My first day of kindergarten was the first time I would take a bus anywhere. The yellow bus picked me up right in front of my house. My mom reluctantly handed me off to the bus driver and away I went to school. The trip to school was fine. It was getting back home that was the problem. I didn’t know what to do. The bus driver drove and drove and drove as each child was delivered home. I ended up being the last person on the bus. I sat there, all alone and afraid. The bus driver asked me where I lived and I don’t remember what I told him. I remember being very afraid. I am sure I cried. Eventually we made our way back to my home where my mom was waiting for me. I am still not sure why this happened. I think I was too shy to tell the bus driver to stop.
I remember the snack that first day. I remember being give Cheez-its for the first time for my snack and describing them to my sister later on after I came home. I thought they were the most delicious and wonderful food I have ever eaten. I was fascinated by thier size and the tiniest hole in the middle of them.
I used to drive a Ford Pinto. In fact, it used to be Doug’s car. He actually gave me his old car when I learned how to drive. I think about that and it makes me cry. He taught me how to drive! He was the only person in the world who had the patience to teach a 15 year old girl how to drive. What a guy.
Anyway, my pinto. It was orange. Bright orange with racing stripes. Yellow racing stripes. I bought two funny bumper stickers for it. One of them said, “0 to 60 in 15 minutes.” The other one said, “Warning, this car explodes on impact.” Yes, even as a teen I had a sick sense of humor. But then again, someone actually made the bumper sticker so I guess I am not the only one. I loved it when people pulled up behind me. I would sneak a look in my rear-view mirror and smile at the reaction. They would usually be laughing.
I don’t have any photos scanned of my old car so, instead, here is a photo of me on my 7th or 8th birthday.
When I was in 4th – 6th grade I was in a rotary track club. (am in the one in the yellow shoes, hunched over). It turns out, I was a very speedy sprinter. I was never good at distances, and still am not. But I totally kicked ass as a sprinter. I loved the feeling that would come over me during these races. I can still feel that amazing feeling. the anticipation of the gun. The sound of it. And then something would take over my body. My legs would take over completely. I always, always won. It was the best feeling in the world.
One of the interesting things about it was that I am not a competitive person. I don’t send out that vibe at all (at least I don’t try to). At the beginning of the race the other girls would size me up. I could feel their eyes on me. They would look at me and eliminate me as competition. And I would sit there, quietly smiling, knowing what they were about to experience.
I was reminded of this experience this past Monday at my darkroom class. At the end of the class the teacher wanted to look at our negatives so we could see what an underdeveloped and overdeveloped negative looked like. She looked at mine and used it as an example of well-developed negative (in other words, good darks and lights and middle tones. The full range of black and white tones). There is a professional photographer taking the class too, and her negatives were shown as an example of negatives that were a bit overexposed. It was actually very interesting to see the difference. However, the professional got a little bit bent out of shape because her negatives were not “perfect”. A part of me felt kind of smug inside. OK, honestly, a pretty big part of me felt smug. It brought back that old feeling I got before a race. Is that wrong? I sort of feel like it is a little bit. Maybe I am more competitive than I thought.
I am the most right-brained person you will ever meet. I think in metaphors and pictures. I feel. I perceive. I don’t think. This is how I navigate the world around me. This is how it has always been and how it will always be forevermore.
Imagine a person like me in math. It was a complete joke. I failed miserably in every math class I took in high-school. I didn’t get it and just gave up.
I went to college a few years later, after my years of being a nanny, and guess what? I had to go face to face with that old demon again. But this time around I was ready for the challenge. I worked very hard, spent all day sometimes on my homework, but I applied myself. It could be very frustrating at times but I kept at it until I got it right. I actually began to like algebra. It was refreshing, actually, to know that there was only one right answer to a problem. And if you followed the logical steps you would get the answer. What a concept! Miracle of miracles, I ended up with the highest grade in my algebra class! The same thing happened in my statistics class.
Please don’t ask me a math question though. All of that knowledge somehow found its way out of my brain cells. BUT it was good to learn that lesson: if you apply yourself you will learn it. You just will. It’s a law of the universe.