I live in a ‘burb, the Town of Oakville. With a population over 171 000, and growing, it doesn’t seem all that small. However, all official bulletins refer to Oakville as “The Town of Oakville” so, yes, I live in a town.
One of the advantages of living in a small town is you are always running into people you know – downtown, at the library, pumping gas….My students always seem to find it amazing that I don’t simply fall asleep at my desk at the end of the day but go home to a real house and family, and they are genuinely surprised when they run into me – gasp! – grocery shopping.
On Monday nights, Kevin, Chad and I have been running track at one of our local high schools (small town, yes, but we do have several high schools). This week, though, the track was taken over by one group of boys and another group of boys was on the soccer field. Rather than use the road, we ran to another track, hoping that we could sneak onto it.
“Oh oh, there are girls there,” Kevin said as we got closer.
“I hope they aren’t grade 8’s,” I replied.
“Intermediate students can be brutal. I really don’t want any of them to see me running track.”
As we neared the track, it suddenly became obvious that there were two groups of girls, not just one.
“How can you tell?” they asked.
“Look at their sizes. The group over there is quite a bit smaller. They’re probably in grade 6. Oh crap! There are kids from my class over there!”
Kevin and Chad could only laugh!
While warming up on the track, I realized that there were close to 10 grade 6 girls from my school on the field, which meant that there were several parents lurking by. Kevin asked if he should call me Mrs. O’H or Cynthia.
“Well, they all know my first name is Cynthia and I’m sure they’ve heard me called names besides Mrs. O’H. So, yeah, it’s probably safe to call me Cynthia.”
And I did hear my name – Cynthia from the track and Mrs. O’H from the field. I ran the mile, followed by 400 metre repeats, as planned but I was a tad worried about the heavy breathing and the facial expressions that came with them. Of course, I worried about how I looked. Once again, vanity kicked in.
I pushed myself through the workout, running 6:31, 6:38 and 6:37 miles. My 400 metres were 1:30, 1:29 and 1:26. “Fast,” I thought, “but probably not fast enough to impress the girls.” I wanted to impress them.
At the end of my last mile, Chad blew past me on his last 400 metre with his shirt off. “Hey, if he can do that, so can I!” I thought to myself. But as I turned the corner of the track, I saw many of my cherubs on the field. “Umm, maybe this is not the best night to strip down to shorts and a jogbra,” I told myself. “Remember, you wanted to impress them.”
After 3 sets of repeats, the boys and I left to cool down on the trails. I wondered how long it would take for one of my sixes to post something on Facebook and what that would be. And, I thought about conversations that might come out of this at school.
But nothing. Not one of the girls mentionned last night. It was as though I wasn’t even there. Next time, I’ll just have to push myself a little bit harder….