It All Almost Went Dastardly Wrong...
Driving home from work today and came to a stop light. A little boy raced across the street, backpack bouncing, trying to make it before that orange hand let him know he was short. I caught a glimpse of his face and had some sort of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder for those who don’t know) response complete with flashbacks. He looked scarily like my student nemesis from Official Teaching Year #2. This child was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder. It’s loose diagnosis from those of us without degrees in psychology is Bad As Shit. Whether technical or “loose,” the boy’s diagnosis only presented a thorn in my ass on a daily basis.
We’ll call this child BAS in honor of how I, and the parents of the other children in my class, felt about him. BAS had soft eyes behind his devilish smirk or full on angry face that often confused me and made me think I had seen the child in him. It didn’t happen often, but there were occasions when BAS let the softer side of things show up with an occasional please and thank you or the random hug. On every other occasion he was tormenting his classmates, refusing to work and even rolling himself down the hallway. Yes, you read correctly.
OPD is a “disorder” that can be medicated should the parent agree. But I often wondered, if he had grown up in the household I did, how quickly the expiration date on this “disorder” would have come up. My mother provided us with health conscious balanced meals so we couldn’t have blamed it on the hormones in the food or vitamin deficiencies. We were born without birth defects, so that wouldn’t have factored in. And we weren’t exposed to violence through media [or at home] or other things deemed inappropriate for whatever age we were. No one could ever say my mother’s girls were desensitized or plugged into the wrong outlets. Other than that, my mother simply wasn’t having it. She didn’t do tantrums, back-talk, disrespect of any kind. I only had to catch that look or have my ass tagged ONCE to be reminded that Ma wasn’t to be played with. My heart goes out to BAS just thinking about the way he would be brought to an inch within losing his life for even some of his “minor” transgressions in my classroom. Clearly, along with my “loose” diagnosis, I’m also questioning whether BAS was overindulged.
But back to the red light.
Seeing the boy’s face sent me reeling and, for a hot second, I wanted to take my foot off the gas pedal and run him down for the time I had to restrain him (bigger than me at 8 years old), for all the days I had to call down to school security, for the students he terrorized, for the classroom disruptions, for having parents giving me the side-eye, for trying to roll down a flight of stairs, and for slinging shit in the bathroom and still having to deal with him. Yeah...you read that one right too.
Luckily, the boy made it across the street before the orange hand started flashing and just in time for the green light to snap me back to reality--that ain’t him, girl, shake it off. For a few seconds [too long] I felt vengeance could be mine. I know I can’t go around running over Bad As Shits, but if I ever see him on the sidewalk, please believe I’m tripping him and he’s going down [his mama too, if I can pull it off physically ]. And just because I’ve said it, watch me actually run into him in the street, and have no knowledge of what’s even happening until I look down and try to figure out what kid is hugging me. Oh well, I'm not perfect.
Watch me move.