Shellshock

New Order – Shellshock

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks, big projects at work that kept me late, family visiting at the end of the summer, and finally, the start of the school year.

Sometime in there I was also added to the Facebook group for the 30th reunion for the high school class that I attended up through 10th grade. Even though we moved away for my last two years of high school, I had spent all of my earlier school years with those same kids and had a number of friends that I’d reconnected with on Facebook. People started posting old pictures from high school to the group. I even spotted myself in the class picture they posted as the cover photo for the group. It’s funny because I never would have remembered the event but then when I saw the picture, it came back to me.

With all of these images from 30 years ago fresh in my mind, my daughter started high school. I was definitely more nervous about it all than she was. I tried to hide that but I’m not really sure how successful I was. She has had a good start and seems to have adjusted pretty well. I, on the other hand…

First of all, the school bus goes past our house at a completely ridiculous hour so for years I had told my daughter I would drive her so she didn’t have to wake up before 6 a.m. Instead we both wake up by 6:15 and then sleepily shuffle through the bare minimum to get ourselves out the door by 7. As we sit in the drop off line, I watch all the teenagers pile out of cars and into the school. Even in my pre-coffee state I can see history repeating itself.

Last night was the Open House. There was precious little information about what that entailed but I knew we were supposed to get our child’s schedule and then follow through their classes for brief introductions from the teachers. Where to go inside the building, how long it would last, where all the classrooms are, were all things they just expected you to know. There weren’t any special signs just for the night to help out the freshman parents. The announcements on the PA were barely audible, the building has a confusing layout so the main entrance on ground level is actually considered the second floor. Not that it says that anywhere.

I wandered through the hallways alone, feeling very small and totally lost. I saw some people I knew but nearly all of them were breezing through the place like old pros and they seemed not to recognize me from elementary school events three years ago. I’m sure it’s partly a question of logistics that they have us all follow our kids’ schedules but I also think they are trying to give you an idea of what your kid’s day actually looks like. French class in this hall then race over to that wing for math, all the way to the far corner for gym class (led by Mr. Clean’s twin brother), up to the third floor for history.

It was just as awful as I remembered high school being 30 years ago. The walls of lockers, the tight staircases, the buzzing bell telling you to change classes, the smell of an old, sweaty gym, the cliques (yes, even as parents) you aren’t part of clustering in the hallways; all of it unchanged. I was walking around growing increasingly haunted by flashbacks. This was not helped by the presence of cheerleaders in high ponytails with heaps of baby blue sparkly eye shadow. I really don’t think it was the school’s intention to make my palm’s sweat but I’ll give them extra credit for recreating that authentic experience for me.

I can’t remember what I dreamed about last night but I woke up this morning with this song stuck in my head. When I went to find the video this morning, I realized there was a shorter edit of this song in the John Hughes movie, Pretty in Pink. The subconscious works in mysterious ways.

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3 comments

  1. I really loved this post! Just now had time to come in and comment. I can so relate — I have a 9th-grade daughter this year, too, which is especially crazy as I’m writing a coming-of-age memoir (frantically trying to finish before she catches up with my character). And “Shellshock” — oh, that brings back memories of my first real music friend in 10th grade, who introduced me to New Order.

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  2. Love that song. I remember first listening to it on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack again and again and again. What a time, high school. What a surreal flashback that must be to go through that whole freshman thing again as a parent. Yikes. Once is enough!

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