yearbookSummer often brings with it the chance to reconnect with old longstanding friends, and in August I was fortunate to make a few such connections. As often happens, these visits inspired me to haul out my high school yearbooks. Once you get past the fact that I am incorrectly identified as “Ann” in my grade eleven yearbook, and that the same yearbook charmingly immortalizes the humiliating moment when my math teacher used his map to scrape pigeon poop off my raincoat on a London street, the yearbooks are quite an interesting anthropological study.

Here are a few of my observations:

  1. Bad hair days weeks months. Did we honestly not KNOW how bad our hair looked in the late seventies? Or did we just not care?
  2. Political correctness– clearly not an issue! A student council fundraiser in the form of a “Public Slave Auction,” the  auctioneer a teacher looking like a Christmas Pageant Wise Man gone rogue in a campy “arab” costume.
  3. And while we’re on the topic of questionable activities. A mock beauty pageant with a bevy of adolescent males parading across a stage in their Speedos. Hmm.
  4. How did we not trip on our pants? I estimate that you could produce two pairs of 2014 skinny jeans out of a single leg of those wide-legged numbers I wore back in the day.
  5. Angsty poety. Doom. Despair. Death. Deeply symbolic trees. Don’t laugh– you wrote it too.
  6. Fuzzy black and white photos. Given how atrocious our hair looked, perhaps a blessing in disguise.
  7. Lame photo captions. Did we actually believe those quotes would stand the test of time?

yearbook2And yet, what I mostly see when I page through these books are the people. Some with whom I’ve long since lost touch. Some with whom, thanks to the magic of social media, I have been able to reconnect. (Some of whom are likely even reading this blog.) I see people who were once a part of my daily life, but whose journeys have taken them to the four corners of the earth, and on to all manner of different adventures that none of us could have imagined back when we were imagining who each of us was “most likely to become…”

Plan B

The Daily Prompt wants me to “Tell us your funniest relationship disaster story.”  Hah!

Technically, it wasn’t even a relationship, except perhaps in his imagination. But it was disastrously funny.

I was 15, in grade ten. He was an “older man,” in grade twelve. We met at a rehearsal of the school musical theatre production of Pajama Game.

He had a girlfriend, who was, conveniently (or inconveniently, depending on your vantage point), not in the musical.  Mostly we chatted while we were waiting for our turn to rehearse. No. Mostly he chatted and I tolerated his company.

And then the night of my first high school dance rolled around. I was excited about the dance. Excited to be going on my own to meet up with my friends.  Almost ready to leave, in fact, so that when the doorbell rang there was no mistaking the fact that I was dressed to go to the dance. No pretending otherwise.

And there he was, on my doorstep. Also clearly dressed for the evening’s festivities. And, I couldn’t help noting, minus one girlfriend.

“Hi there. I just happened to be passing by and I thought I would stop in to see if you wanted a ride to the dance.”

Now based on the simple geography of where his home, my home and the school were respectively located, there was no possible way that he “just happened to be passing by.” Those words have thus been logged forever in my family lore as the lamest of all pick-up lines.

I didn’t really want to go to the dance with him, but refusing the offer didn’t seem to be an option.  I asked, awkwardly, “Where is your girlfriend?”

“Oh, she was in a bit of a car accident….”

“A car accident!?”

“Just a minor one. She didn’t even need to stay at the hospital. She’s resting at home.”

“…and…you’re going to the dance?”

“Yeah. She’s fine. Shall we go?”

And so, dumbfounded, I went. And spent a totally surreal evening not hanging out with my friends.

When the time came for him to drop me off, he insisted that he was hungry (having missed supper to check on his injured girlfriend before heading off to the dance with me) and he simply had to come in and order a pizza. My parents were out, and my grandmother was babysitting my younger sisters. The plan was that when I got home she would hand off the babysitting duties to me and head home. Which, to my horror, she did.

And there I was, stuck with loverboy, waiting for the damn pizza to arrive. Injured girlfriend notwithstanding, it soon became clear that his idea for how we should put in the waiting time differed greatly from mine. I kept trying to come up with reasons why he really ought to be leaving, but he was impervious to all hints.

And so I was forced to resort to my secret weapon: my three-year-old sister.

“Oh Oh,” I said, hand cupped dramatically to one ear, “I think  she’s awake.”

“I don’t hear anything.”

“Oh yes, I’m sure she’s calling. I’d better go check on her.” At which point I marched into her room, shook the poor kid awake, and dragged her out to the living room. “See. She’s wide awake. There’s no way she’ll go to sleep until you’re gone.”

And then, because he was still too thick to take the hint, I propped my semi-comatose kid sister up on the couch between us and repeatedly elbowed her into remaining conscious until he finally wolfed down his pizza and accepted that he was not going to get lucky with Plan B.