Ten: There's Always a Karen

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"If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?"

~Abraham Lincoln


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We make our way into the school, and I'm immediately overwhelmed by a sense of nostalgia.

Even in the main lobby, I can smell the scent of cleaner and cheesy bread cooking in the cafeteria.

So they serve the cheesy bread too? Growing up, I always thought Percival served lobster rolls, caviar, and drinks with little umbrellas in them for lunch.

But, as it turns out, kids have to suffer at Percival just as much as they do in Chestnut Ridge Middle. It's good to know that, sometimes, life really is fair.

"It's right back here," Barb instructs, taking a baggie out of her purse that's filled with coffee grinds, and pours it into a water bottle.

"It'll be cold brew in six hours," she says, before I can ask.

"Yeah, never mind, it really is a problem, and you should get help," I observe.

We go down a short hallway and enter into one of three rooms.

There are about fifteen people mingling around a ring of chairs, all facing toward a table in the middle. It's like sneaking into one of my mom's Alcoholics Anonymous meeting all over again.

Most of the people are on the younger side—twenty-five to thirty-five—but I immediately notice a distinct difference between two groups.

On the left, women with glitzy outfits and sparkling jewelry are conversing with one another, gently tossing bleached blonde hair over their shoulders once in a while. The diaper bags propped against the wall near them have their last names sewn on them, and are stuffed with applesauce squeezies. Definitely rich, if they can afford those things.

On the other side of the room, as if there's an invisible line down the center of the floor, are a different breed of people.

You have the pregnant mom who looks like she hasn't slept in weeks, "Messy hair Don't Care' shirt hanging over her large belly, to which I say she really should start caring.

And then there's another mom with mousy brown hair, who's whipping out a container of disinfectant wipes to scrub down her seat before sitting down.

There's a man tucked away in a corner, the collar of his button-up shirt so tight around his neck, that his fat rolls are hanging over the material as he types away on his computer.

And then there's another dad, sitting across from the disinfectant-wipe mom, nodding solemnly as he clutches a Kate Spade purse to his chest.

"That's Hayden," Barb whispers. "His wife left him a month ago. He's definitely not over it yet. And that's Janet he's talking to. She's kind of the mom around here."

It's no surprise to me when Barb goes over to that group.

I stand frozen, not sure what to do, and almost resist when Barb waves me over.

"Come meet my friends!" she says, loudly enough to draw every eye my way.

I grit my teeth and lift my chin.

I step over and give a wave. "Hi everyone, I'm Beverly Curie. I was forced to join the PTO by circumstances beyond my control. I intend to skip out on these meetings as much as I can and keep my involvement at a bare minimum. Just like high school all over again, am I right?"

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