Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Good Story

Friday morning on my way to work, I was in a line of cars making its way west. It was that early morning traffic--everyone hurrying to a destination--one car in too much of a hurry. It anxiously idled on a side street waiting to cross the flow of traffic. When it pulled out, my danger sensor went off because there wasn't enough space for it to fit through. I slowed, and watched it swerve and nick the innocent car just moving along. A burst of plastic, glass, and steel erupted like a firework, but it brought no joy. I came to an almost complete stop and watched the offending car speed past. Not only did they make an irresponsible driving mistake, now they were speeding away from what would now be a crime scene. I wondered if I should make a quick u-turn, follow and get the license plate number. But then I remembered I wasn't a police officer, a private eye, but a school teacher who needed to be at school.

The hit car pulled to the side of the road; my student emerged from the passenger seat! Instant gratitude for her safety and for a minor collision. I pulled over to make sure she was okay and to see if she needed a ride to school since her brother was the driver.

She was a little shaken, but fine.

Both she and her brother were trying to call their parents but hadn't yet made a connection.

"You'll need to call the police since it's a hit and run and that's a crime."

Having done as much as I thought possible, I hopped into my car and headed to school--the first class on this half-day Friday was storytelling and I had a story to tell.

I started with the lesson and part way through, I mentioned the car accident. The class phone rang.

"Excuse me class, hello?"

The secretary on the other end of the line said, "We never interrupt teacher's classes with outside calls, but this woman says it's an emergency." It was my student's mother who was standing at the scene of the crime with a police officer.

I turned to my students, "The police are on the phone and want to talk to me." They all inched forward in their seats.

"Could you describe what happened?"
"Yes." I did.
"Can you describe the color of the car."
"The make of the car? Was it a Ford, a Chevrolet, a...."
"A Chevrolet."
"Can you give me your name?"
"Phone number?"
One student pulled out his notebook and pencil.
"Can you give me your date of birth."
Here is where I hesitated.
"Officer, there are 20 students all waiting to learn how old I am."
Justice doesn't deal in sympathy, but he did chuckle.
"5-5," and then I pretended to whisper into the phone. The students strained and leaned. I laughed and said with pride, "1960!"

Yet, another good, albeit rather long, story to tell.