French, fried: A True Slice of Life

12_8 cheryl cookies racks of xmas cookies
Image by Baying Hound via Flickr

Before sunrise today:


I wink one eye to see who’s calling and recognize the number of the Substitute Teacher Coordinator.

[Well wouldja look at that!  I might make my debut as a high school teacher toDAY!  Maybe THAT is why I was living in the prickly pre-trauma Spirit-strange place last night?]



Is this Marie Duquette?


Are you able to teach French for Mr. Middleschoolfrench teacher this Friday as well as English for Mr.Highschoolseniors on September 13,14,15, you’ll need to report at 7 a.m. you can pick up a form for…

Whoa…hang on…just a sec…let me grab … a … pen …. [glance at clock/eyeroll/passing thought about no wonder I can’t see, think, or find a pen…]

Okay.  I’m back.  French…Friday…for whom?

Middle School.  French I.

Sure.  I suspect I can handle that [Colorful marching band numbers form in my head, chanting in rhythm Un! Deux! Trois! Quatre! Cinq!…]

[It’s the first week of school, I think.  Surely they aren’t much farther than Cinq?]

Ok.  Got it.

And High School English, mostly Seniors, Mr. Iknowschooljuststartedgetmeasubanyway, has a 3-day conference to attend.

Yes.  I think I can do that [noting my September calendar is…blank]. When might I pick up the lesson plans?

Oh that varies from teacher to teacher.  You can call him in advance, but I’m sure he’ll have him ready for you when you arrive.

Ok!  Thanks for thinking of me.

Glad you can help us out.  Click.

After that:   creative thing, wonderful coffee moment, fun thing, fun thing, fun thing, email, 4 Lexulous moves, get ready, get ready…drive to…

awful, horrible, pastoral care situation, not fun, sad, not fun, sad, scary, pray pray pray pray, leave…

drive.  in.  silence.



You left your purse here…

Turn car around and return to awful pastoral care place.

Get purse.

Drive.  In Silence.

Feel:  sad.  mad.  frustrated.  sad.  mad.


Welcome to Penn Station, Can I help you?

Yes.  I’d like an 8″ Artichoke Sub and a small French Fry please.

Are you sure you’d like a small fry?

Yes I’m sure (Of course I’m not sure, I want the large fry but will settle for the small, don’t ask me again please!]

Mushrooms on your sub?

Yes.  Mushrooms.

Comin’ right up… may I have your name?


He types onto the screen, M.A.R.I.A.

[Why do they always do that?  It’s Marie.  The french version.  Not the Spanish version.  Can you not tell by looking at me?  I am even a substitute French teacher for heaven’s sake!]

Man making my sub:  How ya’ doin?

Good [a lie], you?

Oh you know, livin’ the dream…right in the middle of my life exactly the way I had it planned [wicked smile]

LOL [I didn’t text him that, I actually DID it]






I jump to the counter at the same time as Antoine, who looks at me curiously.

Oh.  I’m sorry.  I know my name’s not Antoine.  How silly of me.  It’s just that, I’m starving.  Haven’t eaten yet.  Rough afternoon.  All of a sudden I just.  Well.  Excuse me.

Not at all, Marie.  No problem.  [Head tilt, sideways, amused smile]

I heard you when he took your order.  It IS Marie, right?

Yeah.  That’s right.


YEAH!  French!

Living the dream guy:  Marie!?

[dazzling smile] Yay, my order’s up!

I gave you a large fry for the price of a small, I heard you say you were starving.  Vinegar?

Oh yes please.  Lots.  Thank you.  So much.

[contented sigh…] Bye y’all…

[simultaneously] Bye Marie!

Drive.  Park.  Walk, 17 stairs up.  Enter apt.  Drop bag, bible, purse on counter.


Hello?  Yes, this is Marie.

This is Miss Couldn’tyouusesomereallygoodnews from Cheryl’s Cookies. [Did I apply at Cheryl’s Cookies?  Oh.  Oh.  Is this about a job??  Gulp.]


Just calling to say you won 2 dozen Cheryl’s cookies.  You can stop by whenever you’d like and pick them out.

No kidding?

No kidding.  Come and get ’em.  Won’t cost you a cent.

Alright.  I’ll be in soon.

Send TEXT to Sophomore son:  We won 24 Cheryl’s cookies.  Can pick them out NEtym.  2nite?



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  1. It’s so nice when customers have something nice to say!! We always hear the bad but not the good:) I hope you enjoy your cookies!!!
    – The gang at Cheryl’s


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