It was very easy to cut class at my high school. You simply walked off campus, and that was all. I know how easy it was because I cut class all the time — at LEAST once a week. Once one of our school security guards even tipped his hat at me (yes, his literal hat) as he watched me disappear down the street in the middle of the school day. There were plenty of things to do while not in school — you could watch “Kids In The Hall,” buy Oreos at the grocery store, or try to find secretly dirty pictures in the health books at the public library, for example — but my favorite thing to do was to get into Ben’s Geo Prizm with him and drive into the nothingness of the afternoon, blasting “Better Son/ Daughter” from the cheap car speakers with all the windows down.
I have been holding rocks in my pocket ever since I read Byrd Baylor’s excellent children’s book, “Everybody Needs A Rock.” She says, "I’m sorry for kids/ who only have/ TRICYCLES/ BICYCLES/ HORSES/ ELEPHANTS/ GOLDFISH/ THREE-ROOM PLAYHOUSES/ FIRE ENGINES/ WIND-UP DRAGONS/ AND THINGS LIKE THAT — /if / they don’t have/ a rock/ for a friend.” I mean, how can you argue with that? This woman feels sorry for people with WIND-UP DRAGONS if they don’t have a thing as simple as a rock. So my desk drawers and jacket pockets are full of kumquat-sized stones I've stolen from rivers and beaches and yoga studios. (Yoga studios are always trying to sell you pieces of jewelry or fabric headbands by displaying them in dishes of stones. Those are usually the BEST ROCKS.)
Yeah, I know. We’re all supposed to hate Valentine’s Day. If you’re not in a romantic relationship, you’re supposed to hate Valentine’s Day because you’re so lonely, and you have to watch everyone else be happy and coupled up. If you are in a romantic relationship, you’re supposed to hate Valentine’s Day because corporate America is trying to take ownership of your love and have you spend money on stuff no one really needs in order to pacify your significant other one day a year. We’re supposed to hate all the Celine Dion they play on the radio, and all the pink and red, and even the chalky candy hearts in all their glorious ubiquity.
When you’re filling out your OK Cupid profile, you are supposed to complete the sentence, “I am really good at _____.” It’s kind of a tough question, because you don’t want to BRAG or anything, but there is so little in life that a person can be objectively GOOD at. Ideally, you’d be able to cite something where data backs you up: “I am really good at being tall;” or “I am really good at getting fan letters to Michael Bolton published on his fan page.” Lucky for me, I have exactly one skill like this. I am really good at finding four-leaf clovers.
But it's organic! Why would a baby even CARE if something was organic?!
I have almost never been single. If we were to psychoanalyze, this is probably because I was the last to have a boyfriend in high school. I wanted one SO BAD, but I was extremely moody in public, and openly read “The Babysitters’ Club” way past a time when it was socially acceptable, so. I wrote in my diary every night about how I would do ANYTHING to have a boyfriend, and how if I had one, I would take him on a train ride and put my head in his lap, innocently, so he could stroke my hair. (This was my main fantasy: train ride hair stroking. As an boyfriend-having adult, I have secretly made, like, six boys ride on trains with me to live this out. Can’t lie: it’s as amazing as I imagined it would be.) The moment a boy finally took interest in me (Eli, when I was sixteen), I clamped onto him and thought, “I am never, ever, ever letting this go."
My friend Ben used to collect keys. He kept them in a jar: keys that had belonged to him, keys that had belonged to friends, keys he’d purchased at thrift shops (by the way, who are these people giving their old keys away to thrift shops?), keys people had lost or forgotten and he’d stumbled upon in passing. In the jar, the keys caught the sun sometimes and looked like an artifact out of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Your eye could wander around the corners and spaces the keys left; the collection altogether was art-gallery dazzling.
I don’t drink much. Really, I feel uncomfortable writing about alcohol, because it feels a little like I’m a twelve-year-old writing about being a teenager. I have observed some things about alcohol and drunkenness — I’ve flirted with it — but I have no authority at all to write about it. My observations are things like, “Whoa. Alcohol is so WEIRD. Things get kind of spinny, and you can kiss people with less reservation!”
I had really been looking forward to my contracted trip to Washington, DC. I had been hired to present a workshop on working with students who have emotional differences (my preferred term for what the rest of the world calls “disturbances,” “disabilities,” and “difficulties”). I'd spent a lot of time preparing the workshop, and I was excited to spend the extra time I had to romp around DC, finding new libraries and eating at vegan restaurants alone. Maybe I would even go to a MUSEUM. No sarcasm here: heaven for me is a day at an unfamiliar library or museum all by myself. Because apparently I’m 65 years old.