Tonight I got caught in one of those infamous DC summer rainstorms. You know, the kind where the streets are flooded, the storm drains can’t keep up with the deluge, the windshield wipers struggle to keep water off your windshield, and the normally manic DC drivers poke along at 25mph becaues they’re afraid of the rain. Forget about umbrellas — DC rain hits you from all directions and bounces off the pavement so hard that it wets your face. I was lucky (?) enough to get caught in it because I stayed at work too long, then had to go to Target for greeting cards. I realized too late that I had to fill the gas tank on our full-sized van — those roofs over the gas pumps do little more than support the floodlights. I looked like a drowned rat when I got home! :o) I found out tonight that apparently my area was under a tornado warning, which means that there was a tornado somewhere around here!
Yesterday I got to thinking about my crushes from middle school… When I was in fifth grade, there was a boy in my class named Mike L — blonde hair, ice blue eyes, athletic, smart, funny… and the most popular kid in both fifth grade classes. What I liked most about Mike was he didn’t treat me any differently than he treated most people, even though I was considered a nerd and somewhat of an outcast. He talked to me, he’d joke with me, that kind of thing. I kind of ruined it, however, during the rehearsal period for our fifth grade pageant, “Rock N’ Roll Santa” or something like that. The premise of the pageant was Santa thought he was too old-fashioned, so he tries to be all “hip,” 50s-style, and then realizes that the children love him regardless. I got the part of the 50s Mrs. Claus, which involved running off stage sobbing, and having all the elves sing a song to me called “You’ve Got the Blahs, Mrs. Claus.” I’m not joking, that’s what it was called! Anyhow, during a rehearsal, Mike kept singing the song directly to me (because it was actually directed at the character I was playing), and I FINALLY got up the courage to ask him if he liked me in a note that I passed to him one day. Later he patiently and sweetly explained that he liked me as a friend, but no more than that. I wasn’t precisely devastated, but my heart was a little sore. I guess I was hoping that if Mike approved of me, maybe the stuck-up girls like Chrissy and Leah and Krissy would like me also…. But I really appreciate how sweet Mike was about the whole thing.
That whole incident took place when we lived in Illinois… and it was there that my self-esteem took a nose dive. When I was about two years old, I fell off a swing onto my face, splitting my bottom lip wide open. I’ve since grown into my “full” lips, but I was teased mercilessly when I was little, starting with one boy’s calling me “Lizard Lips.” Of course, the retort that my sister taught me, “Lizards don’t have lips!” only resulted in “Your lips are as large as lizards!” Well, when I got to Illinois it only got worse. I had personality conflicts with most of the school, and my belligerence only added to the problem. The one event that wounded me the most during that time period occurred during art class in the seventh grade. (Note of explanation: the school I went to in Illinois was K-8, with only 400 students. So I was with the same group of people in 7th grade as I was in 5th.) Anyhow, Miss E. had us model for the rest of the class, and our task was to draw likenesses of each model without raising our pencil from the paper. I had the misfortune to become a model, and Todd D. drew the most awful likeness of me… with lips drawn WAY out past either side of my cheeks. The whole class cracked up, and I sat down with my face burning. I held back tears just barely…….. The worst part was my best friends, the few others who were outcasts also, found it hilarious as well. And now, as an adult and having read up on middle-school boys, I realize that he most likely had nothing against me personally, that he was just going for the joke that would crack up the entire class. Boys are just like that… they like attention. And that’s all Todd meant. But at the time, my pride, my self-esteem, had developed a major chasm that would take years to mend…
And just for y’all’s edification, I heard today on the radio that Britney Spears will be posing for the spring break edition of Playboy next year. So walk don’t run to your nearest newstand so you can debate whether they’re real or silicone… ;o)