And then there’s Tauinaola.
Before the break I hand-picked my own student yearbook committee and tasked each student with one article per person. From my calculation, there were 9 articles to be written, and I chose 9 students from years 12 and 13, each of whom:
- I like; and
- Was personally involved in the subject s/he was assigned to cover.
I gave them a 2-day deadline, which made them all grimace slightly, but most handed it in no problem. Sure, there were a couple of stragglers, but I’d chosen my team carefully, and many were participating in the Tahitian-hosting over the break. So there was ample time to badger them about the article.
But Tauinaola is a special kind of straggler.
I know because I am one myself. How often does the blog go up way after deadline? The 8:00 p.m. post time is fudged far more than 50% of the time. Sometimes if it’s posted late at night, I’ll change to an 11:00 p.m. post. If it’s the day (or days) after, I’ll give it an 11:59 p.m. tag. You can go back and count all the times I’ve been late.
So because of this, I’ve been a little more persistent with her. Every time I’ve seen her since I gave her the assignment, I’ve asked for it, and every time she’s told me she’d give it to me the next day. Whatever.
This morning Tauinaola is about 4 weeks late with getting her article in, and since I can do little else for the magazine at this point, I decided to track her down this morning. During my free period, I headed toward the 12.1 classroom.
Compared to my high school, my school here is pretty small. It’s pretty much one long building, so it’s just a matter of finding out where someone probably is, and making sure you don’t run into him/her before you get there.
As luck would have it, Tauinaola came to the top of the stairs at the end of the year 12 wing when I was about 20 yards behind. She turned in the direction opposite me, and started walking at a quick pace. I assume she’d been sent on an errand of some kind that she was returning from.
She walked with purpose, and even though I quickened my own gait, I could not catch her. She briefly swung her head to the side to look out at the field, and I thought for a second she saw me out of the corner of her eye, but her expression didn’t change if she did.
I could have called out to her, but there were a lot of people around, and singling a student out—particularly a female student—is a little taboo. 12.1 is at the end of the bloc, and I figured I’d catch her there.
But she kept going. She passed 12.1 and went down the stairs at the end of the building without slowing. There was a boy at the top of the stairs, who I didn’t know, who said something to her, and then chuckled at her reaction. When he turned to face me, he desperately tried to hide his smile, and I immediately knew what was going on.
Despite the broad daylight, the whole situation had a noir-ish feel. Her over-the-shoulder glance, the quickness in her step, the cryptic smirk of the kid at the top of the stairs. I’ve read enough detective novels. I put the clues together.
So I wasn’t surprised when she wasn’t on the stairs when I rounded the corner; nor when I reached the bottom of the stairs, looked both ways, and didn’t see her in either direction.
But I got Sam Spade skills. As it turns out, I am a master at Hide and Seek. I have a wealth of experience in the game, and I’m as good a hider as anyone. But there are two sides to the game, and as good as I am at hiding, I’m terribly good at seeking.
I crept slightly around the bottom of the stairs and saw a pair of feet in Jandals trying desperately to mold to the cement staircase. So I quietly turned around and snuck around in the other direction.
At this point, the absurdity of the situation hit me. “Are you seriously hiding from me?” I couldn’t help laughing.
She burst into giggles.
Long story short: she didn’t have the article. Maybe tomorrow. Either that or she’d better look for a better hiding spot.
Update! The day after the Hide and Seek incident, Tauinaola turned in her article. I think she also though the incident absurd.
I hope you’re well. Picture below.
Fautamara on the left, Gasologa on the right, and Tauinaola in the center on the landing of the staircase she would later use for a hiding place.