Somehow, Today Was a Bad Day

February 22nd, 2011 by ben Leave a reply »

It just was, despite the fact that most of the things that happened today were good. On another note, today I was marvelously thoughtful. Meaning, I thought about a lot of random, irrelevant things today during school. Of course, as do the contents of a dream, the contents of those self-conversations escape me. But it was simply entertaining to hear myself think such interesting thinks (as Dr. Seuss would say). I think I thinked an especially brilliant think during Orchestra today, but I can’t remember it for the love of God.

I had an unproductive weekend. It was unproductive compared to, say, the weekend before, when I read 10 chapters of E&M in two days, basically a semester of material. And then (not implying that this was a direct consequence) I caught the bug, and was laid up in bed (read: watching anime) for three days. That was a pretty horrible experience.

***

Oh, I also have to relate something that kind of perturbed me on Thursday. The day before was Bay Math League, and I have nothing fun to say about that particular event. I was sick that day, and came after school specifically for the contest. Dealing with Hank was particularly strenuous. But again, during fourth period (that’s Jenglish) I got a interesting yellow call slip (I seem to be getting those very, very often these days). “Come to the assistant principal’s office,” innocuously beckoned the note. “Come now!”

So there I was, face to face with Mr. Finn in his office. It was a really nice office, being in the new administration building and all. And getting there was a simple trip down the stairs from the top floor. Of course, I was bundled in about five layers of insulation, being that I was still affected by the cold (every now and then pausing to sneeze or perform the unseemly chore of squeezing some mucus out of my nose), and my face probably wasn’t quite as handsome as I would quite like to imagine.

“What’s your name?”

He flips through a stack of carbonless-copy forms. The white-yellow-pink pattern flashes across his thumbs. His eye catches my name. He pulls it out of the stack, and pushes it firmly onto the desk.

“Do you realize you were absent on January 28th?”

Yes, I probably was. I happen to be absent a lot, after all. I probably was absent on that day. I mean, it’s not like I keep track of when I decide not to come.

“You’re supposed to turn in a note when you’re absent.”

I always do. In fact, I type them myself. I have a Word template for them. I can print one in less than two seconds.

“You didn’t turn in a note.”

Before I could cut in, he continued.

“You were truant, and have been assigned Saturday School.”

Again, I tried to open my mouth.

“Are you listening to me? Can you understand me?”

Completely surprised, I replied with the affirmative, after a short pause.

“What ELD are you in?”

This line cracked me up. It didn’t crack me up at the time, but now, thinking back, it cracks me up. I’ll always remember the assistant principal calling me a “D”-student fob who speaks no English, ditches class, and smokes in the bathroom. The perfect reply would have been, “No, I’m in AP English!”

Unfortunately I’m not. Damn. I regret dropping AP English now. Just so I could say that to him.

After hearing my reply in fine, perfect, melodious English with no accent, I’m sure he may have been stunned. But he continued shortly thereafter.

“You’ll have to sign here, and report at 8 am this Saturday. Bring the signed form with you, and report to the counseling desk in the administration building.”

Hold it. I’m not truant. I’m never truant. I just get sick a lot, and happen to have a lot of orthodontic appointments scheduled during school hours. It’s true, I swear.

“Bring work to do for four hours.”

Oh. That’s not so bad then. I thought Saturday School would involve some combination of torture, writing “I will never ditch school again.” on the board continuously, and maybe some good ol’ coloring worksheets a la Dr. Pal thrown in for good measure. If we get to bring our own work to do, this Saturday School thing could work out to my benefit: I’d get work done. After all, if I didn’t have Saturday School, I’d either oversleep until 2pm or watch anime all day. Or both. Likely both.

So, walking back up the stairs into Jenglish, I weighed my options. I’m sure there must have been some sort of error, because I’m very punctual with my absence notes, and there’s no way I would be truant. Actually, I think my thoughts were bordering more on “Life Sucks (TM)” and such, but we’ll glorify my character for this moment. Oh, but that’s right. Don’t they give you a readmit slip when you turn in an absence note? I always keep those. I have a stack of them that’s thicker than my thumb.

Unzippering my front pocket and unpaperclipping the four paperclips holding the stack together, I thumb through and find it. January 28th. Ben Li. Ill. See?

Do I bring the readmit down and demand my freedom, justice, and liberty? Or do I sit there and take on this punishment, and get some real work done while I’m at it? It was a hard decision, I’m sure. I bolted back down the stairs.

It felt kind of awkward passing by the same people again. Other people were getting call slips to come in for their Saturday School notices too, and watching them unknowingly ask directions to the assistant principal’s office from the same people I asked was unwitting. They all knew what the children were being sent to Mr. Finn for, but when the girl in front of me asked what she had been called for, I felt a knowing smirk flash across the desk attendant’s face before she gave an ambiguous, innocent reply.

This same attendant was very helpful though. I showed her my readmit, and she directed me to Attendance. The attendance lady totally should have given me an “oh, it’s YOU again” glare, but she didn’t, and never does. I respect her for that, and her general kindness. I should learn her name. She probably knows mine.

The attendance office actually keeps every absence note in a manila folder. I’d imagine that would be a lot of notes in a lot of folders. It took a while, but she found my note for the 28th, and cleared my truancy. All set! See, Ben, aren’t you glad you stood up for yourself instead of quietly attending the punishment camp for delinquents and other assorted losers?

To conclude, guess what I did on Saturday? That’s right, I slept until 2pm and watched anime the rest of the day.

***

So, that was all last Thursday. That’s like, a week ago. Why am I blogging about things a week after they happen? That’s not right. I need to post more. So what was this post intended to be about?

Right. So today, a lot of good things happened to me, yet for some reason I was unhappy during school today. Well, I’m not allowed to be unhappy in period 6 as per Galloway’s class rules or something, so make that just one through five.

I got depressed by a lot of random, not-really-pertinent things. People always tell me I’m too thin-skinned. Onion-skinned. I get offended and hurt very easily, they say. Example: Mr. Lee. If anyone has any bright ideas on how to cure this flaw of mine, please do speak up.

So tomorrow I’m commuting to San Marino to take the AMC B contest at (wtf r u srs) 6 in the morning (crazy San Marino people… but I’m grateful for the testing spot!). I asked Ms. King in what was probably a very rude and incoherent manner to “not mark me absent tomorrow” because “I’m taking the AMC B tomorrow”. It probably sounded very stupid and offensive. So for some reason I was really offended by her saying “no”. Maybe it’s just that I’m too used to teachers all liking me that I get queasy when a teacher is annoyed at me. Such a spoiled child am I.

In Orchestra (besides thinking lots of interesting thinks), I hadn’t memorized any of the songs, so that was rather depressing too. Jenglish is always rather morbid. Having dropped from AP is awkward at best, and my clumsiness in social interactions probably exacerbated that awkwardness to a large extent. It was extra-awkward because the other day I was making up a test in Jeng at lunch, and I always seem to stutter and annoy people.

In Chem, we did a lab (spectrophotometry… it sounds cool enough). I got negative values for absorbance (optical density, if you prefer), and I never decided to ask Mrs. Young. After I took a look at it, negative absorbance is totally impossible, and now I don’t know how I’m going to do my lab. I’ll ask to copy Hank’s data I guess. And in history, we watched atomic bomb explosions. Yeah, seriously. It was fun. We had to use Google Video though. Youtube is blocked.

The bad things didn’t just end with school. It turns out that CSF applications were due on Friday. But the CSF forms weren’t out until like the last day… I checked the ASB website practically daily for them. That wasn’t fair. I’d complain more, but I just realized that I saved five dollars by not turning it in.

Also, the semifinalist results came out today. My mom (!) called me afterschool to tell me about them. So three people from Arcadia got into semifinals (out of like 300 nationwide, that’s pretty impressive!), and I decided to send out an email to the people who got in. The third person was “Yi Li”, and I thought that was this was one girl in Physics Team whose last name is Li, so I included her in my “Congratulations!” email. It turns out that “Yi Li” was Vincent’s Chinese name. I think I must have hurt her feelings, I mean, she seems to have tried really hard for this competition, and here I am emailing her about her NOT making it, and even saying “congratulations” as if I were mocking her. See, this is why I’m single (and not looking for a partner).

***

Of course, good crap happens, but nobody cares about good crap happening. You never see newspapers headlining good crap. Damn, this last section was stupid. Why didn’t I end it with my Saturday School story?

Maybe I’m too self-aware. Perhaps if I stopped caring about what other people think about me, people will think better of me. Or maybe it really doesn’t matter, and I really don’t need to care about what other people think of me. Ms. King, Ms. Young, that girl in Physics Team… maybe I shouldn’t care about what opinions they may form of me. That’s what they tell you. Be original. Be yourself. But I do need to care. I need to take care that Ms. King has a good opinion of me during officer elections, and when she writes my letter of rec. I need to care that my lab group is depending on me. I need to care about what girls think of me as a prospective partner. Well, I’m not so sure on that last one. I could care less. It’s my kind of lifestyle, or prospective lifestyle. I wouldn’t like some kind of less-interesting-than-me lady watching over my bank account, taking what she wants, and arguing with me every night. I think I’d be the kind of person who would be a professor at some university and study Superstring Theory for the rest of my life. Alone. Or maybe this particular view of myself has been forced upon me by my peers. Perhaps it’s just other peoples’ impressions of me rubbing off on me. So I do need to care what other people think about me, because it influences what I think about myself? That’s queer. That’s just… twisted.

Aaand my tangental stream-of-consciousness rant ends there. The first half of this post is far more advanced than the latter half. I really should have split this into multiple posts.

***

To conclude, I really like narrative storytelling. In fact, when I was in elementary school, my prospective occupation was probably “creative author” or “novelist”. It’s an interesting way to author a blog post. I haven’t reread my Saturday School account yet, but I felt that dialogue, description, and my internal commentary added flair to my writing.

Thoughts on any of the issues, events, topics discussed in this post? Narrative writing, what-do-I-care-what-others-think-of-me, my thin skinned and easily-moved-to-tears personality, my brief anecdote, or anything else? Remember, kids, always keep your readmits.

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3 comments

  1. Benji says:

    POSTSCRIPT: Actually CSF is due THIS Friday. So nevermind on that.

  2. trained monkeys for sale says:

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  3. Ben says:

    Thanks. The theme is made by someone else, modified by me. The dividers in the post etc. are added by myself.

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