Dropping out

It was just another typical day for me in high school, which is to say not what a typical day should be like at all.

I was in my second year of tenth grade, and light years beyond the realm of having even the slightest shred of concern for my grades.

School days consisted of vacantly staring into my notebooks, writing poems to girls who hated me, drawing pictures, and getting lost in the alluring distractions of my imagination.

It wasn’t uncommon for me to provide a fair deal of grief for my teachers, and most of their attempts to tame my wild daydreaming were met with bitter and rebellious resistance.

It may seem boring and typical to say that one felt enormously out of place in high school, but I’m utterly certain of an exceptionally grandiose sincerity on my part in saying so.

I was well on my way to round three of tenth grade, and, well, fuck that.

As it was, I had already been held back into my younger brother’s grade. Getting held back again would be like being stuck in time, making high school a never-ending treadmill for my unwilling legs.

I’d have rather been struck by a bus.

I couldn’t make myself focus on anything in school, nor could I fathom why I should. My so-called education was a rapacious force, siphoning out the life from my eyes and the heat from my blood.

Surely, I was born of another world that I wouldn’t find as absurd and non-intuitive as this one, another planet that wouldn’t find me so absurd and unworthy of its societal accolades.

Fantasies of dropping out were common, but that didn’t seem plausible. For all my burning sense of anti-conformity, I had not yet seen any evidence that I had any choice in the matter.

Surely I’d spontaneously combust or get cancer the moment after dropping out, or that’s what my mom wanted me to think anyway.

Thus, it was clearly my lot in life to ruefully and futilely wander that eternal treadmill. I’d be 25 and still in tenth grade. Would they make me leave eventually?

These thoughts seethed beneath my peach-fuzz covered face, and I doubt anyone in my life had any idea as to the extent of my suffering.

Oh, how I wanted to walk out of those prison doors and never return. But oh, how I did not want my mother to brutally massacre the little fraction of life that remained in me.

Yup, just another typical day in high school, and I couldn’t tell it from the rest. Not until the most fateful study hall of my life.

The supervisor of that particular study hall was a lady who was difficult to predict.

Sometimes she would encourage students to socialize for an hour, chatting amongst themselves appreciatively.

Other times, the slightest peep from one of us inmates would result in instant and irrevocable banishment.

Probably needless to say, the banishment was a routine part of my existence.

The moody study hall monitor declared this particular day to be of the “no-peep” variety. Which was okay with me, because I had some very important doodling and love letter-scribing to catch up on.

At some point during that hour, a small faction of girls began chattering about whatever it is that small factions of girls in private schools chatter on about.

This went on for quite some time, so my basic assumption was that the supervisor had changed her stance on the whole no peeping issue.

So, I peeped, thinking myself immune to impending unadulterated wrath.

I was mistaken.

The troll under the study hall bridge cut into my life as a sword through butter, but the difference between butter and I was that I was pissed off.

The monitor’s obvious favoritism inspired an unholy collaboration of my built up inner frustrations. My emotions stretched into a raging crescendo of indignation, and I mercilessly went off on that woman.

Profanity streamed from my lips as gushing magma from the world’s most hormonal volcano.

Mouths across the room gaped open as the study hall lady summoned what can only be described as a private school bouncer (in other words, a squat old lady with the presence of a Tolkien-esque orc), who proceeded to grab my arm and force me out of the room, towards the principal’s office.

I pulled away and made a beeline for the nearest telephone.

“Mom, pick me up at school. I am leaving today, and I am never coming back. Please, there is nothing to argue about. It is done. I need a ride, now.”

And it was so.

(From the book, The Art of Being Human: What It Means to Be)


Also published on Medium.