Slice of Life 27: Conversation after Class
By Janice Ewing
I had been warned by a previous instructor that the night custodian was irritable, and just couldn’t wait for the class to leave so he could finish up his end-of-evening chores. I hadn’t met him until last night, when he came in to empty the trash. The last students had just left and I was still gathering my things.
“How ya doin’?” I heard the gruff voice before I saw him.
“Okay,” I responded, “I’ll be out in a minute,” I said as I struggled with the zipper of my computer case.
“It’s okay,” he said, as he removed the bulging trash bag and replaced it with a new one. “Still raining?” I asked, wanting to say something as I stuffed a few more papers into my bag.
“No,” he said. “They’re sayin’ more rain in the morning, but what do they know…”
I understood that we were having the universal ‘can’t trust weather forecasters’ conversation, clearly on neutral ground, so I murmured a sound of agreement.
“Well, as long as it’s not ice,” I added.
“You know what I care about – nice weather for Easter, that’s what I want.”
I nodded, as we were now making eye contact.
“You know what I do, I just put one big Easter basket together. Then they can come over and take whatever the hell they want. Know what I mean?”
I thought I did. “You mean your relatives?”
“Yeah, the nieces and nephews, there’s no kids at home anymore.”
I added that I didn’t have kids at home anymore either.
“That candy’s so expensive. Last year I bought a chocolate bunny that size (pointing to my Dunkin Donuts medium iced coffee cup), eight bucks, and it was hollow!
“Yeah, that’s how they are,” I commiserated, “then they go on sale the next day.”
“Mhmm,” he agreed.
By this point, my bags were packed and the room was in order. For a moment, we both seemed to have forgotten that we were in a hurry to leave. We’d bonded, briefly, over the hollowness of weather forecasts and chocolate bunnies.
* This “Slice of Life” post is part of a larger blog series, hosted by the blog site, Two Writing Teachers: A Meeting Place for a World of Reflective Writers.
Janice Ewing is an adjunct for Cabrini College and a co-director for the Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project. Janice co-facilitates PAWLP’s “Continuity Days” and this blog. She is an avid reader and writer, and especially enjoys writing poems.