Laughing after-the-fact

As a little kid, I thought I’d be the coolest person alive by the time I was twelve. I’d be standing by my locker surrounded by a crowd of Abigail-wannabes and drooling boys waiting for an autograph. Then, with a flip of my perfectly glossy, smooth hair, I’d slam my locker door and strut off to class, leaving my startled fans behind.

When I entered the seventh grade, I stuck my finger in life’s electrical outlet and received quite a shock. I had no wannabes–I was a wannabe. The boys treated me like a joke. I was a shy kid just over five feet with an appearance nowhere near what I’d wanted it to be. Even my locker was inferior to my imaginary one.

Have an idea of how disappointed I was when I entered middle school? I hope so, because I’m going to share some of my funny-yet-unfortunate middle school stories. You know, the lighthearted ones that can only be laughed about after-the-fact.

At my middle school, we’d only have all classes on one day. All other days we had block scheduling–first period, third, fifth, seventh, and second, fourth, sixth, and eighth the next day. Well, twelve-year old me had mind-blanks every once in a while. Books in hand, I rushed off to my sixth period science class. As soon as I stepped in the room, I sensed something was wrong, but didn’t quite place it for a few seconds. Then I realized it–none of my classmates were there. The teacher approached me, a little puzzled. “Abigail, this is fifth period. Would you like a late pass?” Words can describe the depths of my embarrassment. “No,” I squeaked, feeling my face turning red. “I’m okay.” Head bowed, I scurried away to get replace my science materials with my history materials. The tardy bell rang as I was frantically trying to pry my locker door open. By the time I’d gotten all my materials, the hallways were empty. Now, let me tell you right now–you do NOT want to be the last one in the hallway. It’s terribly unsettling to be able to hear the echo of your own hurried footsteps. One can compare it to being the last one on a destroyed planet, about to miss the spaceship that will carry all survivors away to a safe place. Terribly anxious, I walked into the classroom–and my last hope fell to pieces. Standing before me was a class, dead silent, and a very angry substitute. “You’re late. Where’s your pass?” asked the sub, glaring. My stomach sloshed and kicked at me, reminding me of my science teacher’s offer, which I had stupidly turned down. In complete shock, I could not answer him. “Where’s your pass?” asked the sub again, this time more severely. Thankfully, a fellow classmate spoke for me. “She doesn’t have a pass.” Somehow, I survived the experience and took my place at my desk, desperately wishing to be at home.
It was that day I discovered the art of strategic crying.
In elementary school, I cried when I needed to. Oftentimes that was in class or, in extreme cases, in front of the teacher. (Yes, it happened. It was embarrassing, but it happened.) In middle school, however, I found out a way to cry without being found out. With all the new demands, social drama, and other crap that was placed upon my shoulders in seventh grade, crying became a necessary way to relieve stress. Instead of putting my head in my hands and bawling, I’d yawn. If my classmates noticed my eyes watering, I’d blame it on the fact that I had just yawned and was very tired. Then I would look down at my paper or notebook and pretend to be working. This way, my eyes would be more guarded and any onlookers would assume I was just completing assignments. Strategic crying included several other tactics which saved me several times throughout middle school.

You know, all students who have completed middle school need to be given special badges that read “I survived the hellhole.”


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