When my husband worked for an ambulance service as an EMT, I learned that medics resent being called ambulance drivers. One of the older partners in the company is also an artist who has published a series of comic books titled I Am Not An Ambulance Driver. I’m starting to understand.
At my daughter’s private pre-school I attract a lot of attention. Last year one of the local cops also had a child who attended the school, and that helped. This year, it’s just me. I walk in beside doctors, golf pros, and lawyers in their fancy clothes and perfect make-up when I go to pick up my daughter. She doesn’t mind, she knows that I am a teacher, and she’s very proud of that.
Other kids and parents do not understand that, however, and I have to field questions once in awhile. Out on the playground one afternoon, the cutest little boy asked me if I were a policeman. Since I am not, he wanted to know what I did. He was very young, so I tried to explain, “Policeman catch the bad guys. I help watch the bad guys and keep them away from you after the cops have caught them.” He seemed satisfied, and I was about to walk away when he called out, “You won’t see me then. I’m a good kid.”
Yesterday, I got off a little early, so my daughter’s committed Romeo saw me. She won’t give him the time of day even though his mom tells me he’s been in love since he first laid eyes on her. He did all the right things, like show her his car collection (she has a thing for cool cars) and get a fake tattoo, but it makes no difference. She’s a constant topic at their dinner table whereas I never hear his name on her lips. Two years later it’s the same story, so he tried a different approach when I showed up unexpectedly. “Hey,” he called out to me, “I like officers.” He told me this a few times while my daughter clung to my arm and told him, “She’s not an officer. She is not an officer. She’s a teacher. Can we go home?” I agreed, but he went on, “Do you know why I like officers?” He tried to explain in a way only toddlers can. We started to move away, when he called me again, “Do you know what my first word was? Ambulance.” My husband laughed, “He’s going to be trouble.” I think he’s relieved that we’re leaving “trouble” behind.
I am a teacher, and I’m glad people won’t be confused about that point after the next couple of weeks.