All this rehashing of my high school years might be undoing years of therapy. I think I can safely blame Facebook for part of it. I’m new to it. Look, I had a Geocities account, whippersnappers. And I made it safely through both the Friendster and MySpace Administrations. But Facebook, that’s where you all are. So here I am finding people I haven’t heard from in decades at the same time I’m finding things I wrote back then… and possibly I’m trying to find meaning out of coincidence, but I don’t really believe in coincidences.
You know, this started with me wondering why I’ve hoarded all of these letters and notes, and then through Facebook I get back in touch with friends from my freshman year Latin class (For those of you who have seen the Little Pam fanpage, that’s four of us (Latin was held in a Spanish classroom by a guest teacher)). So the other day I found a six-page print-out of our inside jokes from Latin class. Why is there a six-page list of Latin class inside jokes? Because I made one. I also have one from seventh-grade gifted class, and a two-year high-school relationship. I’m listy. I hoard memories, remember?
Anyway, I let the Latin kids know I had these jokes, and wrote out a few of them (because I still remembered why we said some of them), and Melissa wrote back:
PAM! I love it! You crack me up. Why did you keep that list? It’s such a gem. I’m so curious about all the other quotes. I cannot remember what the chatterbox/mono quotes are about. Do you??
I’ve been meaning to tell you that I was so amused to find out about your job(s). I am not surprised in the least. When I try to recall our Latin class… and we have not even begun to reminisce about Latin II … I picture you, with your head in some gigantic book, and with a different book nearly every day. You were constantly writing in some notebook. I almost think I remember you writing your own book or writing stories??? And, I definitely remember you writing somebody back and forth. You often were reprimanded, and you either looked up in embarrassment or you appeared to be mildly annoyed that you were interrupted! :)
You know this means that some of these letters I probably wrote while I was at school. That is sad on a whole new level. I always imagined I was on the floor of my bedroom, right next to my stereo that was looping Metallica’s “Fade to Black.” But in Latin class? Jeez.
I’m sure I looked embarrassed when I got caught writing because I thought the note was going to be taken from me and read aloud. But I remember that teacher was so bad at teaching us Latin (a completely different experience from our Latin II class, where Mr. Chandler became one of my heroes), I would make sure to have a million things to do in that class, seeing as how he’d be thirty minutes late to class at least twice a week.
I hate getting my time wasted. Still do.
That’s the thing. Ever since I started sharing these letters with you, I now notice when I sound just like Little Pam in my Old Pam life. (I decided I would prefer Old Pam to Big Pam. [Aside to Kocoa Krunch: see? You are not alone, Biggie Talls.]) I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve complained about something only to stop and hear the words I’m saying. It’s damn near impossible to text with a friend about relationships or pitch a story that comes from something that actually happened to me or even go through my own manuscript without seeing that in so many, many, many ways I’m still that exact same lovesick, dork-ass nerd who only wants that cute boy to say, “I love you. Now please look deep into my eyes and let me share with you my soul.”
I’ve tried to tell myself that I’m exaggerating, that I’m just being emotional about rehashing all of these emotions, that it’s a healthy thing that I can feel, and empathy is an important trait when your job is to tell stories about how people relate to one another. But let’s face it: even my need for a pep talk is sad. And pointless. Because once I talk myself into thinking I’m a completely different person than Little Pam (even giving her a separate nickname is such a sadly transparent defense mechanism), something will happen that will immediately point out that I’m still just a fifteen-year old girl.
About an hour ago it was this: my perfume today is CB I Hate Perfume’s “In the Library.”
You guys, my perfume smells like book.
On purpose. Old musty book. And I love it.
JD Salinger was the best thing about being fifteen. And twenty. And thirty-one. RIP.