A few mornings ago, I was in the office at school preparing for the day. A father came in, his arms filled with props for his child's health presentation. Following closely behind him was a child carrying the rest of the props.
The man looked unsure about what he should do next, so I offered my assistance. He replied, "My daughter has a health presentation this morning and I need to drop these off in her classroom."
I was caught a bit by surprise. The child who was carrying the rest of the project had first struck me as a boy - prepubescent probably - but still a boy. I would have put money on it. Oh well, I thought. I've been wrong before.
I turned to the child with unjudging eyes and said, "Who's your teacher?"
The child just looked at me, dumbfounded.
The father piped up, "Uh, Mr. Robertson."
"I'll take you there," I offered. I began to march up the hallway, the father and his "daughter" in tow.
But as we were walking, I heard them conversing inquisitively, "Hmmmm, these rooms are numbered oddly," said the father. "Yes, the school is laid out strangely, I wouldn't have thought to go this way," replied the youngster.
"Uh, there is a first floor even lower down..." I began to explain.
"Oh, now THAT makes sense," they agreed loudly to each other.
It was then that I realized that neither of them were familiar with the school. That meant that the poor young lad who was carrying his sister's project was merely here in a support role and had probably been surprised that I'd asked him which classroom was his when his father had indicated that the project belonged to his daughter.
Maybe he knew that I had assumed he was a girl.
I prefer to think that he assumed I was just a terrible listener.