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There were never enough chairs in the teacher’s “lounge” so we had to resort to meeting in classrooms.  One year, the classroom was cold enough to store dairy so meetings used to last until the first person lost the ability to feel her fingers or someone had to pee.  We later resorted to walking to the furthest reaches of the property because that’s where we’d stuck the team leader’s portable classroom.  On days of celebration when we would bring in food for a breakfast or lunch, we had to decide whether to eat in shifts, stand, or perch on tables – or in the case of an overly-limber woman with monkey-aspirations the top of a file cabinet bank.

Food-based gatherings were always interesting anyway, a hodge-podge of Bahamian, Southern, Jamaican, American Drive-Thru, and tubs of monkey-woman’s vegan surprise.  Most dove into the soul food or grabbed donuts (as it was spelled on the box) while an aging Irishman (who looked like someone had lopped off Philip Roth’s hairline and stuck it on Hemingway’s second cousin) gnawed on thick meat-filled sandwiches, spewing bits of egg and bread on the table as he railed against the establishment and the government and the media and economic evil.  His partner teacher, less a troll in appearance but more so in action, relished the opportunity to eat with other people, especially people who might listen to him without belittling his very essence.

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