Friday, January 19, 2018

Dear NYC Educator:

I'm a nursing mom and I work as a dean. It's a tough job, sometimes, because I'm always moving. I get really, really thirsty. My doctor says I have to stay hydrated at all times. So I carry this big water bottle everywhere I go. I drink water almost constantly.

My principal has become very upset that I carry the water bottle. I got called into his office, got a lecture on how deans should not be drinking (water) on the job, and a counseling memo warning me to cease and desist. I was told that if I wanted to drink water, I'd have to conceal the bottle as I walked.

What I did was buy a bag that the bottle would fit into. It's a really good size--a perfect fit. The spout comes right out of the top of the bag. Whenever I need water, I just open the cap and there it is. I don't really understand why my drinking water needs to be such a deep dark secret, but it seemed a pretty good solution. For a few weeks I was happy.

But then I started to get The Looks. Mostly I get them from kids, but sometimes I see adults pointing at me too. At first I didn't understand it at all. I'm drinking water. Where's the controversy in that? So last week, when two boys pointed at me, I walked over to them. I told them I needed to ask a question. They took their hats off. That was kind of cool, but it wasn't the question I wanted to ask.

I asked why so many people were pointing at me, and they cracked up laughing.

"Miss, you really don't know?" asked one.

"No I really do not. Please tell me."

The kid asked me what I was drinking. I told him it was water. He asked why I was hiding it and I told him the principal told me to.

"Get OUT!" said the kid. I just looked at him.

He told me I looked like a drunk, like a wino or something. He said people who drink out of bags do it because they're hiding something. They don't want the cops or other people to know they're drinking on the street.

So now I'm a wino, even though I don't drink at all (except water). This is not really the image I want to project. I mean, it won't change my life or anything, but I hate it that kids think I'm drinking on the job. It's the kind of thing that makes me want to drink on the job. I won't, but you know what I mean.

Is there anything in the contract, or in any agreement stating that deans are not allowed to drink water unless they do so surreptitiously? Because this doesn't make any sense to me at all.
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