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Saturday, August 22, 2009


There used to be a charter school above a CVS in my neighborhood and I was always a little bit jealous of the extreme convenience I'm sure those teachers enjoyed. Out of construction paper in the classroom? No problem--just run downstairs right quick and stock up. Short on blank CDs but need to burn the math PowerPoint onto a disc? If the teacher was in the middle of a reading group, maybe she could even send a responsible student downstairs with a twenty. This CVS-adjacent school was definitely well covered in an office supply or even vitamin or hairspray emergency.

My old school in small-town Louisiana was not really anything-adjacent. There were some horses in a pasture across the street, but I very rarely found myself in need of something a farm animal could offer. Other than that, the school was surrounded by residential neighborhoods. Short on construction paper or blank CDs? Out of luck. The nearest hope was one of three dollar stores--a large number of dollar stores, I must say, for a town of 2,000--but they were across town. The nearest teacher store, Staples or Office Depot was 35 miles away, and even Walmart was a good thirty minute drive. And forget about IKEA. If you find yourself in need of a new Gles or some Kalas in rural Louisiana you'll just have to make do without.

While my school in DC certainly has more neighboring business establishments than in Louisiana, there's really no convenient way to quickly solve a folder shortage. We've got plenty of carry out food if that's what the situation requires, which is far more likely to be the case than an urgent need for horses, but that's about it. There are some wholesale markets across the street for fruit or cheap imported socks, and an industrial supply store across another street for those pressing exhaust fan emergencies in the third grade. While the neighborhood, sadly, cannot accommodate any of my teacher needs, there is one adjacent business that came in VERY handy yesterday.

Leaving school around 6 pm with some friends, on our way to meet up with some other friends, I found my left rear tire flat. As I was gearing up for a call to AAA for a tire change and tow, and trying to see if I could remember the steps in changing a tire myself, there it appeared, magically, out of the oblivion of familiar sights you never really notice. What my school's location does have going for it is a moderately sketchy 24-hour tire place literally next door. We walk by its drive-in entrance frequently with the kids on the way to the field for PE, and I have it mentally categorized as a minor nuisance to deal with, having to check both ways as we walk by to make sure no flat-tired cars are going to run over the children. But yesterday, Mac's Tire Service and its all-night glory was my savior and the epitome of ultimate convenience. I drove the quarter of a block on the flat from where I had parked into Mac's and was in and out in 15 minutes with a brand new tire. Thank you Florida Avenue. I had misjudged you.


natewolson said...

Nice post! It makes me think about my school in Louisiana. Sugar cane fields on three sides, an elementary school on the other, and then more sugar cane fields--not much fodder for lessons, unless you're the agriculture teacher.

Jane said...

Priceless! I guess you'll never see your school neighbohood in quite the same light!

Jim said...

Nice. I've heard Florida (Ave) is a good place to retire.

Sarah Garb said...

And to re-tire ;)

pooj and jess said...

I especially love when the grease spills from that tire shop mix together with water and then freeze into black ice overnight. Try getting some of our kids through that mess!

And also Sarah, you forgot to specify what type of wholesale food you can procure at that warehouse. Lifetime supply of ramen nooodles? Check.