In my hometown, we had four elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school, and kids were divided up by where they lived. Everyone in my neighborhood went to Holly Lane, but since I was in the uber-nerdy GT (Gifted & Talented) program, I was shipped halfway across town to go to Hilliard Elementary School. This meant that not only was I ostracized for being an total geek (and girl geek, at that) at MY school, that all the kids in my neighborhood knew what a tool I was since I didn’t even get to go to their school. Really, growing up as a smart kid sucks. (Though, in retrospect, I’m sitting here in Beijing typing on my PowerBook working for Google where you, kind reader who made fun of this bespectacled 8 year old just because she had to do projects on "Planets" and "Calligraphy", are just waking up to go work at the local Sip n’ Shake. Take that, bucko.)
A result of having to go to a school across town, they exacerbated our geekiness by providing us with a separate bus for all the "misplaced" students; bear in mind that this serviced not just the GT kids, but also the Special Ed and "behavior problem" kids; needless to say, the daily bus ride proved to be nothing if not interesting. Regardless, the ride took over an hour, so I missed a TWO WHOLE EPISODES of after-school cartoons and playtime since the local kids would get home in 10-15 minutes whereas I was stuck on the most radically diverse schoolbus since the dawn of time until nearly 4:30 every day. NOT FUN.
In a feeble attempt to dodge the gleeks and spitballs that were so ubiquitous, I donned my trusty walkman and would listen to my bootleg radio-recorded tapes of my favorite songs; namely, Peter Cetera’s "Glory of Love" on repeat. (Of course, we didn’t have anything like repeat back then; I would simply push "rewind" repeatedly until it went to the beginning of the song. After a while I knew just how many seconds it had to rewind before it went EXACTLY to the beginning. Just in case you were doubting that I have always been this big of a dweeb.) I would be reading my Babysitter’s Club books that I would beg my Mom for every trip we took to Baluk’s (the local bookstore cum candy shop that has forever linked my opinion of books to wonderful sweet treats) and simultaneously mouthing the words as Cetera crooned: "I’ll be the man who will fight for your honor." No matter that I never saw Karate Kid 2 – the lyrics alone taught me that someone, somewhere, would one day fight for my honor. What a beautiful thought – I didn’t need a knight in shining armor if there was a ninja out there who would beat down any and all who didn’t uphold my honor (whatever that was.) At the time, I imagined it to be someone talking smack about my Momma (note that this was at the advent of the "yo momma" jokes, so that makes sense) but these days, I think I’m still looking for someone to fight for something that I believe in.
Then again, I think I just want someone to fight for ME.