September 20

The Apple Core Complex

So, I’ve accumulated so many decorative pillows that it takes actual strategy to figure out their transport arrangements to and from my bed. Does anyone else seem to have this problem? I bear a likeness to Godzilla knocking over buildings as I try to get under the covers each night. Getting home after work today, I was so exhausted that even this task seemed far too daunting, and thus I sat, at the foot of my bed, staring down my plush and tasseled adversaries right in their bladders. (So, pillows have bladders. I actually Googled “pillow jargon”).

And why was my hoarder’s nest of pillows so detrimental to me on this particular night? My lack of energy came courtesy of the common cold: the only modern-day institution in whose dealings I wish some racism still endured, and yet it remains cruelly indiscriminating. It strikes when one least expects it, and the only thing to be done is slap on a cold compress, drink some tea, and try to imagine a world in which sounding like Donald Duck is cause for celebration. Which is also commonly referred to as, “the past five days of my life;” I was so dazed at work today that I walked by the same busbin six times before I remembered that I was looking for it! Forget about taking a “mental health” day; I need a day for “mental retardation”.

 

And now, we’ve finally arrived at the story behind the my The Big Bang Theory-esque title. (“We’re” not sure why “we’re” talking like the villain in a melodrama, but I guess we’ll just ride this one out.)

Only 11 students chose to take advanced English this year, so the class was relocated to the office boardroom- as if to tell us, “You higher minds are indeed as superior as you feel.” My fabulous teacher Mrs. Joyce is thusly persuaded to bring all of her teaching materials down from her classroom each morning like a sherpa, while teachers with more popular courses settle into her space until lunch.

There are two students who can be relied upon to be first into the boardroom each morning: me, and the guy who I have been particularly frantic and impish around lately (which is NOT AT ALL relevant to the story! … ;) ). I suppose that Mrs. Joyce has picked up on our habitual keenness, because on this particular morning, she stood waiting for the two of us to enter, circa-together, at her usual spot in front of the white board.

“I have a mission for you.” she said in her usual offbeat, wry aplomb.

“Shoot.” *Ohmygoshishelookingatmetellmehe’snotlooking* answered.

“You know where my classroom is, right? Well, I need you to get there before the teacher who uses it first block. When you open the door, on your right you’ll see… well, whaddya call it… You know, those screens they use for the projectors… well, on the string that you use to pull it down, you will find an apple core. I need you to cut the string just before the core, and bring the core back to me, no questions asked. Maybe someday I’ll explain.” She handed us the key without another word.

And, sure enough, when we arrived at her upstairs classroom, we discovered the rotting apple core hanging, as-promised, from the string of the projector screen. In one swift motion, I lunged for the scissors on her desk while Dreamboat fumbled to hold out the cord. The mission went without a hitch except for one bewildered freshman, who after witnessing the whole thing could scarcely utter, “…Did that just happen?”

The looks on our classmates’ faces as we burst into the boardroom waving a piece of stale fruit most likely matched our initial confusion at hearing her request. But fortunately for my (and your) curiosity, Mrs. Joyce immediately dropped the act of secrecy; she explained how, upon returning to her classroom after lunch the day before, she had spotted an apple core on her desk. Knowing immediately that the man who had left it has her classroom for 2nd and 4th period, she decided to send him a message. Using enough masking tape to dress a fatal wound, she fixed the apple core to the string of her projector screen, and stuck a fork in it. It was only the next morning that she remembered the apple core, and determined that it “wouldn’t be fair” to the first-year teacher using the classroom for her homeroom to discover an apple core hanging at the front of the classroom with a giant fork in it.

I cannot wait to see if every English class will be this exciting! I get enough heart palpitations sitting next to *smileandlaugh,waitnotsohardhethinksyou’rechoking*; that class is slowly giving me angina.

For the moment, all I have left to do is bludgeon my way through the small village of throw pillows separating me from my bed.

Goodnight for now!

Avery

 

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September 6

First Day of School!

As the new school year begins, I am gratefully reminded of the sanity of my fellow high school students. Remember when one’s school status was determined exclusively by the words that rhymed with their name? Some parents legitimately set their children up for failure from day 1. Remember Maddy? Me either. “Fatty” rings a bell, though. How about good ol’ Cooper the Pooper Scooper? Hairy Harry? God forbid any of you went to school with a boy named “Dick.”

As for my experience, elementary-level word association extended so far as to christen me “Avery Slavery.” Now, none of the other kids seemed to mind that “slavery” is many parts more a concept than a specific noun, or even an action verb. This truth resonated with no-one, it seemed, as they shouted “slavery on Avery!” inviting every 1st grader within a 100-ft radius to pile on top of me. Nor did it stop my ascension to the top of the list of beneficiaries from her fellow pupils unloading their colouring books and glue sticks onto her for transport between classes. If kindergarten had superlatives, I definitely would have made “Class Slave.”

For the first time since my mother left her teaching job to stay at home with my brother and me, both of my parents were working on the first day of school. This meant that the event received no greater accentuation than any other day in the calendar year; we had left over butter chicken in the fridge and extra hamburger buns on the counter, and from this we hastily crafted what my dad now refers to as “Sloppy Raheeds.” We did go for a family walk after dinner, but turned back before we had gone half a mile in order to finish up homework and teaching prep before it got dark. At least, it gave us a chance to share about our days.

My highlight was the Catholic School Welcome Assembly. I was seated next to a young man who was stoned out of his mind. It’s actually hilarious, the disparity between the strict religious kids and the “wild” partygoers at my school. It’s binary. Sort of like apartheid, with a lot less social tension. The pot-smokers hang out in certain hallways, take certain classes, and the more studious youth group-goers stick to their own parts of the school. Having friends in both circles, I almost have to inconspicuously flip on a beanie to go from one to the other. I think that the problem is the occasional radical in both groups; the guy that comes to math with red eyes and dilating pupils, and the girl who asked me just yesterday, “What’s your favourite secular band?” I sometimes wonder what would happen if two such people were stuck on a desert island together. It would probably explode.

What was it like at your high school? Any culture-shock experiences similar to mine at the welcome assembly, or were you the one who was doing the shocking? ;)

Bye for now,

Avery

 

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