*grins* I'm such a nerd.
Yesterday, amongst other things, I went to Christmas lunch and part of the school concert at my son's school. This sounds like the beginning of a Very Long Boring Story, and it IS, but I'll spare you the "oh cute" moments I had with Child, 'cause I went over those ad nauseum with family, and skip right to the moment where I started feeling *really* weird.
I'm always a kid when I'm at that school.
I went to a small, small school. K-12 are on the same campus. I once said, in a completely not-joking manner, that I'd prostitute myself on Congress before I'd let Nick go to that school.
Mmm hmm. I say a *lot* of things.
Anyway, the gym is the same. The floor is the same. The damn stage is the same, the bleachers are the same. It was all these indecent echoes, and I was a very, very miserable sixteen, who had just quit basketball, joined the band, and wondered if this had actually been a good idea.
Watching the middle school band, listening, I look at the first chair flute and I could have sworn I saw Melanie. The trumpet was Calvin, it *had* to be, and I expected it so much--who the hell notices an eleven year difference--that I *did* see them. I almost could have looked for myself up there, clarinet, second row, second chair over. I remembered playing the songs, my fingers remembered how the clarinet felt, I listened to the trumpets and thought--I *remember* this, I *remembered* like I was ten seconds from going up there myself. I remember the lectures on not using the end of whole notes to breathe and how our director always tuned us one by one and then by instrument, and then the entire band. Mid C. E. C. B flat sometimes for arcane reasons only known to her.
Thirteen years of my life were spent there--it decided what I learned, how I learned it, when I had a break, what and when I ate, and it formed a lot of the person I became, and I--it didn't just feel nostalgic. I try never to think about school. I've spent *years* forgetting, and then I was standing there against the wall. My *first grade*, *second grade*, and *third grade* teachers were there, still teaching, yes, first, second, and third grade.
Music always does it. If there is or has ever been a sure fire way of body memory, it's smell and music. And I played those songs, and I remember how we practiced, and I stood there, still frustrated that we so rarely had good clarinet parts, and why in the name of God did they always put trumpets behind us? I smiled when all the flutes took a breath at once and how breathy they sounded and remembered that when I was up there, I thought we were amazing. Which of course, we were. You're always amazing in seventh grade.
On the way home, I remembered trying out for the regional band in bass clarinet in junior high, since my clarinet was in the shop. I remembered sight reading and how our director would read the music out to us at competition and we'd go over this deceptively easy piece of music with all those breath marks and the simple tempos and the fortissimos that appeared randomly, and I remember how it felt the first time we played it straight through, when we didn't get to practice, but had to get it right the first time.
I'd get *high* doing that, playing that. I got high before every performance, every time, all my life. I still do.
High school, last concert I played with the full band--Nimrod, Enigma Variations, a march, and another song that I don't remember, but Nimrod--was beautiful. So damn pretty. And I can still play it from memory, though my mouth sucks and I never did get above a four reed and I haven't touched a clarinet in years. Simple, even a kid could have played most of it, because all the power was in the control the director had, the fall and rise of the sound, the breathing pauses, the balance.
I remembered marching band and learning all the music by heart before the end of the season, and competition, I remember concert competition and perfect ones across the board, because we had an amazingly determined band teacher. My second cousin was a twirler, three years, and a flute player. I learned to use a baton from her, though I never tried out. Hated the uniforms. I remembered the bruises on her thighs from the hours and hours and *hours* of practice I watched when she was teaching herself. I remember the bruises on mine from copying her. I can still twirl a pencil backward and forward between my fingers without even trying. I can do it to a baton, too.
I remembered being a cheerleader, junior high and junior varsity, how I got on the team the first time because one of the others dropped out and how they had to teach me in these humiliating baby steps because I've never had control of my body and to make me learn a physical activity, I couldn't just watch it, I had to do it, over and over and over.
The second time, I got on because I was that good and I practiced that hard and I was happy. Not because I was that hot for short skirts, I hated that, and I was unpopular and I beat out a Very Popular Girl, but not for that either. Because I'd done it, it was mine, and I'd earned it.
I can still do most of the cheers.
It's odd to feel that, how much has changed and how little really has. The stage was where I performed in two different plays for competition. I remember Asylum, which is still the most bizarre thing I've ever acted in, and how we all wore those simple colored t-shirts and jeans and won zone. And how to apply stage makeup, with my first real honest to God crush doing the powder on us, and how he was a senior to my freshman and how perfect his cheekbones were. And God, they *were*. And we're thirty minutes from taking the stage in Caldwell and I was almost shaking because he had the powder brush. And he also controlled the lights and sounds and had this headset and walked around stage, barking mock orders at the light room, just having the time of his life. I remember nothing in my life was ever better than the first time I stepped out on stage and wondered how anyone could be afraid of this, how could anyone ever think this was terrifying, because it was amazing.
To Burn a Witch, sophmore year, in which got to go into melodrama and it was *so* much fun and so cute and I got to fall backward off a stage and I remember we reblocked one day and moved the stairs, so it took five steps, not three, to get to the end of the platform so I could fall into Angela's arms in a fit, and *completely* forgetting that, and Angela yelling something and catching me on the platform inches before I knocked myself out, God knows how she moved fast enough.
Like, freshman year, Hutto tournamet, basketball. I was really not an aggressive player and I was always okay but not good, and our coach was out, and so were a couple of our players, and our sub coach just sent us in willy-nilly and he *forgot* me out there for a full quarter and a half until Melanie finally just got up and called herself in to let me rest. I'm not sure he noticed over the newspaper, either. I so rarely get competitive, but then again, the weirdest things got me, and I started knocking people over to get the ball and people kept fouling out on our side (we all apparently got shot up with testosterone or something beforehand, because never before and never again did I foul four times in the first half and four in the second, and never did half the team foul out completely. Brutal babies, that was us), and finally there were like, six of us left and I was back in for the last quarter and so *freaking* tired, we all were, but dammit, we were going to *win* if we had to put every other player on the other team out of commission to do it.
I always think of how alone and miserable I was, and how I read all the time to get away from it, and how I hated it so much, but there's some things I like to remember.
Mmm. Boring, scatterwitted nostalgia. Now *this* is the reason LJ exists. To bore the world. If you've read this far, I'm *really* surprised.