Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Damn it, More Glass Raising

School started that next Monday morning. I arrived wearing my best back-to-school outfit with my shiny new green backpack slung over my shoulder. I felt very old, very mature. I was a SIXTH GRADER. I knew all the teachers, the principals, the secretaries and the janitors. I knew which teachers would let a little hall-pass-free wandering go unnoticed and which would whisk you off to detention. And I knew that chili day in the cafeteria was a day that Mom most DEFINITELY had to fix my lunch. I was a total eleven-year-old badass.

That morning I found out I had been placed in the class with the COOL kids. Until that moment in the gym, waiting in unairconditioned heat for my room assignment, I was sure the cool kids were paying off the administration so they could sit in classes together, trading purple pens with cool feathers on the top and sneaking bubble gum between the aisles. In fact, I had already resigned myself to being in the totally UNcool and UNrad Smart Kid Class.

Oh, you didn't know there were cool Smart Kids? WELL YES THERE ARE. Smart Kids have just as much of a hierarchy as anybody else. In fact, sometimes the Smart Kids totally take over the Popular Kids group and form a new, totally BITCHING Cool Smart Kids group. For as long as I had been living in Mississippi (2.5 years) I had seen the distinct separation amongst the Smart Kids. I'm not sure if words were exchanged or if the better looking kids were just genetically predisposed to form a Smart Kids Group of their own but there were DEFINITE lines drawn. Lines you JUST DID NOT CROSS.

Guess which group I was in.

So much to my surprise I was placed in the classroom with the Cool Smart Kids, something that even my SUPER EXTRAORDINARILY smart self saw as a very strange and possibly VERY BAD twist of fate. You see, even though the Grudzien boy had been sporting the too-tight t-shirts and crooked teeth, he had somehow, SOMEHOW, infiltrated the Cool Smart Kid group. I often wondered how he did this as he was a transplant, much like myself. Though, of course, the Grudzien boy did not start his period in front of 27 other nine-year-olds. THIS PROBABLY HAD A LOT TO DO WITH IT.

After the assignments were given, the students dutifully marched in single file to their assigned classrooms. BUT OF COURSE I LIE. We ran helter skelter through the hallways, looking for room 102 or 204 or the nearest janitor closet to hide in. And so it came to pass that I met Mrs. Auqouin (pronounced oo-qwen, emphasis on second syllable), who would become my all-time favorite teacher. Though on that first day I cursed her with every vile curse word known to any sheltered eleven-year-old. Why?

She was seating us alphabetically.

This means nothing to you, obviously. So here's where I sidetrack a bit and explain why this is bad. His name was [redacted]. Mine? [redacted]. SEE HOW I JUST GAVE UP TOTAL ANONYMITY? DO YOU SEE? I figured it was going to happen sometime and really, who cares. Prospective employers, relatives, friends and small woodland creatures be damned. If you google me you'll find that I'm mentioned, briefly, in an article that was actually written about a friend of mine - [redacted]. I think it mentions that we were co-anchors at the University of Central Arkansas television station. Other than that I am a completely innocuous human being.

So back to the ACTUAL story. As we were seated alphabetically, the Grudzien boy was placed DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME. I almost passed out I was so nervous. What if it turned out the he was smarter than me? What if I PRETENDED that he was smarter than me and I could casually ask for his help on an algebraic equation, scrunching my face into an adorable mask of confusion until BING! with his calm and patient help I was able to break through the algebra barrier! And what if I tripped on the way to the pencil sharpener? He would think I was a total spaz. But what if I stumbled delicately, right by his desk? I could grab his arm for balance and he would take my hand, look deep into my eyes and ask with genuine concern if I was okay. I'd laugh gaily and make self deprecating jokes about my clumsiness. He'd be impressed with my self confidence and IMMEDIATELY ask me to go the football game with him on Friday.

Thankfully I never put any of my plans into action. I just sat in petrified silence for the first weeks of school, afraid I would commit some mortally embarrassing act of heinousness and be forever banned from his presence. But at the same time, I would have given my right arm to sit someplace else, a seat where the [redacted] boy couldn't see, hear or LOOK at me.

Now during this time of petrification due to boy exposure I was actually making some new friends of my own. Not BOY friends, naturally. I couldn't come within spitting distance of a boy without freezing into an immobile non-speech-having block of wood. But, and here was where I was truly floored, I had started to make friends with a popular girl! A real live popular girl! Her name was [redacted] and she was the epitome of eleven-year-old perfection. Her blonde hair was smooth and straight-- never frizzy or curly-- and her bangs HER BANGS were always perfectly curled into a delicate and beautiful poof.

This was 1991. Give us a break.

I was terribly jealous of Lacy's wardrobe (she always wore Guess or Gibaud jeans, normally with a matching shirt to coordinate) her hair and her ability to speak freely, AND IN WHOLE SENTENCES, with the boys in our class. We had come to be friends ofasort through a semi-dork friend of my own, who happened to be friends with a girl who rode the popular fence who was definitely friends with Lacy, who was so far in the popular field most of us had to squint our eyes to see her. But in the way of eleven-year-olds, sleep overs were always more fun when extra girls were present. So when Tiffany (the fence rider) invited Ella (my friend) who invited me (the true dork) to join her and Lacy (the popular queen) for an evening of fun at her house (with a pool! and a cute older brother!) I would drop anything I was doing to beg my poor mother to drive 30 minutes to Tiffany's house and leave me with her chain-smoking hack of a mother. (My mother was unaware Tiffany's mom was a chain-smoking hack and remained so until well into my late teens and after we had moved two states over.)

After six or seven sleepovers I felt confident enough to share with my friends my ridiculous crush on the Grudzien boy. It was a Saturday afternoon in mid-November and we were sitting in the floor of Tiffany's bedroom. Now this girl's room was decorated in every conceivable item deemed marketable by the handlers of New Kids on the Block. This was WAY before they became NKOTB and tried to pretend like they couldn't remember the time when eleven-year-old girls put posters on their walls, bought Jordan sleeping bags and cuddled up to their super fuzzy blankets adorned with their floating heads. But back in the day, Tiffany's room was the SHIT. My mom would NEVER have let me decorate with boy band crap, much less put their posters on my wall. I had a white bedspread with primary colored hearts on it. And I had four heart shaped pillows in red, green, purple and orange that I arranged across the back of my white metal daybed on those times when my mother convinced (forced) me to make my bed. Buy Tiffany's room... I remember it fondly to this day. Though not 10 months later she was begging her mother to let her redecorate it (ah, the fickle pre-teenage mind). Denied, we spent one of our sleep-over nights attempting to turn her New Kids on the Block bedspread into something socially acceptable by coloring it in with red markers. Obviously this was a bad idea. But again, I digress.

When I told my friends of my secret crush they were supportive and excited in that way that only pre-pubescent girls can be. Don't let them fool you. THEY KNOW you have no chance. But they'll do everything in their power to help your crush along. And then bad-mouth you behind your back, of course. But Lacy was the first one to step up that afternoon, telling me that we should CALL the Grudzien boy and find out if he liked me back.

So we stole the phone book from under Tiffany's mom's bed (a strange place for a phone book) and looked up the Grudziens. Only one listing. And Lacy, in her pert, blonde and perfect way, picked up the phone and began to dial.


meghansdiscontent said...

You gave up the anonymity.
Robin, you're starting to worry me.
And you think I should talk to the doc about switching my meds.
Maybe I'll talk him into a few for you.

Love ya, though.

Chairborne Stranger said...

You gave this up? I was thinking about it lately too.

Also, are you just 'mildly' cranky? That had to be the funniest thing of your anonymous blog--just your picture and "mildly cranky" It kept me coming back.

Now that you're Robin......and mildly cranky, how will your life change?

Barry S. said...

What a captivating story, Robin...I really enjoy where you consciously use CAPS in certain areas of your story, in order to draw the reader in MORE. Nice touch.
Like yourself, I also hate chapped lips, as well as talking on the phone WITH chapped lips. Ugh.

Adam said...

How does the story stop there?!?!?

I haven't visited for a while, but it seems like this thing is better than it's ever been. I never thought that could be possible.

I'm retaking up my residence here, I assume everyone is okay with that.

trueborn said...

Thank you Robin. Birdie makes total sense now, my call sign like Wolfman from Top Gun makes no sense at all. Giving up anonymity need not a bad thing, though there are a few people I woundn't want finding out abou tmy blog. Man would I have some explaining to do.
Anyway, what do you want to go by?
Birdie or Robin?

Jenni said...

Great story....I want more!!!

The Gnat's Trumpet said...

Huh, I seem to remember you calling me the devil in a comment to a post on my site that ended this very same way.

Pleased to meet you Robin and I'm looking foward to the next installment.

meghansdiscontent said...

OH, Robin . . I would email you at work BUT my email is jacked, so:

Make NO plans for Saturday - if you're actually off work.

Our lovely, wonderful, terrifical Bakey Bake is back from Dallas tomorrow night and leaving for France Tuesday so Saturday is designated Bakey Bake birthday celebration/Christ-a-mus celebration day/night.

Your responsibilities:
Get gifts from yourself to him


birdie said...

chairborne: I really am only MILDLY cranky. to be a full-on raging cranky-pants would just take too much effort. and i, my friend, am not about putting out the effort. :)

barry: thankyoueversomuch!

adam: yay! you're back! i could feel the lack of your internet presence and i think that's why i developed shingles.

true: i think i'll stick with birdie for now. :) it's kind of like a security blanket. a security blanket with lots of holes because as soon as someone comes to the site they INSTANTLY SEE MY REAL NAME. scary thought. but it's kind of a relief, in a way. :)

gnat: hellooooo! yes, i most certainly called you a devil. and you are, because your MP series is so highly entertaining and then WHAM you end the post and it's like you cut off my pinkie finger just for spite.

meghan: um, i may not be here on saturday. i may have to go to hot springs, but i don't know yet. will find out more tomorrow. am very sleepy so hard to think. and why is baker going to FRANCE, of all places?

birdie said...

damnit i left out jenni by assident.

jenni: thankyouthankyou *bowing with ALL KINDS OF MODESTY, natch.

meghansdiscontent said...

Baker is going to France because he bought the ticket when he and Frenchy were dating . . but now that they are no longer an item, he doesn't see the use in wasting the ticket . . plus he and the ex are still somewhat friendly (considering the ex is a drunken loser, but whatever).

So France for Christmas, the lucky buggar.

Hot Springs????? Do I want to know where this is going???????

Oh, and before you read it on my blog - I may be moving to Fayetteville.

Carl from L.A. said...

Blogging anonymously, IMO, is necessary only if you work for the CIA.

Captivating story, Birdie. Absolutely captivating. You are leaving ALL your readers hanging - you know that, right?

birdie said...

you mean all four of them, right?


meghansdiscontent said...

Call me IMMEDIATELY - I would call you but you're at work.

Change of Saturday plans, we forgot something SERIOUSLY important . .. . ha ha ha ha.

It requires a flask.
And really dressy clothes.
And a gift.
And we're not technically invited.
Because the bride hates you and me.

Uh oh, letting too much out.
Call ME!

Carmi said...

Great storytelling. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache if I wrote that well when I was in school.

Instead, I ticked off my English teacher and gave her gray hair because I was such a literary rebel.

I'm really enjoying your writing, and am glad to have discovered your blog.