It's a fact that some words should just never be mentioned in polite company.
I was just innocently sitting down in the staff room, minding my own business and desperately clutching a(nother) cup of peppermint tea, as though this single action alone would blast my cold away and grant me again the ability to breathe with relative ease.
Since I'm sitting here now, still highly bunged up, I can confirm that my hopes were sadly disproved.
Ahem. Anyway. There I am, bunged up, hot mug in head, pondering whether the ginger in ginger cake was still good for colds when she said it.
I shot my head up in surprise, aghast.
"Pardon?" I asked. I felt my skin prickle coldly in anticipation of hearing the word again, in contrast to the relative warmth of the room. My whole body was suddenly on high alert. My ears tingled dangerously in disbelieve, and I'm sure I could hear the neurons firing off in my brain informing me that yes, I had heard her right. I could feel the fight or flight reflex building up within me, challenging me to stay put or grab my shoes and sprint for safety in a way that'd make Atalanta proud (no golden apple).
She repeated it again.
The 'n' word.
This word has an international history. Once uttered, it's almost compulsory to do a little subtle shuffle that takes you away from the person who said it.
I have no doubt that word has driven people to tears, a deep reflection of themselves and in some cases, baldness.
That's the power of it for you.
It's a word that is able to strike fear into most ordinary folk, let alone me of all people.
Argh, I can't even write the word without a shiver of horror shooting up and down my spine!
"Nits," she said, "one of the kids has got it. I saw them scratch their head, lift up their hair and there was about 2 inches worth of nits eggs."
I looked at her like this:
|WHAT DID YOU SAY?!|
I spent the rest of the day furiously itching in paranoia. I could've screamed.
I spent the rest of the week gingerly inspecting the heads of children from a distance.
I was up in arms at the very idea of catching nits and took to examining my roots every night.
Getting rid of nits is so time-consuming, with the constant washing and the constant combing and the conditioning and the constant combing and the scratching and the itching and the combing!
When I told the Faerie, she spent (what felt like) the next half hour laughing at the very idea, but she's a bad person.
Whatever. I decided that my hair was going to need some serious protection. But that's a topic for another post..