Sunday, November 13, 2005

Probably The Reason I'm In Therapy

So I'm talking to Mo last night and the subject of high school comes up. *Sigh.* Some would describe high school as the best time of their life, the time they learned the most, made the most friends, had the most fun, you know, the best memories. I would describe it differently. For me, high school was like spending four years burning in the hottest flames of the lowest circle of hell with skin made of turpentine for a crime I didn't commit.
Why was it so bad? Numerous reasons. One of which that I was practically deported to the other side of the city. I live on the West Side of Manhattan, my school was deep downtown on the East Side. I made it a point not to ever go near the East side, mainly because I didn't know anyone over there. (And also because there is NOTHING to do over there either.)
So I had to make this long as hour long commute every day to a place I knew nothing about. My school was literally surrounded by projects (and anyone who's anybody knows how cliquish projects folks are) front, and both sides. Behind us was the FDR and the East River.
There were quite a few ways to get to school:
-Take the 19 bus to the 4 train; get off at 125th and transfer to the 6, get off at 103rd and walk through Washington Houses to 1st Ave.
-Hop on the 100 bus to the 6 train, get off and walk through Washington Houses.
-Get on the 101, go straight down to 101st and 3rd Ave, walk through Washington Houses.
-Get on the 19 bus, take it to the 102 bus, take that down to 101st and 3rd and walk through Washington Houses.
- or - Get on the 1/9 train, get off at 96th street transfer to the 96 bus, get off at 100th street next to the Hospital and bypass the PJ's altogether.
As you can see, I ended up on the 1 train when I finally figured out how to get to school.
Now when I started in ninth grade, class began at 8:30. You were late at 8:35. Which meant I was on time every day. Ironically, just as I was getting into the swing of things, a couple of days after the start of school, 9/11 happened. Seeing as I live in Manhattan, a train ride away from Ground Zero, I was screwed. I'm in the middle of Buttf*ck and WhoKnowsWhere and I'm lost as a mug.
My mama who was working at a daycare center on 122nd Street, was my only link to the world. (This was back before cell phones were hot.) I called her from the principals office and then since the MTA had shut down all service, I had to WALK from 100th street and 1st Avenue to her job on 122nd Street and 5th Avenue. Now usually, this kind of walk is a joke. I've walked further in an hour. But yes ya'll, I was profiling in ninth grade. What did I have on? Say it with me now: Shoes!
So after the most painful hour and six minutes of my life, I made it to her job. We caught a cab and got out of there. The most nervewracking part of that day was wondering if my father was alright. He worked a few blocks away from the Towers. Turned out he was fine.
We got the next few days off and pretty soon everyone settled back into the flow of school. Ninth grade passed pretty uneventfully. I made a few acquaintances (I use the term "friend" very loosely) and got a boyfriend. I spent that summer in summer school for Earth Science. Who's goddamn idea was earth science? I do not give a rat's ass about a rock. Or a leaf. Or what dinosaur lived when. My career choice was definitely not going to be archaeology so why the hell was I sitting in a forty-minute class for some I was never going to use?
Sidebar: A little over 90% of the crap I sat in high school learning turned out to be crap I was never going to use.
It didn't help that the ES teacher was a complete and total lackwit bitch. I hated her. All she did was tip around in high heels she couldn't walk in, talking down to people and trying to get a date with the gym teacher.
Whom I also hated. Damn this is going to be a long post. Our gym teacher was a megalomaniacal power hungry freak who swore everything could be solved with running laps. In ninth grade, we did the dodgeball/baseball/kickball thing. *Rolling eyes.* For the record let me say I will fail gym before I play dodgeball. And I did. I sat my happy ass down in the corner and filed my nails until the end of the period. More than one person left gym with a smashed up face for hitting me above the waist. I don't play that. The first time I got hit in the face it took the threat of suspension and three of the basketball players to get me off that kid. I wanted to kill him.
Everyone waited with bated breath for lunch. Our lunch was from 11:15-12:15. There were plenty of places to eat around us (Taco Bell, White Castle, McDonald's, Domino's, Wendy's, Popeyes, KFC, a bunch of Chinese spots, pizza shops and bodegas) and we had the choice of staying out or sitting inside the lunch room. It got kind of chilly sitting out next to the river so most of the time we ended up in the lunchroom. The lounge was reserved for the juniors and seniors. How we envied them. With their couches and their radio's.
It was quickly established that English was my favorite class. My English teacher was a nice enough guy. His only problem was choice of book. Lord have mercy I swear if I have to read Romeo and Juliet one more time in life I'm going for my wrists. Why do folks act like that's the only book the man wrote? If I'm not mistaken he's up in the forties somewhere. Besides the fact that (sorry Batman) I can't stand Shakespeare, I was bored to tears.
The highlight of ninth grade was my being in the principals office at least once a week. Had a violent temper back then, still do. I was in a new place, so I gave folks the benefit of the doubt. After the first month of school, you were on your own.
Tenth grade was also kind of uneventful. As a matter of fact I don't really remember anything happening then. The highlight of that year was me missing a month of school in November after I sprained my hip running laps in gym. That was pain I would only wish on my worst enemy. I went down like a sack of bricks for no damn reason. To this day, my hip still hurts when it gets cold out. *Shrugging.* I was also in summer school this year. For what? Everyone's favorite subject, math. I swear I hate math so much it's painful. Everyone else would be breezing through questions and I'd be sitting there ready to burst into tears, you have no idea. I also cut class so much that year it was sad. I spent most of my time in the bathroom or the principals office. I swear, we (what up Tera) spent literally whole days actin a fool and cutting class in the bathroom. And when we couldn't do that, we'd be in the hallways somewhere. Oh and our lunch hour changed again. It was now 11:17-12:17. Yes, a two minute difference. Big whoop. Everybody still came back late.
Eleventh grade came and went as well. Our English teacher tried to "broaden our horizons" and this was the time I read what I think had to be the worst book ever written. It was JD Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye. I try not to say that in public. People always ask me how I can love English and hate that book, which has been described as a classic, at the same time. I do it quite well actually. That book also bored me to tears. (Funny, seeing I was intrigued cover to cover by The Grapes of Wrath, Animal Farm (excellent book), and All Quiet on the Western Front.)
My teacher said I had to snap out of the urban fiction thing. I wanted to kick him in his throat. What I did say was "Sir, I read urban fiction yes. But I also have read the 'classics.' Just because I'm black does not mean all I read is urban fiction. I have an opinion and it is not to like this book. So you can kiss my ass."
Needless to say I passed with an A+ and a 97 on my English regents.


Anonymous Monica said...

Please tell me that you did not tell your teacher to kiss your ass And whats up with all the advertising on your blog(in the comments section)...WTF?! is that all about man. Who are these people?

6:32 PM  

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