Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why I miss freshman year...why I wake up so much later than I used to...grudges against romance...

I came later because no one was there. School starts at 7:45. I typically arrived at school between 7:10 and 7:15. There was a low wall that encircled a trio of weepy eucalyptus trees. The wall was too low to be a solid wind barrier; too high and too narrow to sit on comfortably. If I was lucky and prudent I brought a book and somone would arrive around 7:20. But that someone was usually Frodo* or Christopher*, who I never really knew or talked to, or Toby*, who I didn't really talk to back then, either. I really wasn't very talkative. I'm still not.

If I was unlucky someone would pop up five minutes before the bell, and by then I'd be stiff from standing and holding the book in my numb fingers (it was cold in the mornings, especially with the eucalyptus trees dribbling all over the place). It wasn't fun, but I was pretty faithful in arriving early, mostly from a habit carried over from middle school, or a perpetual fear of being caught late. And I always hoped that someone would come.

But that rarely happened. Mostly, the half an hour before school would go something like this:
1) I walk to the wall. Place backpack on the wall, dig inside for book. Consider wall. Should I try to sit on top?
2) Glance over my shoulder and realize that there are witnesses that could possibly catch sight of me struggling to balance while reading. A teacher sweeps past. Consider the line of ants. Sigh.
3) Drag backpack from top of the wall and allow it to fall four feet to land on the pavement. Settle down next to backpack, which I drape over my right knee as a sort of blanket. Wince slightly as buttocks begin to feel cold.
4) Open book and try to concentrate on interesting plot (if I brought a book I liked) or obscure iambic pentameter (if book is assigned by school). Supress a shiver. Wish group had agreed on meeting in the library. Or any place indoors.
5) Look up every few seconds as peoples' feet cross line of vision. Teacher. Counselor. Senior. Random administrator. Read a few lines of text.
6) "Aren't you cold?" Look up. A teacher (at least that is assumption) is looking down at you. Shrug nonchalantly, answer "no..." even though I am involuntarily spasming under my sweathshirt. Man shrugs and continues walking towards Administration building. Has no time for crazy freshmen.
7) Tries not to shudder as a dollop of dew drops onto my neck. Wait miserably for someone to arrive.
8) It's Christopher. Manage an awkward "hello." No sure to keep reading or not. Oh. Holden* At least I can read and be ignored.
9) Someone that I can hold a conversation with arrives. Tries to stand without falling over. Puts away book. Bell rings two minutes later.

That was how my mornings went most of freshman year, and a month or so into the sophmore one. Then that changed, too.

Day One: Have more confidence now. Stands next to wall, reading. Checks watch. Ten minutes to bell. Shrugs. Maybe they're running late. Reads. Checks watch. Five minutes to bell. Scans campus. Nothing. Reads. Two minutes to bell. Taps watch. Can't be right. Watches second hand tick past the one minute mark. Bell rings. Off to class, somewhat perplexed.

They are there at lunch. Toby* and Samantha* spend a lot of time together. Not much of my concern, I suppose. But lunch is awkward. People watch from the corners of their eyes. Caleb* watches. Tim* watches. Erin* watches.

Day Two: Apprehensive. Comes at 7:20. Wait at the wall. Bell rings. Wonders if they came and I missed them.

They no longer come to the wall. Not Toby*, not Samantha*, not Erin*. I learn that they gather inside the front building, now.

Day Three: I "run late." Get there at 7:30. Arrive at English classroom early. Wait outside. Two minutes later a friend comes along. We talk. It's fun. The bell rings.

Day Four: It's Spanish, so I get there at 7:35. As I walk across the quad (much more crowded than I'm used to) I glance at the wall. The adults file past occasionally. The eucalyptus trees drip wetly onto nothing. The wall is dead.

Day Five: I change my route. I walk up the stairs. Turn right, not left. I walk up more steps. To the building. It's 7:25; I couldn't wake up as early as I used to anymore. There's Toby*. There's Samantha*. There's Erin*. I walk up to them. I tell Erin I need help with my chem hw. I figure it's just today. I don't like this place. I don't like the warmth; too hot in my sweatshirt. I figure I'll go straight to English. And come late on Spanish days. I compare answers. The bell rings.


I don't know why I wrote this. I just couldn't get it out of my head. Toby* and Samantha* aren't dating anymore. But we're still there. And I go there every day. I've gotten used to it.

I do miss the old days. But old days fade to grey as new ones shove forward. I'm probably destroying any meager bit of soberness I had above. I don't care. I guess I don't really appreciate change, or growing up, or things of that nature. Gotta grow up. But Erin* and Nathan* and Toby* and Bernice* and Samantha* and Roger* and Channel* and Neal*...

Maybe it's fun. Maybe it's nice. But there's responsibility and communication and effort and time.

I don't know when I last changed my two-week contact lenses.

I'd rather read. I'd rather write. I'd rather blog. Heck, I'd rather be frozen and dripped on by a eucalyptus tree.

*Names obviously altered. I have never met a "Frodo" in real life. It would be awesome, though.


  1. :)

    "I miss freshman year"
    because i'm not there anymore? yay!

    i can basically guess a few names... holden is a nice name. even though i hate catcher in the rye. is that robert?

    i wish it were me. sometimes i feel like holden. this post was definitely holden-ish. and wonderful :)

  2. You among other things. :P

    No, I actually don't remember who I intended for Holden to be, but I know that it wasn't Robert. I don't think I mentioned him, actually.

    I forgot most of Catcher in the Rye. Except for the "phony" part. I suppose that was exactly how I was feeling. Holden-ish :) Thanks, Gadi.