Miss Lawrence Lays Down the Law

On several occasions, people have said to me, “You’re at the gym so much you may as well become a personal trainer.” Yeah. Right. I’m not the person you’d want to be your personal trainer, unless, of course, you think drill sergeants are cute and your listening skills and ability to apply what you’ve just heard are so well-developed that I won’t have to go over something twice. And also, the old “Those who can’t do … teach” thing doesn’t apply here. I know my shit. (And yes, I do think that makes me sound really tuff.)
First of all, there’s just the little matter of my impatience. The quote “Patience is a virtue I have no time for”, which you have no doubt seen atop the column to the right, is mine. (And here you were feverishly searching Bartleby.com for attribution, weren’t you? Admit it.) I not only have no time for patience, but I possess none. I mean NONE. I can give you some excellent references if you need confirmation. (But then again, you shouldn’t be questioning me. Didn’t you learn anything from yesterday’s last entry?)
So where were we? Impatience. Yes. If I say something once and you weren’t listening, then I may not repeat myself. I will probably sigh, loudly, raise my eyebrow even higher than usual, and, quite possibly, say something really sweet, such as, “What are you, fucking DEAF?” (But you’ll have to listen carefully. I may say it under my breath. After all, I do have some tact.)
It will also be your fault if you can’t keep up with the pace of my speech. The way I speak is the way I imagine a family of ten scrambles to reach for the food on the dinner table. You have to be quick to catch quite a bit of what I say. But don’t ask me to slow down. Another of my quotes is “I slow down for no one,” which applies just as much to my fast walking as it does to my fast talking.
There was a time, however, that I was a fantastic teacher. Just ask my sister. She was my “pupil” and I was her teacher. And no, it wasn’t that I was “home schooling” her, although she still says she learned more from me than she did from “real” school. Yes, she learned more from Miss Lawrence — that’s the name I insisted she use — than from any of the teachers who used to tell my mom she was brilliant but too rebellious.
Miss Lawrence had straight, glossy, dark auburn hair that she wore back in a clasp, a la Marcia Brady circa 1972. She wore tailored skirts and sweaters that flattered but did not flaunt her trim, 26-year-old figure. She had many male admirers and was the darling of the School Board. She was well-versed in English, her main subject, but her knowledge of math, social studies, and science were nothing at which to sneeze.
During her lunch break, Miss Lawrence would visit her favorite restaurant, which was just down the hall and around the corner from her classroom. It was there that her star student worked as a hostess, waitress, and short-order cook in order to earn her tuition. Miss Lawrence was never prouder than when, at the end of her tasty Ellio’s frozen pizza lunch, she glanced at her check and noted the perfect penmanship of her prize pupil.
I don’t know why, given my impatience, it was so easy to teach my brilliant rebel of a sister. And not just teach her but teach her well. She not only scored extremely high on every test I painstakingly hand-wrote just for her (complete with little boxes to fill in with a No. 2 pencil) but she paid close attention and never asked a single stupid question, either when I was 26-year-old Miss Lawerence or just 10-year-old me.
In this case, I suppose those who can’t teach … did.