daily preciousness

Thursday, October 10, 2002


I supervise about 40 of them at work. Here are a few of their stories.

Shalah is the mature high-schooler with a ready, glowing smile and a calm demeanor. She’s dependable and great with the rowdy kids. Her eyes sparkle with glitter, usually in the pastel pink range. She carries with her a matching pink cellphone. Her parents are middle-eastern, so Shalah is as exotic as her name implies. With her expressive features and warm personality, she reminds me a little bit of Jasmine from the Disney movie.

Kyle signs his name with curly-cue letters. He’s a soft-spoken 13-year-old with deep-set brown eyes hidden between amber-tinted eyeglass frames. Short and diminutive, he looks as though he gets picked on a lot. He wears Hawaiian shirts that nearly outshine his subdued personality. The boy read the epic novel “Dune” in a week. Eagerly peppering me with questions about it afterwards, Kyle eagerly inquired about further reading. I get the odd feeling he looks up to me.

Jennifer is a mildly abrasive but moderately abusive, loud-mouthed 14-year-old with generous proportions. I vote her “most likely to play the title role” in her school production of “Taming of the Shrew.” Despite this, she somehow manages to be likeable. Maybe it’s because I can see some of the many disadvantages she’s had to overcome. Namely, her mother… Mom is a hardcore Yankees fanatic and Jenn follows ballgames, too. Jennifer’s headed to New York in two weeks to watch a game. She also likes to watch me tell tales during the Starlight Story Hour. She likes to pounce at her co-workers, kitten-style. (They don’t seem to mind her attention.)

Joshua is more sedate than a Demerol addict. I nicknamed him “loudmouth” because of his extreme economy of speech. That economy is like the GNP of Mozambique in the 80s. He’s got a stealthy manner of movement, sleek and cat-like. I guess it’s silly of me, but I worry for him. He’s African American and I’d place him in the “slightly at-risk” category. Despite his obvious academic bent (he’s in a program for advanced students and he clearly likes to read) he seems fiercely independent and a little detached. I hope he’s going to be all right. (They post crime stats for a reason.)

Elia and John are sister and brother. Elia’s about 15 and her brother’s 13ish. They’ve got mixed heritage, so they have café au lait skin and dark features. Elia prefers old-lady style robin’s egg-blue eye shadow. She daubs it on so thick it’s a wonder how she can open her eyes at all. John is the epitome of cool. He’s oddly deferential of his sister for a 13-year-old. In his spare time, he likes to make ten-foot long chains of rubber bands and wrapping them around his neck, feather boa-style. I vote this kid “most likely to become a drag queen” because of his feather boa penchant.


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