Thursday, March 22, 2007

Flat Faced Four Eyed Freak

Mirrored on my xanga with pictures

"Your face is so flat," she'd whisper under her breath, when the teacher wasn't looking.

The leader of a gang of pretty, privileged girls with perfectly coifed hair, plastered on Guess jeans, and the latest Swatch watch.

"And she's practically blind. Look how thick her glasses are," the other would twitter, just loud enough for me to hear.

My pale skin betraying me with a brilliant shade of red, to match my hair. Mortified, I'd count the minutes until the school day was over and I could return to my safe little nest.

"Just ignore them," my mom counseled me. "They're just jealous."

Of what, I couldn't see. Out of place in my own skin, I began second guessing every choice for it's coolness factor. My previously high self esteem spiraling into nothing.

I permed my hair, everyone was doing it. It fried and the chopped up result resembled Billy Ray Cyrus' poodle.

"Love the hair," she yelled out the next day. I considered buying a wig.

I bought the Guess jeans, the Coca Cola shirts, the Swatch watch, and the Converse tennis shoes. And felt like an imposter.

"Isn't that cute. She's trying to look like us."

I didn't want to...really. I wanted to blend in, just enough, so they wouldn't notice.

My friends didn't get it.

"They only think they're cute. They look stupid. I like your leopard and fluorescent dress and Madonna bracelets. Do you think your mom would perm my hair?"

I tried a color rinse, so it wouldn't stand out, only to turn it slightly purple.

"Copper Top," they'd squeal.

The bangs, in 7th grade, the last ditch effort. They stood six inches high and were plastered with enough hair spray to catch fire within a half mile from a flame.

Soon enough, my whole brigade had them too and the other crowd had grown their's out.

So, I gave up. Resigned myself to being queen of the band nerds, which suited me fine.

Twenty years later, they've probably forgotten me and their careless words. I've mostly forgotten them. Except for those rare occasions someone is standing next to me and I find my hand snaking up, to hide my profile or the thickness of my glasses. And I remember.

And I hope they got fat.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Best Animal in the Zoo

Mirrored from my xanga site, here. It has pictures which I would put here if I could figure out how to do that, or change the banner, design, etc... I suck

“Do we have to go Mama? The zoo's boring,” my daughter whined when I informed her of our plans for the day.

“It'll be fun,” I told her remembering a trip to the zoo with my mom and friends, Madonna and Michael Jackson serenading the animals with the boom box we carried.

They went grudgingly, entirely too cool for our bunch. Until they discovered the best animal at the zoo, pre-teen boys.

"That boy back there liked us Mama! His Mama was saying that was a red fox and he went on and on about how it was half panda or something, trying to impress us. And he looked right at me."

"I think he was looking at me," her friend replied. "And he keeps flinging his hair. JUST LIKE JESSE."

"He's sooooooooooo cute," they squealed.

"I'm sure he thought all of you were cute," I told them, hoping they'd hush, for just a moment.

I searched with my eyes around the scores of strollers clogging the walkway for little boys. I'd taken to counting them out 1 through 9 at least 60 times an hour after finding the 13 year old, brother of squealing girl three, chasing the peacock that roams free throughout the zoo and trying to climb in the elephant's enclosure.

"Stay by me. No running ahead. Find your buddy," I hollered until my voice was hoarse.

"Where'd he go?" The girls asked, having lost track of their prey while relating his every perfectly divine quality to me.

And like animals stampeding, they followed.

"Boys don't like to be chased," I called after them, thinking about my own pre-teen boy and his pre-teen friends. They are more horrified by girl's stares than anything else.

But considering, that in the 7th grade, my 12 year old stalker in the making self, forced my mother to drive by Bryan Mitchell's house at least once a day and cried copious tears and listened to Aerosmith's Angel 750 times when he didn't even speak to me at the Valentine's Dance, I didn't have much room to talk.

So I let them lead the way. At the next exhibit, they jostled one another around, vying for the coveted spot next to him in front of the boa constrictor. By the fifth exhibit, he'd blocked himself between his parents, ignoring them with a look of abject horror in his eyes.

“I think he might be cuter than Chase,” one of the girl's said. Chase being the A list boy, at their school, since THIRD grade. “And maybe even Jesse.” Jesse McCartney, who is the CUTEST famous person EVER, at least according to them.

“No one's cuter than Chase or Jesse,” Georgie mulled. “He can be number three. We need to make up a name for him.”

“How about Jeff,” one of the girls suggested.

“My first boyfriend was named Jeff,” I informed them, trying to hear over the boys bird calls.

“Make that Josh,” my daughter replied.

Two hours later, squeezed together in the zoo's train seat, I snapped a picture for them to fawn over. Hustling everyone to the car as soon as it was over.

They positioned themselves at the windows, rolling them down and hanging out as far as I would allow, the perfect music blasting from the radio.

“Bye cute tall boy with the blond hair,” one of them screeched as they all waved, flinging themselves back inside in a fit of giggles.

“His hair was brown dummy,” a voice chided. And I smiled.

“Mama, that was the best zoo trip EVER.”