Prompts for 2012-12-15:
1. To Whom It May Concern: I think I’ve lost my way
2. Only worry in the world – is the tide gonna reach my chair?
3. I won’t dance, don’t ask me
It was the best of times, it was the worst… No, that one’s been done already. And besides, those days of football games and pimply-faced kids weren’t either best or worst. They simply were.
High School wasn’t easy for me. I was chubby and plain and what’s worse, the teachers liked me. Well, all except Mr. Edmunds, but that’s another story. For the most part, the teachers and I had a reasonable understanding: I would sit quietly and do my work and they would ignore me 99% of the time. It worked out well for all of us.
Life dragged on by. When you are sixteen years old and pretty darn sure that you are the shyest person in the world, regardless of innumerable magazine articles claiming that others felt the same, each day seems longer than the one before. I prayed with fervent anticipation for my eighteenth birthday, because somehow I knew that reaching that majority would instantly transform me. Into what? I wasn’t really sure, but it had to be better than whatever I was at sixteen. Tall, lean, and elegant were probably not on the menu, I knew that. Nevertheless, I had high hopes and a three year calendar with a large red circle around December 14th of 1962. Magic day.
In the meantime, I spent my days walking the halls of Jackson H.S. with my eyes focused firmly on my toes. That way, I was in no danger of recognizing someone I would be obligated to speak to, knowing, as I always knew, that they would turn to anyone else in the hallway to avoid answering me.
Our school had a building we called The Shack. It was open on Wednesday and Friday nights for the weekly gatherings of the “in” crowd. There was a jukebox filled with 45 rpm records that we were allowed to play at full volume so the “ins” could dance. There was a snack bar where the “ins” paired off to have cherry cokes and whispered secrets. There was a boys’ restroom which I assumed was much like the girls’ restroom except that the girls’ usually held one chubby, plain teachers’ pet who took refuge from the bustle outside. It wasn’t so much a matter of “I won’t dance, don’t ask me” as it was a sad avoidance of “You won’t ask me, so I won’t dance.”
If I had only known then what I know now… Nope, I’m still shy, chubby and plain. But if I were still in school, I’ll bet the teachers would like me just fine.