Tuesday, February 20, 2007

My surreal life

I was sent home early from work today because, apparently, I am sick.

I didn’t actually realize I was sick until the principal told me I was. I walked into the staff room after playing baseball with some of the kids and was told to go home immediately.

I was completely bewildered. “Go home? What? Why?”

“You are sick,” the principal said.

“Sick? What do you mean? I’m not sick!” I said.

“You are sick,” he insisted. “You are very cold today.”

I couldn’t argue with that. I had spent the entire morning shivering at my desk despite the fact that I was wearing three sweaters and a pair of double-layered long johns under my pants. I even wore my winter jacket and wool scarf to class. But I wasn’t cold because I was sick. I was cold because there is no heat in the school.

“I’m always cold,” I told him.

But he wasn’t giving up.

“You have many nose water,” he said.

I couldn’t argue with that either. I had been sniffling all day. Not because I was sick. But because it’s tree pollen season.

“I’m not sick,” I said. “I’m fine. Really.”

But no matter how times I repeated this, the principal refused to budge.

And then it hit me. Wait a minute, I said to myself. What am I doing? The principal of the school is giving me permission to play hooky. Why am I arguing with him?

“Um, okay,” I relented. “I guess I’ll go home then.”

It turned out I didn’t have a choice. While I was outside playing baseball, the principal had phoned my supervisor at the Board of Education and ordered her to drive to school to come pick me up and take me home.

My euphoria turned to panic. Three months ago, I made the mistake of telling my supervisor I had a sore throat and a fever. She kidnapped me and forced me to stay at her house so that she could take care of me. However, “taking care of me” meant that I had to share a bed with her hyperactive 7-year-old daughter, which meant that I got no sleep and left her house feeling worse than I did the night before.

I did not want to go through that again. Especially when I wasn’t even sick. The whole thing was getting ridiculous.

“No, no,” I said. “Please call her and tell her I’m not sick. She will be so worried about me.”

But it was too late. She was already on her way, probably weaving through traffic and driving 50 kilometres over the speed limit.

About 15 minutes later, my supervisor rushed into the office looking like she was expecting to see me in convulsions on the floor.

“I’m not sick,” I told her on the drive back to my apartment. “The principal is crazy.”

She dropped me off and I apologized profusely for the inconvenience.

Two hours later, my doorbell rang. My supervisor had returned with some ginger tea.

“It’s good for sore throat,” she said.

I give up. Apparently, I am sick.

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