Four teachers at Brediceanu are retiring at the end of this school year, and they hosted a farewell party this afternoon in the school canteen. I happened to arrive a little late, went over to the 'men's table' and said hello to all the fellas. I went right down the line, greeting Mr. Muresan, Mr. Kina, Mr. Bancu and several other teachers.
The mayor was also there, so of course I wanted to make a point to pay my respects. Extending my hand to him I smiled and said, "Domnul primar! Ce mai faceti?" He looked up at me with a grim expression and refused to extend his hand to me. Instead, he shook his finger, saying "N-am ce discuta cu tine." I was not expecting this in the least, and was shocked that he didn't want to talk to me at all. I didn't understand what the issue was, but it was clear he wasn't in any disposition to explain. So, confused and hurt, I took back my hand and moved down a couple chairs to sit with Mr. Bancu, who offered me some wine and told a joke or two.
While I was sitting with Mr. Bancu, the mayor (who was only 4-5 feet away, mind you) went on talking with his cronies. I could hear him loudly repeating the word nesimtit (which basically means 'ill-mannered') and I knew it was in reference to me. It was quite humiliating, but I did my best to smile and ignore it.
Later on I discovered what this mess was all about. Another teacher who had apparently witnessed my exchange with the mayor explained to me that he was very upset about the grade I had given his granddaughter. She's one of my 6th graders. I had given her a 9 last semester because that's what she happened to deserve. Evidently, however, it didn't matter what she actually deserved. It's just expected that someone with important connections should get a 10.
I'm sorry that the Mayor took such offense; I had never intended to hurt anyone. The thing is, I give grades according to merit, not political connections. This may not be the way things are normally done around here, but it's simply not something I'm willing to compromise.