Posts tagged ‘high school’
in my senior year of high school, at my peak of shyness and social awkwardness, friend fifty-nine, who i will refer to here as “beth marrier,” was in the group of friends i ate lunch with. and the fact that someone as smart and sarcastic and funny as she was would actually eat lunch with me made me feel like i might actually be cool, too. to add to that, she was also a fantastic comedic actress in high school as well. we haven’t seen each other since i graduated, but i’d love to see how confident me would fare in conversation with her.
another qwindered qwint, like friend thirty, friend fifty-four and i were pen pals all through my high school years. but we really bonded over our cats. in fact, most of the letters we sent back and forth were actually missives from our cats to each other. naming her cats after lucy maud montgomery characters, friend fifty-four, or “becky s.” as i will call her here, had the neat handwriting and wholesome life that i longed for in high school, as well as a wonderful sense of humor, which is simply another name for a sense of the fitness of things…
this post is going to be about many ways in which i am and have been a giant dork. i fear that it will implicate friend thirty in dorkiness, but maybe she will pass through unscathed.
throughout my adolescence, my main obsession was l. m. montgomery, the author of anne of green gables. meanwhile, my prime mode of socialization was letter writing. there was an article in the school paper when i was in high school about me and my 200 + pen pals.
one of the most faithful and interesting was friend thirty, amber. she published a beautifully designed and well-written newsletter about the “road to avonlea” television series that was based on the works of l.m.m. i gobbled the newsletter up whenever it got to my mailbox and would send in useful things like book reviews.
then, when i was starting my senior year in high school, i finally got my first non-commodore-64c computer, and i could get on the internet. basically the first thing i did was look up “lucy maud montgomery” and discovered that there was an email list for her fans. i joined, and discovered that there were a few of my pen pals there, including friend thirty. there was a chat room (where i spent my prom night, btw) and there were lively discussions about things like whether valancy and barney had sex, whether walter blythe was gay, and whether emily or anne were more compelling characters. my role on the list was to be youthful and annoying and frequently self-centeredly off-topic.
but friend thirty and i soon joined forces with two others because we realized we shared a crush on gus pike, we were silly, sometimes made hilarious typos, and were generally kindred spirits. the four of us became the qwindered qwints (“kindred quints” full of misspellings based on typos we’d actually made), and i would email them constantly about drama with boys i liked etc.
eventually i went to college and started to have an actual social life and dropped off the list. only recently have the qwindered qwints reconnected, and it’s been pretty lovely. we comment on each other’s posts regularly and are goofy with each other. l.m.m. rarely gets mentioned, though i try to pull her in whenever it’s pretty much inappropriate.
friend thirty is living her beautiful store-owning dream and i’m really proud of her for that. it’s been a rough time for her “because of the economy” and also people being despicable cads… but even so, her posts about her trials and tribulations are humorous and fun to read. i’m so pleased we are back in touch.
ok, well, crap.
the thing is.
the thing is that in some sort of creepy terrible horrible nauseating coincidence, right about the same time that i went public with my idea for this project, i got a message “from” friend twenty-four, inviting me to a celebration of her life. and you know, then, my skin got cold and goose-pimply and my stomach dropped, and i opened the message and… it wasn’t just some ill-named birthday party.
um. so then, in between confusion about my intentions with this project and disapproval about facebook in general by my girlfriend and all of that… there was This Weird Thing. so there’s that.
there’s that, which is the way that this project had an extra tinge of awkward on top of the already odd aspects based on just what it is…
but of course of course of course fuck it’s nothing compared to the way that friend twenty-four is dead and that’s really not right at all. friend twenty-four being dead is wrong in the way that poverty and war and Everything Everything Everything Bad is wrong.
she’s near the beginning of the alphabet so i knew i would be writing about her early on and i was envisioning a post about my heart-tearing crush on her in high school and being brave enough to write about it and then send it to her. but that’s not going to happen. i mean, see, i’ve written about it, but i’m not going to send it to her. which is wrong.
(someone in comments wrote at the beginning of this about her thinking of writing about people who have died. and… there was this girl in my first high school who died in a drunk driving accident on halloween night and the aftermath was the turning point in my resolve to tell people that they are fabulous whenever i can. but i still don’t ever ever ever ever ever EVER do it enough. fuck fuck fuck.)
she she she… you see she had this smile. it was really good. and sarcasm like you would not believe. and she smoked which bothered me of course but that was about it that bothered me. she was just pretty and smart and i could hang on everything she said and did for hours. and she was actually nice to me which was really refreshing. (i remember one time when i popular cheerleader complimented me on being creative and i went home and cried because i knew somewhere in there she was saying it to be mean.) we were in drama together and she was fantastic on stage. late in my senior year, even though i was at the same time trying to deny to myself that i liked girls at all, i was also realizing that my heart only really palpitated heavily when she was performing on stage. actually, when we were face to face, i just liked her as a friend, but man, was it nice to have a friend like her. ha, my next sentence was going to be “she introduced me to sylvia plath.” “was it nice to have a friend like her. she introduced me to sylvia plath.” but i didn’t mean it in a sarcastic bitter way or anything other than that she was one of those life-stretching people. you know. and we shared another important fact in really liking so long and thanks for all the fish, the fourth hitch-hikers guide book, except maybe she didn’t like it but it was my favorite and we definitely talked about it because she liked the series too. and i’m just grasping at details here because i want you to know her but our last real conversation was 14 years ago and she’s dead now and i can’t even have awkward silly facebook message conversations with her about any of this. there are frozen smiles on facebook and pictures of her children (god) and grieving messages. and it makes me want to hurl.
i knew friend fifteen, who i will refer to here as “alicia m.,” best our senior year of high school. examples of interactions include:
* wandering around the halls trying to get people to clap if they believed in fairies.
* exchanging personalized burger king birthday crowns on our shared birthday.
* antagonizing our world religions teacher who we thought looked like a cross between yoda and keith flint with annoying questions to get him off track and call religions other than the big five “cults.”
* actually hanging out downtown after dark. this was about the coolest thing ever to me.
good times. really good times. when i think of my adolescence as fun, or at least bearable, i think of friend fifteen.
friend twelve and i met working together at a high school. we were both new teachers, him going from a business background into a new gen ed teaching career, me moving from an elementary school special ed aide to a high school special ed teacher. we were both overwhelmed and confused, trying to meet our students and their diverse needs that were always more intense than we expected, with grace and respect. we both had really hard jobs.
and if i thought i had it bad, he was out there not only teaching like crazy, but also raising two kids. some days he’d bike miles and miles to work, on other days he’d bring in his ancient car filled with toys, unafraid of any breakins due to the shabbiness. any time i felt sorry for myself, i thought about all the hard work he was doing and realized i didn’t have it very bad.
and the thing is, amidst all of the ridiculousness that comes with the territory of working at an underfunded urban public school, he always met things with humor and a smile, even if he then promptly ate a handful of almonds and put his head on his desk with exhaustion.
the crew at the school were partiers. in retrospect, i realized our relationships to each other were like people in a war together. it was a difficult job and it built deep bonds and a deep love of the drink. we always tried to get him to come out with us on friday nights, but he rarely would because of all of the other things on his plate. but his presence was always one that made the night extra fun, when he did come.
friend twelve is just one of the world’s genuinely sweet guys. tall, geeky and tattooed, he’s a joy to be around, and when we realized that we lived quasi-near each other, he would sometimes give me a ride, dropping me off at the amazing farmer’s market that we both loved as he went to pick up his boys. i enjoyed the rides with him not so much because it shortened my commute, but because we always had good talks. i don’t live in that neighborhood anymore, or teach at that school anymore, but i wish i was making more time to see friend twelve.
i have two superstrong memories of friend seven, aimee sometimes.
1) eighth grade. somehow able to hilariously do an impression of a gnu as ace ventura: pet detective. (she doesn’t remember this.)
2) high school. junior or senior year. singing epically beautiful harmonies of simon and garfunkel songs with a friend.
and… that’s about it.
and… that’s mostly the fault of my self-loathing shyness at that time. we probably all had it, but friend seven was really good at shoving past that and showing us all that man, she had talent.
more recently, we’ve been in touch. i think we could actually be decent friends if we lived near each other, because i’m no longer an adolescent and can recognize that someone can be fantastically talented and that we can still meet each other as equals. that’s pretty nice. as it is, she’s busy living her life, i’m busy living mine, and that’s cool, too. but i really like that she’s out there, even if i actually have no idea if she still does impressions or sings.