find it, but just now I got a text message that he's coming over here to get his key so he won't be late for his violin lesson!"

Sure enough, about fifteen minutes later, a kid shows up in the computer area, an amiable-looking boy, about ten years old; he hones in on the volunteer in question, and starts right in with, "and you took my scooter, too?!?"

"Hi, Peter," said the library student doing the training.

"And where's my key?!?" Peter demanded of his sister.

"I left it right in the mailbox!" she said. "With your name on it!"

"In orange highlighter," I added.

"Great," he said. "Okay, fine," and he turned for the stairs.

"Better get going," said the other librarian observing the training. "You don't want to be late for your violin lesson."

Peter turned around and gave his sister one last glare and said, "so did you just tell everyone about my WHOLE LIFE?"

Yep. Life in the village. It has its points.


Anonymous MonkeyPants said...

Sometimes it's great to live in a village. After my dad had his heart attack, he was working on the exercise thing and walked down to the fish store. Knowing he wasn't ready to walk back up the hill, the fish store owner ordered another customer to drive my dad back home before coming back to get her own fish.

We may chafe against people knowing our business, but when it comes to taking care and making sure things are ok, nothing beats a community where people know and are involved.

12:44 AM  

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