So then…my son Tucker slips through the dining room door into the kitchen and whispers, “Mom, I think the tutor’s asleep.”
I look up from the crockpot and whisper, “What?”
We both tiptoe to the dining room door, ease it open a crack, and peer through to see the Biology tutor sitting at the table before an open book, chin on his chest, head down, eyes closed.
Tucker and I look at each other and suppress a giggle. We ease the door shut, then scurry to the opposite end of the kitchen to confer.
“What happened?” I ask.
“I dunno. He was kinda quiet so I looked over and he was sound asleep!”
“Did he just doze off in the middle of a sentence?”
“No, no, he was explaining something, then I started filling in the worksheet, and the next thing I knew – ‘’ (he mimes shutting his eyes and snoring, getting progressively louder and more dramatic with his snores)
“Stop that!” I say, laughing softly. “You’re gonna wake him up!”
“Well, shouldn’t he be awake if he’s going to help teach me Biology?”
Hmm, good point.
“OK,” I say. “I’ll go wake him up. You stay in here and pretend to get a snack or something. I don’t want to embarrass the guy!”
Tucker happily invades the pantry for a snack.
I ease open the door and clear my throat.
I don’t want to startle him. He’s a very nice man. He teaches science at a school in another district during the day – plus he and his wife have 3 kids, including a new baby — AND he tutors after school – so he’s probably exhausted.
And let’s face it, Biology is not exactly riveting.
If I were a Biology tutor, I’d fall asleep as soon as you opened the Biology book, much less if I had to discuss it!
In fact, I’d fall asleep as soon as you said the word, “Biolo— ” Zzzzzzzzz.
See? It just happened.
Now if I were a tutor on the “best TV series to binge-watch” – or the “relative composition of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavors by deliciousness of ingredients” – or the “statistical likelihood of Ryan Gosling’s car breaking down outside my house, in a rainstorm, and needing immediate medical attention and a warm bath” – I’d be WIDE AWAKE for the entire session!
So I certainly don’t blame the guy for falling asleep, but I should wake him.
So I cough.
I tiptoe out of the room, then walk back in, very loudly clicking my shoes on the floor. The tutor does not move.
Good God, I hope he’s not dead.
That’d be incredibly awkward.
I have delicious French Dip beef simmering in the crockpot, more homework to supervise, then a slew of shows on the DVR. Tonight’s schedule is not ideal for an untimely death in my dining room.
Next Thursday, sure. But tonight, no. Definitely not.
I approach the slumbering tutor so I can call his name, but then I realize I don’t KNOW his name!
That may sound odd since he’s been tutoring Tucker for about 6 sessions or so.
But he has a very thick accent and when he introduced himself, I thought he said his name was Farooq Malik.
But then the next time he came, I could swear he introduced himself to my friend as Marooq Falik. Or maybe it was Malik Farooq?
I’m terrible with names anyway, especially if the names could be interchangeable. If you tell me your name is Henry James, I’ll likely call you James half the time and Henry the other half!
Two of my friends both have a “v” in their names so I’m constantly calling them by each other’s names – and I’ve known them for years!
I once knew a Carla that I routinely called Sharon because oh-my-God-you-guys, she just seemed like a Sharon, you know?
So whenever I try to address the tutor, I hesitate, stumble, or mumble. I think he’s on to me.
Recently, I asked him something, and said, “Right, Malik?” and he corrected me by saying “Farooq.” And I could swear he’s corrected me the opposite way too. And he’ll smile mischievously, like he knows that I can’t keep his name straight.
So now I don’t know if I just have a bad memory –
or if he’s just Farooq-ing with me.
My son comes back in the room with chips and sits down.
I cough and say, “Mister…Malik? Farooq? Hello?”
He opens his eyes, shifts in his seat, glances at the book, then looks at Tucker and calmly says,
“And that’s the difference between prokaryote and eukaryote organisms.”
Wow. Didn’t even skip a beat.
Nicely played, Farooq.
Or whatever the Farooq your name is!
— Darcy Perdu
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(Are you terrible at remembering names too? Any funny tutoring stories? IS he just messing with me? And should I serve strong black coffee whenever he tutors?)