Friday, October 16, 2009

My favorite deviant

So Felix's teacher sent home a note. Actually it was more like a novella. He's been arguing with her and being disrespectful. Which doesn't sound like him, but when he gets an idea in his head he can be pretty fierce to defend it. The long note offered some examples of his behavior. Did I mention it was long? And as much as I'm embarrassed to know that he's being difficult, as much as I want to help the teacher and come up with strategies for him to deal with everything better. I still think he's doing better than I did as a kid.

I was way too sensitive as a kid. I could deal with adults, I felt like I understood animals, but other kids were a mystery to me. Once we were watching a slide show about the sun. I was spacing out, looking out the window. I remember it was one of the slide show movies with a loud beep to signal in the recording for the teacher to change the slide. I tuned in to pay attention just in time to hear that the sun was a star and would eventually burn out. But, because I hadn't been paying attention I thought they said it would burn out in 30 years not 30 million. (This highlights the value of paying attention kids.) I took in my little dose of misinformation and just absorbed it. I looked around at all my classmates and felt like I suddenly understood them. That it all made sense, the things they thought were funny that weren't, the way they acted so loud and wild. It was only news to me, they already knew we were all doomed and they were just determined to live it up. I went on thinking like that for months before I finally sorted it all out. See? Weird dark goth child. Maybe I was anemic, or prematurely depressed? I think having a strange viewpoint growing up sort of helps me now. I can usually come at things from some unexpected angle, because normal just eludes me. But poor Felix. I hope him and normal can become acquainted.

And while I'm rummaging through the junk left on the sidewalks of memory lane I can't leave out the big black dog. Grammar school our recess was out on the blacktop. Across from the blacktop there was this big grassy slope that looked out over the school and everyone set their coats and lunches on the hill. Now me, being anti-social and all, I sat up on the hill and watched. Sometimes I watched the games of the kids below, and sometimes I tried to see into the windows of the school and wondered what the teachers did when we were all outside. One day this big old black dog sauntered up to me on the hill. He was a little shy, like me, but eventually he sat beside me and I patted him. To me it was a thrill because secretly I was lonely and it was so nice to have some affection in the middle of the day. But as I was patting him I could feel his ribs sticking out . . .

I remember sitting in the principals office, crying, my nose running, gasping for breath in between sobs. The principal kept asking me what I had been thinking. And I really didn't get it. I know I was upset that an adult was upset with me but I truly didn't understand. My dog friend had been so hungry, and all the kids, well, they were obviously well fed.

I know some version of the big black dog will eventually find Felix. Maybe he can do better than I did and just feed the dog his own lunch and not every one's.

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