Last week was the dreaded middle school open house night. Two hours long. It started in Cord's first period class, where we had to watch a video that was streamed school-wide into all the first period classrooms. We came in late. Cord found a seat at one of the desks in the middle of the room, while Tony and I sat in chairs set up along the wall.
Now, this seating arrangement put us in a worrisome position, as we weren't within grabbing distance of Cord's raised hand. His hand wasn't up yet. We had only just settled in, and the video was still playing. But eventually, his hand would be up and he'd have something to say. Tony recognized this immediately and leaned over to whisper, "I hope Cord doesn't say anything embarrassing."
Tony and I are not public commenters. We don't answer questions, we don't add to the discussion, and we don't have any questions at the end. We say nothing. We are those people. Cord, on the other hand, always has an answer, a comment, or a question. Solicited or not. He is one of those people.
The weird thing with Cord is, sometimes he'll look so fidgety in his chair, like he's not paying attention at all, but then the speaker/teacher will ask a question and his hand will shoot up without hesitation, and he'll actually give a relevant, smart answer, as if he had been paying attention all along. But other times he'll raise his hand just to volunteer random information or shout out something super embarrassing. You just never know.
So, we came to a place in the video where they were going through the after-school programs. As the screen flashed through pictures of all the clubs and sports programs, Tony leans in and whispers, "When they get to 'Drama Club,' he's gonna cheer or hollah back or say something embarrassing."
I braced myself for that moment to come, but when the video got to Drama Club, all he did was this silent double-fist pump in the air. Not too bad. Not everyone noticed, and at least he didn't make any noise.
At the close of the video, we watched clips of various teachers, standing in or by their classrooms, repeating phrases such as, "Welcome to Open House night, we hope you enjoy it." After they played the 15th, 16th, 17th teacher's "welcome message," it occurred to me that we were about to watch all 65 (roughly) teachers at this middle school give their individual "welcome to open house" message.
Idea: gather all 65 teachers into one room, and on the count of three have them all say, "Welcome to open house!" at the same time.
But no. They each delivered the message separately and it took about 20 minutes.
Towards the end of this 20 minutes, I was spacing off on the TV screen, watching Cord fidget out of the corner of my eye, wondering if he was getting ready to raise his hand and say whatever was on his mind, when the video suddenly cuts to the very room we are sitting in. Cord's first period teacher (on the video) is standing at the front of the classroom, and in the shot, we can see the backs of her students' heads. I immediately pick out the back of Cord's blond head in the crowd of kids. His teacher looks into the camera and says, "welcome to open house night, and remember," she adds for what ever reason, "chewing gum is not allowed on school campus." At which point, Cord's blond head turns around (on the video), he points directly into the camera and adds, "That goes for you too, mom."
Pretty mild on the embarrassing scale, yes, but my point is, there we were, worrying about not being within arm's reach of Cord to stop him from making public comments, and he does it through the video we're watching. And that, my friends, is like 10,000 spoons when all you need is knife.