Why is it, when you make a decision to rumble with someone, to knock heads (I’m talking Bill Murray’s Ghostbuster rant about “disaster of biblical proportions, old testament, real wrath of God type stuff, fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, rivers and seas boiling, 40 years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria”–okay maybe not that bad), that you end up having to like, I don’t know, sit next to them on a plane, or be their lab partner or neighbor or something?
Well, that just happened to me. Remember the kid I was so hot under the collar over several blogs ago entitled Don’t Read, Rated R? Yup. Ended up spending a week with him at outdoor school. (This year, we took on rocks and planets out in Eastern Oregon).
Yes. I was scared. I’m guessin’ he was too.
You know that theme from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly that always plays when outlaws are in the middle of a shootout at the O.K. corral? The one where they squint at each other just before they draw their guns? Here. I’ll try a few bars for you: Doo-doo-doo-doloo, Bah Wah, Wah. Doo-doo-doo-doloo, Bah Wah, WAH! A big old ball of sage brush rolls by? Yeah. That song.
It’s playing as I get on the bus, where I had to spend the next four solid hours. And just who do you suppose is the first person I see? The cussing eighth-grade rap-artist! He was already seated. The last empty seat was within spitting distance. We eyeballed each other, brows a’see-sawin’. Who was gonna draw first? As I strolled down the aisle, we never broke eye-contact. Didn’t smile. Didn’t speak. Slid into my seat. Pulled down the brim of my hat.
Days passed. Bumped into him every time I turned around. I didn’t mention the obscene ballad to his mother he posted on Facebook. He didn’t mention my vitriolic response.
I carry candy. Lots of candy. Especially when I’m forced into confined spaces with hormone-crazed middle-schoolers. One blazing hot afternoon, he was hungry. I had candy. He wanted some. I gave him some. He said, “I love you!” I said, “I love you, too.”
I think I got my point across.