It Must Be The First Day Of School, I Saw The Cheerleaders Smoking Outside Starbucks!
I don’t know that I ever greeted the first day of school with much of anything but dread. Having been beaten up in grade school and moving right into being called a “fag” several times a day in high school, the going back to school never filled me with as much child-like anticipation as I believe it did for my fellow classmates. I will say that I never lost hope, that I did always delude myself into thinking that the new year would bring many new opportunities for me and that perhaps all of the people who called me names or pushed me into lockers would have forgotten the bullseye I had put on my own back by wearing that damn green satin “OZ” jacket the first day of high school my freshman year or that they would have at least found a new target. But I did love shopping for the school supplies. Oh how I loved choosing the backpack, the lunchbox, all things related to school. As my partner tells everyone, “Scott had the neatest notebook in high school. Sure, he was failing every class but his books looked great!” This is not too far from the truth except for the fact that I was not all that horrible a student, only in math which I still to this day have little understanding about. If a train leaves a station at 60 miles per hour and another train leaves the station twenty minutes later going 80 miles per hour, which train will arrive first at Penn Station 100 miles away? My response would always be, “Are they going to see a Broadway show or just shopping at Barney’s?” Thus my failing grades in math throughout my school career but back to the topic at hand. As I got into my car to go to work this morning the DJs talked of the first day of school and I couldn’t help but think about the fun times I missed, the many people I saw each day and in my nostalgic haze, I got out of my car and was going into Starbucks when I realized it must be the first day of school, I saw the cheerleaders smoking outside Starbucks! – Don’t Get Me Started!
My high school was not in the type of neighborhood that required uniforms (if it did it probably would have saved me the Wizard of Oz jacket beatings) instead we wore whatever we thought was fashionable at the moment. Oh how I remember the parachute pants from Judy’s a store that really only sold women’s clothes but had a few racks devoted to men’s apparel. The people at the store would call me when something came in. I bought it all and looked like a cross between Adam Ant and Cher on most days. I honestly don’t even remember wearing a pair of khakis the entire high school experience. Ah but that was the time of the 27 inch waist, those were the days my friends. But enough of my reminiscences.
There they were, two of them sitting out in front of the Starbucks wearing their white polo tops and short plaid skirts. Normally this would make you think that they were wholesome and sweet. But the very dark eye liner ringing their eyes that was smeared a little gave this look more of the Britney Spears at 50 trying to get back into her school girl outfit from her first album. (A sort of disturbing image to be sure) In one hand they had a Venti something or other from Starbucks and in the other arm that was draped over the back of the chair with great ease tapered down to the hands with their short chewed finger nails covered in black polish that was chipping and between their index and middle fingers was the cigarette. At their feet were their duffle bags which featured the name of their school and the very large C-H-E-E-R spelled out the length of the bag. I watched them a bit as they sipped, talked, texted and never missed a drag off of their cigarette. As they decided they were done the packed up their duffle bag and holding the oversized plastic cups with little liquid left in them, they flicked their cigarette butts onto the ground and got into a Mercedes the price of which I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to afford.
And as they drove off and I sipped my coffee I wondered if kids still feel the way we felt on that first day of school? That rush of adolescent excitement of seeing friends once more, the acting “over it” to our parents and internally hoping that this year we’d be popular or at the very least not terrorized. Has the world changed so much? Am I really this old that I look at these kids through middle aged glasses? Or has the world really not changed at all, is it me who has changed? In high school I was still delighted over my Trapper Keeper notebook but these girls seemed more interested in their Marlboro menthols that they tossed in their Prada purses. Let’s face it, none of us have the same experience and time does do tricks on the memory but from now on I won’t think of glue sticks and lockers as much as I’ll think it must be the first day of school, I saw the cheerleaders smoking outside Starbucks! – Don’t Get Me Started!
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