Self Expression Magazine

#10- The Good Ol' Days

Posted on the 18 December 2011 by Brainy @mybrainthings
I've been thinking about high school a lot this week which is something I haven't really done in a while.  Thought those memories were nice and repressed, but one little trigger and they come flooding back in all their cringe-inducing glory. Thinking about those days makes me feel just the same as when I was living them: a knuckle-headed spaz-a-tron.
High school was lame in so many ways and I hated it desperately.  It wasn't just the mini society built via hormones and vanity, no, no, it was much more than that.  Don't get me wrong, I fucking hated that part and was filled with murderous rage from the injustice of it all, but it's is practically inconsequential now-a-days, I've moved on and mellowed out as time has gone by.
The school itself was just some giant, hollowed out cement block that had tiny, itsy-bitsy windows on the very top of of the walls; no child under 12 feet tall could look outside and therefore be distracted from their studies.  It was very enclosed, confined and dank, like some kind of three-story basement from hell.  But, again, it doesn't seem to have an impact on my adult life except as a bad memory.  And most likely some kind of basement disease I'll get when I'm 80.  I'm thinking a long-dormant strain of Rickets or something.  But hey, I'm no Doctor.  I just made that shit up.
Now let's get to the long-lasting and ever-present internal damage which is what everyone really wants to know: 
I was exceedingly lonely during most of my tenure at Satan's cellar, but I don't think I quite realized it at the time. I had no close friends that graduated from middle school to my districts high school with me, and the few acquaintances that did soon found their places somewhere else.  I remember being so lonely that I couldn't bear to be in my own dark room at night, with nothing but my sad, sad thoughts, so I slept in my mom's bed with her.  I'd be over on my dad's empty side, and we'd watch the Random Old British Comedy of the night, then Are You Being Served, which was always on next, on the little TV in her room.  Most of the time I fell asleep before it was over.  When Dad got home from work at midnight or so (he worked the evening shift), he'd wake me up enough so I'd stumble into my own, cold bed until morning. 
I did make some friends eventually, and they introduced me to their friends and we had some kind of clique going on, I guess.  We weren't popular, not super smart either and I can't recall ever being bullied, so I don't know what label was put upon us.  A few friends smoked weed, one was ultra-religious, another pretended to be religious but was actually a slut, and one kid was constantly and half-heartedly trying to kill herself (she did not succeed, and is in fact my facebook friend now).  We constantly talked behind each other's backs, we plotted, we dramatized, we were teenagers.  I remember feeling pretty neutral about the whole lot; besides the aforementioned personality variants, they were all basically the same person, going along with whatever as to not stick out from the crowd.  But in high school you make alliances with anyone willing to take you in.  I was still lonely.  
By senior year, I didn't really talk to those kids anymore.  Maybe in passing we said a quick, 'Hey,' but it was nothing substantial.  There wasn't any big blow out fight involving throwing stars and recruiting evil scientists to invent nefarious contraptions intent on ensnaring and/or disintegrating each other.  It was even worse than that: I simply receded from the group and none of them came looking for me.   By the time I graduated, I was pretty much in the same boat, or friendship (get it?!), as I was when I had started high school.  That pattern has pretty much repeated itself every place where I meet people.  There'll be a swell of friendliness, some cursory calls, emails, IM's, whatevs', but I always inevitably cross the line into the borders of their crazy territory, don't like what I see, and retreat before I get caught all up their business (or bidnez, if you prefer the street vernacular).  There have been a couple of folks who slapped up a coat of paint and pushed the mess into a closet of their brainrooms and we became fast and furious bff's.  But eventually the door burst open in a fireball of insanity and after the smoke cleared, I was still standing, but the heart I often wear on my sleeve was forever singed.  I almost definately could have seen the poorly hidden crazy if I had looked hard enough, but we return to the overlying theme (loneliness) to explain my purposeful blindness.  There is currently one person  in my life (that I'm not related to by blood or marriage) that I consider to be a really close friend.  Which is much, much better than nothing, so even that teenage trauma wasn't completely insurmountable. 
The final, and most detrimental aspect of grades 9-12 was my actual education.  
My school had an 'open-campus', meaning students could leave the premises whenever they didn't have a class.  I think there were eight periods in a day and you had to arrange your schedule to have at least four classes in any given day, leaving, yes, that's right, up to four off-hours a day.  Not entirely interesting, I know.  But, having an open-campus made it ridiculously easy to ditch class, and when I had my driver's license junior year, my rate of ditching per week increased exponentially.  I missed school so much in my senior year I had to go to summer school to graduate.  The school's system to combat truancy, you ask? A recorded message that called your house that evening.  As a youth, I was, of course, on the phone all night anyway, so all I had to do was click the call waiting, listen for a few seconds, then click back to my most likely super-important phone call about... cheeseburgers...or whatever the kids were into those days.  So, no consequences for missing class. 
When I did go to class, I sat in the back row unless forced otherwise by the dreaded assigned-seating chart. I rarely contributed to class discussions, and often turned work in late.  I hardly ever studied for tests, and when I did, I struggled with my apathy and could rarely focus.  I got ok grades.  B's and C's for hardly trying wasn't too shabby.  That was during the early years when I went to class on a mostly regular basis, mind you.  I'm pretty sure I failed almost all of my classes the very last semester (hence the necessity for summer school).  Here's the point: I could have gotten A's.  If I had put in the slightest amount of effort, read the assigned chapters and completed my assignments, I would have been on the honor roll.  I'm a smart motherfucker.  But I didn't care, and no one else cared either.  I came home with C's on my report card and say, 'Hey, I'm just an average kid, so it's only natural I get average grades.'  My parents accepted that with little to no arguing.  They weren't really into the importance of education, or at least never conveyed it to me at any rate.  The teachers were all overworked and underpaid, and I'm sure if I went to any of them and asked for help they'd have been glad to, but no one came to me.  
I was not instilled with a love of learning or a desire to know about the world we live in and beyond until very recently and I've found that I don't know things I should, like algebra, which I took for two goddamn years! Or how the executive branch of the government works (congress v. senate? it's pretty foggy in my brainbag) even though I'm sure I took Government at school (didn't I?).  
So here I am with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge because my education well wasn't built up to code.  Some of the bricks are made of Styrofoam, while some are just plain missing (Doesn't hold water very well, is my point.  'Water' being a metaphor for 'being able to learn new things', in case my lame analogies make you groan with displeasure and skip over them completely).  I was an angst-filled teenager that didn't have any particular hopes or dreams for the future.  Now I'm in said future and I don't have what I need to fulfill my current hopes and dreams.  That's why, when I think back to those days, it makes me feel like a knuckle-headed spaz-a-tron.  Then I crack open Astrology for Dummies, and get to readin'.

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