So I was talking to Mean Bitch Mel the other day. "Then I need to segue-way (sp?) to the next scene," she says.
"You need to what?"
"I need to segue-way."
"What's that?" I ask, my palms beginning to dampen.
"Maria, you know, segue-way."
"Uhm, I've never heard that word before."
"You're kidding. You've never heard the word segue-way?"
Oh, God. It's Fifth Grade all over again...
Seque-way back to 1969... I'm sitting in 5th grade Science class at Ascension Catholic School. It's mid-afternoon. It's hot and humid, because this is central Florida. Sister Immaculata (yes, that was her name) was writing characteristics of mammals down on the chalkboard.
Mammals have hair on their bodies... Mammals are warm-blooded... Mammals give milk to their young...
I raise my hand. "Sister?"
"Yes, Maria Palacios?"
"I think you made a mistake."
Beedy nun eyes stare me down. "Oh?"
"Yes, sister. We're mammals and we don't give milk to our young. We have to feed our babies out of bottles."
A huge collective gasp erupts. I slowly look around the room to see 29 pairs of 5th grade eyes looking at me in horror. My best friend shakes her head and looks on in sympathy.
What? What have I done? I ask myself, sliding down in my seat.
Sister ignores my question and keeps writing on the chalkboard. Thirty minutes later, the bell rings and Sister asks me stay after class. The sweat is pouring down my back as she hands me an envelope addressed to my mother. The entire bus ride home no one looks at me.
I give the envelope to my mother, certain that I'm about to be expelled for some crime against God and mammals. My mother reads the note from sister, then pats her bed and asks me to have a seat. She then gives me the "talk". Mortified, I find out that, uhm, yes, all mammals do give milk to their young, along with a whole bunch of other stuff I'd never even knew was possible. (note: I grew up in the Cuban household version of Leave it to Beaver...)
I trudge to school the next day wishing that I was a better actress, because my mother wasn't fooled by my dramatic coughing fit that morning. Gradually, all the kids forgot about it. But I never asked a question in class for the rest of 5th grade. Or 6th, for that matter.
Of course, that was 36 years ago and I really don't give a rat's ass what someone thinks if I don't happen to know something and have to ask. But it's funny, how the physical reaction is still there. Which of course, means that deep down, I must sort of care.
Since Mel and I had this conversation, I've heard the word segue or segue-way used at least 3 times. Which leads me to wonder... Am I really that unobservant? Or is this some sort of world plot against me?
2 hours ago