Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Seven Days in 1984

I’m stuck. The yawning caverns of my mind are utterly devoid of cute anecdotes, angry rants, and random theories. I have little choice other than to inflict upon you another post culled from my juvenile diaries. Picture if you will a green duotang containing several closely-written sheets of three-ring paper from a time when I was
(a) thirteen years old,
(b) obsessed with marks and popularity (two more-or-less irreconcilable goals), and
(c) unduly influenced by the stylings of Ellen Conford after reading her novel, Seven Days to a Brand-New Me.

DAY ONE: Take stock.

Today in school I interacted with:
(Jennifer J.)
*Jennifer S.

*people I talked to without mentioning MARKS
(people I talked to and mentioned something OTHER than marks)
!!!people I talked to ONLY about MARKS!!!

Day One was actually a pretty neat day. I enjoyed it. We got our English tests back (MARKS) and I got 85%. Marks are interesting though. Kristine got 87%, Laura got 84%, and Jennifer wasn’t telling which is a good sign.

DAY TWO: Picture the NEW ME. What did I learn from Day One?

Well, I learned that I want to be able to strike up interesting conversations about things other than MARKS by myself, instead of waiting for other people to seek me out. Kristine came up and spoke to me twice. Both times she had something to say. Now if she would do that, I can safely deduct that she doesn’t hate the sight of me. She’s a perfect candidate for someone to suddenly be FRIENDLY to. Besides that, she’s popular.

There’s one SMALL catch. I have nothing to SAY, except of course to talk about MARKS, the only subject I’m really COMFORTABLE with. That’s out of the question. I’ve already learned the hard way that she and Jen J. hate people hounding them for MARKS. They already both think I’m MARKS-CRAZY.

Best conversation from Day Two: Before choir, a bunch of people went to our room to get our music books. Just as we were leaving a stream of grade sevens went past. Bobby sat down on the teacher’s desk and chanted, "Don’t just sit there, get up and move!" a line from "Rock You." He saw me looking at him and said, "know what song that’s from, Bubandpie?" in a sort of way that he wasn’t really asking, he didn’t really care.

Of course I knew, but it was easier to say, "No."

"Do you know what the latest song from Twisted Sister is?" he asked.

"No." I knew that too.

"Do you know what the second-latest song from Twisted Sister is?"

"No." I knew THAT too.

"Do you know who Twisted Sister is?"

"No." EVERYONE knows who Twisted Sister is. I said this to Laura, and Bobby overheard and said:

"Then why don’t you?"

I looked at Laura in exasperation.

"She’s joking," Laura said in a voice implying ‘you dummy.’

"Bubandpie joking!" he exclaimed in mock astonishment, "Bubandpie never jokes, serious, brainy Bubandpie!" Paul, who had been listening to this interchange put in, "Bubandpie with a sense of humour is like a, like a…"

"Like a fish without water," I finished.


Okay, so maybe Day Three wasn’t an A+ day, a rip-roaring success. So maybe I didn’t talk to a Grade Seven, Danny, Helen, Peter, or Scott. I still had quite a few neat little interchanges with lots of interesting people. And, strangely, I ENJOYED today more than yesterday.

One conclusion can be drawn from this. I like being the OLD ME, plus a little CONFIDENCE, FUN, and FLAMBOYANCE, better than being the NEW ME with only a small touch of the OLD ME left behind.

Another conclusion I discovered today is totally unrelated to the effects of my SEVEN DAY PLAN. We were standing in line at the end of morning recess and suddenly Danny bumped into me and almost knocked me down. (I think Dale pushed him.) Anyway, after that I watched him for a little while and suddenly I knew I DID NOT LIKE DANNY! Even now I still don’t. I like him as a PERSON, but not as a BOY!!!

Home sick. At school others get Math tests back.
Jennifer J. – 81/88
Rhonda – 74/88
Laura – 76/88
Carolyn – 83/88 (she’s no threat anyway, though)

Even I can see that I’m having an old me day. That’s okay, though, it’s probably because I’m a little tired after being sick. In guidance we got our SGIS things back, those career description things. Mine was literary writer, which is EXACKITACKILY what I want. Bobby and I had a long conversation about what I would do if all my books were flops. I got 84/88 on my Math test (highest mark in the class) and 54/55 on my History exam. Laura got 55/55, but I beat her overall in History anyway.

I finally decided that I would go to the school dance. I wore my jeans, my white blouse, and Mom’s red argyle vest. The music was really loud, so you could barely hear when someone talked to you, unless they yelled. At about ten to eight, on the third or fourth slow dance, Bobby came and tapped me on the shoulder.

"Bubandpie, want to dance?" he asked. I was SOOOO SURPRISED!!! The song was almost over so our dance was short (was there a reason for that???), but it was long enough for me to figure out that he was a terrific dancer, at least in comparison to Danny. Danny asked me to dance later on in the evening, but although I’m flattered, I really don’t care. Danny is a TERRIBLE dancer. He keeps turning. It’s kind of funny, that no one has ever asked me to dance before, and suddenly TWO people do in one evening. Laura says it’s because of the SEVEN DAY PLAN.

I’ve thought of tons of reasons why Bobby asked me to dance.

1) He’s on students’ council so at a students’ council dance he has to socialize and dance with the people who are otherwise wallflowers.
2) He wants to dance with all the girls in the class, so he’s going alphabetically.
3) Someone dared him to.
4) He knew I’d be sure to jump at him.
5) He felt like dancing, so on the spur of the moment he asked me because I was the first person he happened to see.
6) He likes me just a little bit.

The only thing I know for sure is that I’m madly in love with him.


Upon mature reflection, I think the answer was probably (1) and (6). This particular diary and takes up ten sheets of three-ring paper (eleven if you include the addendum, a set of pithy descriptions of all the kids in my class). I’ve edited it down, but I made sure to include all my marks – because, you know, those are the really important things to preserve for posterity.


Mommy-Like Days said...

I *love* this stuff. Comments: Are you now captializing all those words, or was it like that in the original? It has a sort of "Curious Incident of the Dog. . ." feel to it, so funny.
I always brace myself for the parts when I know I make an appearance, but good to know, in this case, I seem to be more droll than dork.
It's hard to look back through the lens of time and figure out people isn't it? We have a broader perspective,and perhaps greater distortion. But I agree, 6) is the answer.

bubandpie said...

The capitals are in the original. Pure Ellen Conford.

MOM-NOS said...

I love this, too. I think you should transcribe your teenage diaries and send them to a publisher. They are priceless, and the more I read them, the more I want to read them.

And wouldn't 13-year-old Bubandpie be tickled to know that one of the books you published as a literary writer was something that she herself had written?

nowheymama said...

Wow. I don't think I would have the nerve to show anyone the diary from my thirteenth year. (Or 14th or 15th...) This is great.

And thanks again for stopping by my blog awhile back!

slouching mom said...

Hah! All the sharing of grades at thirteen, I remember it well. "What'd you get?," asked ever so casually, but still obvious to everyone that the questioner was dying, just dying to know the answer.

God, am I glad those days are over.

NotSoSage said...


Just wow.

I want to read more! I love the six possible reasons why Bobby asked you to dance, the "because he likes me" reason being #6. Amazing.

Alpha DogMa said...

"I like him as a PERSON, but not as a BOY!!!" is the best line EVER.

My diaries were mostly variations on the theme, "Why don't boys like me? Why? WHY? What is wrong with me?"

Gwen said...

There's something almost painful about your diaries, because they are so nakedly real. They have so little of the adult artifice and distance and cynicism that we use to protect ourselves. No, let me restate: that I use to protect myself. This is exactly why I can't go back and re-read my old stuff: it's too raw.

I prefer your own CONFIDENT! FLAMBOYANT! and FUN! version.

Kyla said...

Oh, B&P, I cannot tell you how much I love these posts. So real and fun. Quite the flashback. :)

cinnamon gurl said...

I think it's ALL number 6. That's why most of the song was over. It took him the whole song to get up the courage.


I LOVE that... I'm SO stealing it sometime.

AND... why is Carolyn not a threat when she only scored one point lower (second highest mark) than you on the math test?

cinnamon gurl said...

ps I love this! Dying to read more... I second the suggestion for publication.

bubandpie said...

Cin - It's all about the academic achievement plaque (it was the plaque I was interested in, not the actual honour). Carolyn did well on that test, but her cumulative marks didn't make her a serious rival in my (biased) view. Carolyn and I actually became good friends for a few years in high school despite my appalling arrogance.

Pieces said...

Oh this is perfect! I was engrossed by every word. I fully understand the competition over grades--all through high school I was competing with another girl although we never actually voiced it. She was more popular but I got better grades. Barely.

MOM-NOS said...

Yes, yes, Bubandpie - good friends, blah, blah, blah. But who got the the PLAQUE???

Momish said...

This is great and I can just imagine you as that teenage girl obsessed with MARKS!

I bow down to your bravery!

Catherine said...

What a trip down memory lane! You remind me very much of myself at thirteen...not an INFJ, by chance?

bubandpie said...

Mom-NOS - As it turned out, it was more of a trophy. :) It's still in a drawer at my parents' house.

Catherine - INFJ? You'd better believe it.

Mad Hatter said...

Mmmm. Methinks I should pack my sitemeter stats.


kgirl said...

Ohmygod, you were a bigger browner than even I was! Glad to know that your smarts extended to '80s top 40 as well. Did you watch Video Hits after school?

Mimi said...

I don't see how you could add any more FLAMBOYANCE to your personality :-)

So looks like those grade seven career-computer programs ARE destiny, huh?

Literary writer. Couldn't'a said it better myself.

Your diaries are awesome because your optimism seems boundless. I'm with AD: mine are all angst.

flutter said...

I have never felt closer to you than I do in this moment. This one right here. Simpatico, or something.

Jill said...

What a funny girl you were, B&P. I love the fact that you were so competitive about marks, but seemed to acknowledge that it wasn't necessarily a virtue. I wonder what became of "no threat" Carolyn.

When I was thirteen I probably spent my time journaling about pinstripe jeans and tretorn sneakers.

bubandpie said...

Kgirl - Samantha Taylor was my homegirl.

Mimi - The angst came a year or two later. (Maybe more on that next time I've got blogger's block.)

c4cara said...

"I like him as a PERSON, but not as a BOY!!!" I'm with Alpha-Dogma - great line, and fabulous sentiment for a 13 year old.
What was I thinking at 13? I was the angst girl 'No-one really understands the depths of me' sort of thing. Equally arrogant. Isn't arrogant 'de-riguer' for early puberty? Like all adults are suddenly SO stupid, and ... well 13 year olds should run the world.. (Now there's a nightmare scenario for you).
Thankyou for giving me something to smile so hugely at, at the end of this LONG day. You are amazing - even when you were 13...

Andrea said...

Oh, this was funny. I LOVED the CAPITALIZATIONS. They really ground the whole piece in that lovely stage of PRETEEN ENTHUSIASM. All the NEW MES we were so sure we could be.

Jenifer said...

This was so fun! Like AD and Mimi mine are all woe is me despair. I got the Academic Achievement Award in my school in Grade 8, it really was a lot of social interaction based on marks.

My Mom bought me a similar kind of book and for the life of me I cannot remember the name of it. The cover was yellow and a photo of girl with Breck commercial hair. Maybe it was the same book? My book also had beauty and clothes tips though so maybe not. It was so wrinkled from me reading and dropping it in the bath so many times.

nomotherearth said...

"Like a fish without water." Ha! I love the irony in that line. I'm assuming the boy had no idea that you made a joke there? Boys can be so dense.

bubandpie said...

Nomo - The layers of irony, really. I'm pretty sure I hadn't heard the "fish without a bicycle" line at that age, so I WASN'T offering some kind of ironic inversion of that. And in my eighth-grade attempts at conversation, I bear an uncomfortable resemblance to a fish without water, flopping around and gasping for oxygen.

TrudyJ said...


I'm jealous though. You went to a school where OTHER people got good grades and there was some competition. When I was in Grade 8 it was more like, "What did you get, Trudy?" and then everyone would beat me up.

I have to do this on my blog though ... I can't resist.

Lawyer Mama said...

I love reading your diaries. I would have loved to have known the 13 year old you when I was 13.

Amy said...

I think that these would make excellent reading for impressionable young ladies :-)

You HAVE to get them published!


Catherine said...

Ah, we've got to stick together, we INFJs....its a cold, cruel world...

Jaelithe said...

"The only thing I know for sure is I'm madly in love with him."

That would be the whole sad story of my adolescent life, in a nutshell . . .