Party like it’s 1985

Oh lord. Someone scanned in one of our middle-school yearbooks and it has appeared on our *gulp* 20-year reunion page. Crikey.

I just saw the faces of my classmates as I still remember them. And I saw one gal whom I will never forget.

We were in the same homeroom in sixth grade. Or maybe it was the same Language class. Either way, it was in Mr. Allison’s homeroom. I’ve written about him before in this space but I’m too lazy to look it up.

Anyway, I remember she started feeling sick. And the teacher knew something was up but didn’t know what to do. She clearly needed assistance to go to the nurse’s office downstairs, but he couldn’t leave our rowdy asses.

After furtively scanning the room, he looked straight at me. I felt doomed, mostly because I LIKED learning. I didn’t care so much for that “interpersonal interaction” shit that walking to the nurse with a fellow classmate required.

Anyway, guess who was nominated for the odyssey. Sigh. I asked for a hall pass. (I was SUCH a goody-goody!) He said to just go and he’d deal with it later. Hmmm.

Oh boy that was an adventure. She couldn’t walk in a straight line. I somehow had to half-drag, half-carry her down the long hallway, down three flights of stairs, and across the friggin’ foyer and another hallway downstairs.

You might have thought that there was the concept of CALLING SOMEONE to come up to the classroom or, I dunno, telling someone to meet us, eh? Not so much. I guess back in the ’80s we were still sending carrier pigeons with Post-It Notes.

OK, what nobody told me was the gal was prone to having seizures. This, I learned after the fact — after the writhing and incoherent babble and the vomit … so much vomit. Oy.

Did I mention that we were only 11 years old?

I got her there safely. I think classes might have changed by that point — it felt like forever.

She never made eye contact with me again. Or maybe I just politely avoided her at all costs. Honestly, I don’t think she remembered a single moment of it. Plus, she was shy. And I didn’t want to speak of it again — I was sure she would have been embarrassed that her secret was now known by a peer. A secret that I never shared with a soul, by the way.

I have no idea what happened to her in the coming years — I don’t think she graduated. Maybe she moved. Hell, maybe her health kept her from leaving the house at all.

And I wonder, why did teachers (and, later, employers) task me with the impossible? How the hell was I supposed to know how to handle a person who lies down in the middle of the floor multiple times, trying to have a seizure?

I would learn years later that you’re not supposed to move people, that there’s a certain way they should lie on the floor. I didn’t know any of this. I finally helped her to carefully fall to the ground and I ran toward the school office just to ask for an adult to come over and help her.

Anyway, I don’t know what to make of this memory. Perhaps that I was always given more responsibility than most. And in turn, perhaps, that the so called “mighty” among us have so much further to fall. I mean, I could have done something that seriously injured that girl. (I didn’t.) Perhaps there was no one else in the class Mr. Allison would have trusted. I don’t know. I guess I’ve just found that, in subsequent years, I always got the impossible assignments and worst POSSIBLE bosses. Why did everyone else have it — seemingly — so easy in comparison?

I’m certain that I’m making FAR more out of this than I need to. But it did set me up as sort of a volunteer for these kinds of things. I came to appreciate the challenges … particularly those that no one else would touch with a 10-foot pole.

I’m a little over the challenges these days. I’d like “easy” — I’ve watched enough people coast and make it through life just fine without anything extraordinary to report. But I know me — my brain will atrophy if I don’t use it, and soon.

In any event, I have no desire to go to my reunion. But on the other hand, it’s not about how I turned out — I’d like to see what happened with everyone else. And if the gal I wrote about today is there, nobody would be more pleased than I to see her … even if she’d never know it.

One Lonely Response to Party like it’s 1985

  1. Mel :

    my ten year reunion is next month and I don’t know if I should go or not. I was relatively popular and well liked but I think anyone I wanted to stay friends with I did. And anyone I just wanted to stalk I have FB for.