From the Whorse’s Mouth

Daily Prompt: Talking in Your Sleep: by Krista on March 5, 2014: Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation you weren’t supposed to? Tell us about a time when it was impossible not to overhear a conversation between people who didn’t know you were there. What was the conversation about? How did it make you feel?

I was still a new teacher there, my first school after moving to California. I’m now convinced that I’m somehow not quite like the other kids, but then I thought I was. I thought I had found my niche, was in the mainstream, a talented young teacher, with good ideas and something to offer. Well…

I walked down the hall of the shabby “temporary” classroom building with its dirty brown carpet that was buckled and wrinkled from ceiling leaks and students’ wet shoes. I was excited to be working on a project — my first! — with a couple of my colleagues. About 8 feet from the door I heard:

“What’s she teaching for, anyway?”
“I have no idea.”
“She doesn’t belong here, and now Sally wants us to work with her?”
“Sally says she’s ‘cree-AY-tive’.”
“Shh. She’ll be here any minute.”
“Oh God. Why us?”

The word — which all my life I’d considered a compliment — had been uttered with a sneer…

I walked in. Neither had any idea I’d heard them. I don’t think I ended up working on the project with them. In later years, each decided to become friends with me. It was politic for me to be friendly, but I could never summon up more than that. I wonder if they ever wondered why.

That was my first experience with the idea that many people have that creative people are flakes; disorganized, unfocused, unreliable, amoral, mentally unstable, illogical and rebellious. I’m none of those things. This little meme feeds right into that stereotype:


For all our yammering about “embracing diversity” it seems we only do that on the most superficial levels, the animal level — skin color, certain obvious mental challenges and sexual orientation. My experience is that people have a very hard time accepting anything truly “diverse.”

More Espionage:

  1. Pilot and Pirate | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  2. Conclusion | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  3. Ilya Fostiy. Amnesia | The Bliss of Reality
  4. What Is This? | Exploratorius
  5. Perspective & The Daily Prompt | The Jittery Goat
  6. Daily Prompt: Talking on Your Sleep-Psychology behind gossiping | Journeyman
  7. DP Daily Prompt: Talking in Your Sleep | Sabethville

23 thoughts on “From the Whorse’s Mouth

  1. It wasn’t very pleasant for you,I know.I think some people are jealous when they find out you have gifts that they don’t. I guess that was one way of releasing their anger.

    • You’re right; envy might have played a part in their behavior. But you’re a nicer person than I am. I think they were bitches. 😉

  2. Ah yes, the old “she doesn’t belong here” comment. I had that said to me many times over when i was at school, it always hurt when I heard it too.
    Somehow I survived and in a way, I thank those cowardly bullies for helping shape me into the person I am today.

    • I’ve just been stunned that the behavior doesn’t go away after people grow up and are selves of their own. Life has some disappointments (naturally) and that has been one of mine.

  3. Don’t forget educational level as something that’s not always accepted. My personal favorite is any variation on the “Ph.D.’s disregard other people’s feelings.” Nice and ironic there.

    I should post about that sometime.

    • People can be awful. This morning I was leaving my classroom (which I must lock up). A girl walked in with earphones. I said, “Excuse me, but I have to lock the door. So you have to wait outside.” She walked right past me, maybe 12 inches away. I didn’t want to reach for her, so I said, a little louder, “Excuse me, you have to wait outside.” She walked past, I said, “EXCUSE ME!” she started to sit down. I said, “GET OUT!!!” very loudly. She turned to me and said, “You don’t have to be mean. I had my earphones in.” I said, “That’s your choice. I’ve tried three times asking you — nicely — to leave.” She said, “Earphones?” and held up an earbud, “Technology, woman? Technology?” I just said, “Get out,” and walked away. Why did she have to get out? Because students at that school steal the TECHNOLOGY out of the classrooms.

      • Oh lord…

        Unfortunately, it’s not just kids. I’ve tried to volunteer with organizations that are closely tied to the field I did my Ph.D. in. One (and only one) accepted me as a volunteer… I think because they felt they couldn’t get away with rejecting me. Now it’s obvious that I’ll never be doing any work with them.

        One of the two reasons (and I’m not posting the second online) is that the coordinator clearly wasn’t comfortable with someone of my educational level. At one point, she expressed concern that I was probably overqualified to volunteer.

        (I’ve been unemployed for a long time. The education thing is huge there.)

      • Just being smart is a liability in this world. I took holy hell from some of my students Monday for pushing them to think, to read the words on the page, to figure out what they meant and answer a direct question with a focused response that would be a thesis statement (when it grew up). A couple students got verbally aggressive with me over that. There’s tremendous — and persistent — low level pressure out there for uniformity and mediocrity.

      • That brings back memories from my TA days. Of course, it’s why blogging is so great. I’ve noticed that uniformity and mediocrity tend to get weeded out pretty fast around here… even if the daily prompts seemingly try to encourage it. 😉

  4. You know Martha, I think people, each and every one of us, can be fearful of: what we do not know, do not understand, something new. We are comfortable with our routines, with what’s familiar and reticent of, threatened by, anything outside that box. Perhaps it’s a matter of perception – seeing the new as different – as a challenge, as a way to expand. Judgments are a funny thing as they can protect us from harm as well as box us in. Thanks for sharing this experience as a reminder to us all of what that can feel like!

  5. My husband is a teacher. Thanks for this post and insight into the typesof things he might be experiencing and not sharing. I like to encourage difference. Ther is so much beauty in someone different from myself. I can always learn something. And I’m not talking about just the ‘superficial’. I’m talking about all things different.

    I guess this started when I moved to another country. People go through so many changes when moving. 1. Excitement 2. Wonder 3. Question 4. Confusion 5. Anger 6. Sadness 7. Acceptance 8. Understanding 9. Loving

    Of course my 9 steps are very cut and dry. I could write a book on the topic. Oh I am writing a book 🙂 Then came havnig children, that really sends everthing for a loop. I’m pregnant with my fourth. And Religion… My mother converted to Catholicism, My sister to Judaism, my grand parent are church of christ, my one grandfather never went to church, my father was in a cult ‘church’ for a while and constantly changing between differnt types of baptist churches, my husband is Evangelical and I have friend who are muslim and others who grew up in the very conservative Russian church. I have spent many years trying to put al this together.

    I guess those are kind of superficial. But I was best friends with a women who bread cats for a living. At one point she had 60 cats running around her house. We always had the most fun together. And of course people who do things out of the norm. Are there really such people? We are all diferent. That’s what makes the world so great. Someone might be different from others around them but somewhere out there, there are people living similarly. This fascinates me more thatn anything.

    I spent so much time trying to ‘fit in, here in Germany’ and I have finaly just acepted me for me. I was always accepting of others but never myself. Once I started accpeting myself, nothing could hurt me. I love me. what more is there to say. I wish every one could love themself, then they would automaticaly love others.

    Have a nice day, and thanks for hanging in there through this long comment.:)

    • Thanks for your interesting response! Your steps are an accurate description of what most people go through when they are thrust into major changes. If they don’t manage all those steps, they are often left disoriented and unhappy. They might be cut and dried, but they’re not simple. Viel Gluck im Deutschland!

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