This blog post was originally published in February 2011, on my old blog. And the photo is of me and my sister in January 2011. The setting of the photo is unrelated to the blog post but I just wanted a visual tie to the time period.
Some things never change.
Twenty years ago I wanted to chase my playmates around the playground and punch them when they were annoying, or stupid, which amounted to the same thing.
Today I feel the same. The only difference is that then I used to act on my desires and these days I’m much more polite. But oh my goodness, this afternoon I wanted so badly to be two years old again and punch annoying people.
One person in particular. A boy in my Latin tutorial, let’s call him Liam. He could be a Liam.
First, to contextualise, I should point out that I slept really badly last night so was grumpy to begin with, and stressed out about impending Latin exam, AND trying to absorb new information and knowledge that I’ll need for said exam. So life would have been tolerable at best, had everything gone well.
However, things went far from well and my experience of the afternoon slipped from barely tolerable to teeth-grindingly, violent-fantasisingly intolerable.
This is what happened:
Liam sat next to me in the tute.
That little sentence on its own sounds quite innocent, but this very act was enough to plant the seed of resentment in me. And this is why:
Liam has never sat next to me before. This is our sixth week of class, the same classroom, the same people, Monday to Friday. Everyone sits in the same seats every class, pretty much. This brings me great comfort. Liam’s usual spot is on the other side of the class.
Another thing that brings me great comfort is that when everyone is in their usual spot, there is an empty spot on either side of me. When we break into groups I can scooch over to work with my classmates but for the most part I have lots of personal space and room to spread my books.
Why oh why Liam, why would you tamper with the natural order of things??
So as if sitting next to me wasn’t bad enough, Liam then broke into a little Bon Jovi for a Thursday afternoon. His volume is somewhere in between under the breath singing and full-blown, stand up and regale the class with your angelic voice style singing.
The worst part is that I actually like this song. It reminds me of hiking with my friends when I was 16, belting out “woah we’re halfway there” at the top of our lungs even though we weren’t.
Now that memory has been displaced and I shall forever be reminded through Bon Jovi of a pale hipster with a flagrant disregard for routine and classroom etiquette that is bordering on sociopathic.
I didn’t take Liam’s mental torture (intentional or otherwise) lying down, though. I fought back. I shot him angry sideways glances. Less aggresively, I played Cake’s “sheep go to heaven” loudly in my head, and eventually Bon Jovi did subside. It was an ongoing battle, though, and one not easily won.
By the time it was 1:20, ten minutes away from the end of class, I knew I couldn’t stand another second. So I got up and went to the bathroom. That got rid of a few minutes and gave me a miniscule amount of headspace, which was enough to get me through to the end of the tutorial. My tute friend, who I shall call Daniel, had also had enough and he packed up his books at 1:29, leading a revolution that the tutor bowed under, she didn’t stop us rudely walking out of the class before we were dismissed. She just made some announcement which I didn’t catch and didn’t bother to ask her to repeat. I just hotfooted it out of there and home as soon as possible.
Oh blissful solitude. Oh the safety of being in my bedroom, by myself, lying under the fan in my singlet and undies listening to the music I want to and oblivious to all others.