Me, as being the oldest and deeply emotionally indulged child, will usually pick sarcastically and continually at her ourbursts until she reaches a completely reasonable conclusion after a good half an hour of back and forth. "JUST LET ME BE MAD"
I feel like this will be a theme in the close relationships I have throughout my life. I have often participated in that chicken dance of remaining calm when all I want to do is rip my own molar out. Today, a biker (NOTONTHEBIKEPATH) brushed very closely by me. I got scared and almost made myself fall down. For a moment, I was completely powerless to my indignant rage. I had to consciously restrain myself from the physical manifestation of my mother's f word. Which would have been shoving his road biking ass over.
I have had this Mexican stand off with my mother, friends, once or twice my sister, boyfriend (although I am sure he didn't notice or care as long as I wasn't physically beating him.) It is never healthy, it's sadistic, backwards, it incapacitates you, it doesn't accomplish much unless your relationship revovles around frivolity, one-upping, and vodka (I'm not knocking that, it actually sounds really fun) but still, i indulge. The emotional constipation of refusing to be angry, refusing to lose, refusing to admit you were wrong, that it doesn't matter, or yes, maybe those jeans do make you look fat.
So thus far in my third decade of life, I have learned one (amoung others, i swearz) very important thing. Although it has been said paitence is a virture, I have to stress that modesty, true honest, respectful blushing modesty is one of the most attractive attributes in the world. in the whole, wide world.
My junior year of high school I was in pre-calculas. Let it be known, my expiriences with "numbers" and "figures" have never been positive (haha). To me math is limitless headaches, chills, sweats, bruises, weakened immune systems, nausea and constipation. The academic aids virus. Herpes. Dysentary. Bad things. I always thought Isosceles was a wizard until geometry. I think people who speak math are absolutely glorious, clean people who posess a magical brain power that is both inspiring and frightening. And they can read. Aliens.
Anyway, somehow I had dragged my way through geometry and algebra 2. But pre-cal was starting to unravel my AP child fascade. I wasn't good at math, I was just motivated and terrified. Our teacher was a brilliant and eccentric man, who it was rumored, owned a yacht, Jaguar, and many degrees and accolades. Ray Chayo. It was like saying Mufassa; it had that kind of reverberation. I have to grin looking back at the nervous dread I felt just walking upstairs to his classroom.
Ray Chayo was a creative man, and his alter ego manifested itself in various extra credit assignments. However these assignments weren't simply tedious worksheets designed to put off those with poor work ethics, shoe-in college applications, or, er, lives, they were contests. My teetering, delicate, on-life-support B threatened to flat line at any moment, and holding an extra credit contest was like throwing a steak to the starving. My equally enthused, but far more talanted classmate and dear friend Peter (he graduated from Cal in 3) agreed. We were definetly going to win, nobody wanted this like us. Nobody.
There were two contests, one centered around the class and the other was an individual competition centered around the mathematical concept of logarithims. My Chayo explained that participants were to find a small, carry-able log and make it into something clever and innovative. ART. WORDS. PUNS. I was ecstatic, here was a place where I could finally shine, instead of avoiding eye contact. The right side of my brain trembled in anticipation. We can do this.
This was one of the only times in my life in which i was diabolical. I often try to be diabolical, but my harebrained revenge or conspiracy schemes usually lose their potencey after an hour or platter of bbq chicken wings. How can you be angry when there are chicken wings? Once I pounded a confession out of my boyfriend over a past escapade he had. His forced and trembling anecdote was excatly what I didn't want to hear, and I almost wept I was so turned off. But then I opened my mini fridge and furiously knawed on the left over chicken wings we brought home after an early dinner. Unsurprisingly, I felt better.
But anyway, junior year, with my mini log in hand, I was diabolical as shit. I turned the wooden cylinder over in my hands, sweating over how to make it so hilarious and adorable that Chayo would be hard pressed NOT to love and prize me.
I finally decided on "puppy log," and in an homage to my own personal canine friends, this puppeh log was going to be a poodle. Armed with felt, mini boas, socks, pillow stuffing, red ribbon (for tiny bows above the ears) and about five hours of my night when i should have been doing, ohh I don't know, PRE CALCUAUS, I transformed nature's phallic joke into the cutest fucking poodle ever. Puppy log. Bam. No One could resist.
And oh, if you think I was cocky as a fifth grader (c. previous blog) the day I brought my puppy log to school took the cake. I was brimming with artistic genius. I carried the thing in a small shopping back, as to preserve its structure. People would ask me "Hey, Sonia, what's your log," and if felt I couldn't trust them, I would say I didn't make one. I felt this was an appropriate time to use discretion, so much was at stake.
When I got to Chayo's class, I gingerly took the puppy log out of its bag, and placed it on the counter with the rest of the logs. I looked over them derrisively, a clown, a clarinet, a man log...pah! Nice try, fouth period. I went back to my seat to gaze at puppy log from a different vantage point. Unfortunately, from where I sat, puppy log kind of looked like a misshapen cotton ball. I should have heeded this omen but I dismissed it, knowing Chayo would recognize my craftmanship and delightful play on words.
I joined my friend Peter at our usual spot of freak outs and shit talking to rehash our logs. He had run out of time, forgetting that the logs were due today. To salvage his situation, he quickly constructed a black top hat out of contruction paper, glued it on top of a long skinny log, and christened it "Lincoln log." While I appreciated his quick thinking, I didn't honestly assess Peter's lincoln log as a threat to my prize, I was more concerned with the clown one which had a big red nose and colorful outfit.
The bell rang, and Chayo accumulated our attention in his quiet way. He went through all of the logs, asking each student to call out their creation's name. Then we had class. I was put off, I wanted validation and confirmation NOW. Chayo explained he would evaluate them and let us know who won later that week. Then he went to the board and began mumbling brilliantly. I was irreversibly dissapointed, and spent the rest of the period signing my name in cursive and drawing poodles.
When Chayo did eventually announce the winner, it wasn't me. Grinning softly, he held up Peter's top hatted log and murmured"Lincoln log," shaking his head with pleasure.
...This was an interesting feeling. I wasn't just dissapointed, I felt hugely humiliated. It's not as if I sat at the head of the classroom, dunce cap on puppy log's and my head with the entire class chucking crumpled up homeworks at us, the humilitaion was inside. I couldn't believe I had waltzed around school, carrying a fucking dog log in a Nordstrom shopping bag like Paris Hilton. The icing on the cake came sixth period. I was a staffer for Yearbook, and the 30 odd kids all had our sixth period to complete the gigantic book. One of the few male editors, P.j. James, found my poor puppy log, for he (the puppy stick) hath no longer a carrying case.
"Ha, look at this," decreid P.j, clad in his faded Ambercrombie jeans and zip sweatshirt. "It's a little doggy." He then lowered poor puppy log to his croch, and humped it.
I remember coming out of the computer room to see stupid P.j. raping my loser puppy log. My first thought was WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, but since he was a senior, handsome, and my dumb editor I didn't want to be the girl who overreacted. The same emotional standoff I do nowadays with my mother or sister, I had with P.j. I could feel myself getting angry and tears beginning to form behind my eyeballs, but I couldn't let go. I couldn't tell the retard to put the damn thing down, that he was a jerk, and had just commited bestiality. Black marabu feathers flew from P.j.'s crotch as his faux orgasm completed. Amid fake or hesitant laughted from my classmates and ironically enough, myself, he shucked the devirginized log onto the table. It landed with a clunk; it was after all, wood.
I still regret not standing up for puppy log that day, but the lesson came twofold. I went into the log contest like a bull fighter, I dismissed the creativity of my friend, I laughed inwardly at the efforts of my classmates, I shuttled my project around like it was some gift to humanity. I built up this nutty platform of achivement and brilliance, because, what, I thought I did good?
Well I did do good, the thing was damn adorable. But I lost any credit when the only validation I would allow is that of another person: that seductive other, the cafeteria applause, going to a cool party. Any Hilary Duff film pre 2006 will tell you alll that doesn't matter. What bumms me out is I only created something because I thought it would win, not because it was something I actually wanted to do. And I try, desperatley, to do things I want to do, reguardless of if it will get me Mr Chayo's or Hilary Duff's or anyone else's approval.
I guess that is how I think of modesty, doing things because you think they are awesome, with as much lack of a reguard as you can muster in a world of heavy influence. People will most likely tell you the things you do are stupid, or they might think you're the coolest person ever. But if, innately, you know what you do day-to-day is mostly awesome, then nobody know's nothin!... and nobody gets butt raped.
(Puppy log survived his trauma, and now resides on top of my sisters dresser in a nice little basket. She swooped him up after I told her what he'd been through. He is very content.)