Friday, February 28, 2014

My Brief Stint as a Sex-Crazed Juvenile Delinquent

At nine years old I spent more time with books than people. We have all these charming photos from back then. In each of them the family smile at the camera, arms around each other. But if you take a second glance you will see me frowning at a book in the background. At school it was worse. I rarely did anything but read.
This was largely due to the fact that whenever I did briefly glance at my classmates they seemed to be engaged in bizarre activities. 
I ignored such carry-on. Instead I read about gutsy young girls and magic and adventure. It was easy when reading these tales to imagine myself as just like the cheeky girls between the covers. That was until the incident of the red-book. It caught my attention because everyone was talking about it. All the bigger boys would sneak into the teachers desk and read it. It was rumoured to have a page about everyone: detailing all the bold and exciting things they'd done. The teacher intended to show it to parents as punishment but my class mates treated those entries as achievements.
At first I ignored the red-book-obsession. That was until I got curious.
I listened as I sat in the corner reading. But nobody ever read an excerpt from my page. I wanted to know so badly that I was willing to do anything. It came to the point where I put down my book and decided that I'd sneak into the classroom at lunchtime. I didn't have look-outs or an army of giggling friends, but I didn't need them as I had been a quiet unassuming child until this point. Nobody suspected a thing.
I imagine there was a brief moment when I considered the course my life was about to take. This was the single most illegal thing I'd ever done and I did not know how the contents of the red-book might change me.
I leafed through it to the page with my name scribbled across the top.
I was devastated I hadn't done one thing that merited writing about. How could the teacher have failed to notice how cheeky and adventurous I was. A normal child might have been pleased that they weren't in trouble, but I loved stories about bad children and it was horrifying to find out I wasn't one.
I then started looking at other people's pages and soon realised I was the single most boring person in the class.
I must have spent most of lunch looking through all the funny things my classmates had done. I had a lot of catching up to do. But then the red-book fell open on a boy in my classes page. I still remember the page perfectly.
I knew all about sex. At nine years old I'd spent hours reading my mother's secret stash of mills and boons books with little understanding of what was actually going on in them.
I knew sex was the worst thing you could do. First of all because it involved a lot of over heating and being pushed against things and secondly because my mum hid all books about it away from the family bookshelves. I was armed with proof of "sex," and I had to tell everyone. Mostly because I wanted them to know that I too was capable of being bold and hilarious, but also because at that age it's the kind of word that you can't keep to yourself.
I made the rookie gossiping mistake of telling everyone.
Before the end of lunch I'd been hauled into her room.
She wanted to know why I was spreading lies. Now I was happy to become a juvenile delinquent but I was not impressed with being called a liar.
A more practiced hooligan would have just said they made it up for the giggles. Not me. I insisted on showing her where she had written the sentence in her red book.
The screaming started and I stood startled as my teacher turned into an unreasonable monster. It soon became clear that reading the red-book was a far more heinous crime than spreading sex rumours. I watched as my teacher scribbled furiously about the incident on my page. A small part of me might have rejoiced at finally having an entry but mostly I was just miserable because that was the moment when I knew, for certain, that I'd never make it as a juvenile delinquent.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Thing I Dread MOST About Valentines Day

It's that time of year again. The time when I get phone calls and emails from all my adjusted-to-life friends to check in on me. I try not to be cynical and think they are calling because they know I am single and therefore assume I am lonely. I entertain the first few check-ins. But by the third or fourth email I feel like reassuring everyone that I haven't become some sort of sad mess buried in cats.
In fact I am still actively discouraging the advances from cat. Who sadly have seen me as something of a kindred spirit since birth. All that time spent reading alone in trees has turned me into a cat magnet.
I am actually starting to resent the assumption that I will spend Valentines night in my pyjamas, eating all my feelings and wondering if it would have been a better idea to go out and do what all well adjusted singles should apparently be doing.
Although I don't think there's anything particularly well adjusted about wandering around in tube-dresses looking for love and shaking like a sort of deformed Beyonce with no arse.
But none of this is the real reason I hate Valentines Day. Neither do I really mind my friends who have apparently reverted to five-year old versions of themselves, cooing over small teddy bears and chocolates.
These friends are irritating only because they used to construct intelligent opinions and voice them. Now they are having nights in and posting Facebook statuses about how lucky they are.
If I were a worse person I'd probably comment under these posts that flowers are possibly the least imaginative gift you could receive and were probably the result of a moment of panic in Tescos when your significant other saw all the Valentines offers and other men going a little berserk and grabbed, literally, the first thing with a heart-shaped price tag they could see.
 But this is still sadly not what I dread about Valentines. Neither are the ridiculous special offers that marketing people seem to think will seduce customers.
Neither am I particularly irritated by the ridiculous naked babies everywhere. These are quite enjoyable if you think about it.
Just imagine the poor parents that have to explain that to their children...
I will admit though that my friends do have good reason to worry about me. Sometimes I do spend a moment considering my options and that results in the following...
and a brief flash-back of the last frog that tried to take me out.
Still, after all this, I am fine. Actually Valentines barely bothers me at all, if it weren't for that one lasting horrible thing it seems to breed. It's everywhere...on signs, in cards, on letters, peoples jokes, on the radio and even facebook. There is no getting away from the curse of terrible love poetry.
So my friends are right. I probably will spend Valentines day in my pyjamas cowering from the world. But not for the reasons they think. Simply in a vain attempt to pretend that all the bad poetry isn't really happening.



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