Stress can lead the mind down both new and old paths. I tend to be dragged back down an old path to a memory from the time of my sophmore year in high school. It is one of those memory dreams where there is only a very slight exaggeration in the way people look. No one seems to be the correct age for the era of the memory. But, for the most part the dream is accurate to the way I remember this time and the feelings.

I had scored a low grade on a math test and felt I had no chance of passing my second attempt at Algebra. I had to leave. I had to get out and this had only been the first class of the day. To leave school you needed to secure a pass from “the office” or the principal. Fuck that. I was just going to ditch the day. As I walked down the hall, I decided I would quit school once and for all. I would just find a dumb job and then jump on a bus to NYC as soon as I was 17.

I hated school.

So, I pulled out my pack of Salem cigarettes and headed to the parking lot. I chatted with the ‘Rent-A-Cop’ who sat on his ass all day to stop us from leaving school. I gave him two cigs and he looked the other way while I drove off the campus. I decided I would return later to pick up my friends who depended upon me for rides home before I had to pick up my brother from Day Care. Then, I would head to work.

I stopped by the do-nut shop to talk to “Joe” about my plan. He thought it was cool and had some ideas about what I might be able to do to earn money. I drove to The Marble Slab and got an M&M ice cream. I could not wait to get home where I could chill listening to some Patti Smith Group. I can clearly remember wanting for that feeling of safety that only getting stoned seemed to be able to provide. At that time, the angry sounds of Patti Smith seemed an ideal cushion.

As I got out of my car, I walked into the orthodontist who had tortured me with braces during my 6th and 7th years of junior high school. Whenever I ran into him he would ask about my “lovely mom” and I remember him asking me what I was doing out of school. I asked him what a dentist was doing at an ice cream joint when he should be applying braces to unsuspecting children. I don’t remember how he responded but I do remember having a slight panic because of his “thing” for my mother and I really didn’t want her finding out I had skipped out on school. This “meeting” could be the perfect excuse for him to contact her.

Now, that’s one of the problems with memory (or perhaps the logic of a teenager) — If I was worried about skipping school what was I thinking I would tell my mom about quitting it all together? Who knows?!!?!

I can remember racing to get inside the house and to my bedroom. I must have been so much in my own head space that I had not noticed my mother’s car in the driveway. I remember this horrible feeling of dread and shock when I opened the door and found my mother in tears and my Mean Grandma (her mother) standing over her. Seemed like Grandma was bitching or ranting at her. Funny thing is I never bothered to find out what was going on between them that day.

My mother become flushed in the face when she saw me. She didn’t say anything. She just began to wipe away her tears. Her mascara was smeared badly. I remember she did not make eye contact with me. My Grandma barked at me and wanted to know why I was home when I should be at school. I told her that I had gotten sick and came home to rest up as I could not miss work that night. I remember worrying that I sounded lame as I have never been able to lie with any degree of believability. I remember my Grandma wanting to know if I would be picking up my brother as planned or if she needed to do that. I told her that I was not going to forget my baby brother.

I walked down the hall toward the safety I knew I could find in my room. I remember hearing my Grandma resume her rant at my mother starting with a gruff, “See what I told you?”

At this point, in the dream, I can feel me wanting to wake up. Wanting to get out of this route from the past. The plan I never took. The desperation for an escape. The anger at my mother’s mother. The combination of contempt and pity aimed at my mother. And, I wake up.

You know, I never listen to Patti Smith anymore. Her words may be a bit magical, but they seemed to be forever stained by my memories. More of a net than a comfortable cushion.

January 31, 2007. Uncategorized.


  1. Kalvin replied:

    That’s too bad about the association with Patty Smith. I don’t think I ever actually ditched school quite so flagrantly until college even though I could have left campus whenever I wanted during High School (open campus). It is fun sometimes to wonder what might have been, I do agree.

  2. ginab replied:

    An interesting dreamlike memory. I use to listen to PS and all night in fact. Dark days (and nights) to be sure. I guess “had by all”.

    Love the bribery. The rent-a-cop section so funny! Like hall moniters. Imagine listing one or the other on a resume!

    Or, detailing the skills, list: took cigs for a bribe.



  3. ing replied:

    As you probably would have guessed, I loved school, just loved it! But you might not understand that I hated the social pressures and got migraines every Monday night. The school part, though — I thrived on learning.

    I never skipped, not once. But I had a whole ‘nother mom who had no confidence in my judgment and seemed to have pretty good judgment herself. In retrospect, I understand that she was lucky. Who knows what they’re getting into at 20?

    It’s so easy to go astray. I know this, in retrospect. You were a beautiful kid, Matty, and you’re still beautiful.

  4. ing replied:

    Oh, and I’m still waiting on your first-day-report!

  5. Minge replied:

    I adored reading that. It’s made me think – and that’s no small thing. You’re fabulous.

  6. matty03 replied:

    Kalvin – Yeah, it is too bad about me and Patti Smith! I used to love her stuff so much. I think it just brings up a lot of bad memories and my own fears of becoming a drug addict. …which, for the longest time is where I think I was headed. I downloaded all of her stuff to my iTunes but I never listen to it. Wow. Open campus. How I’d have loved that. …Of course, I would never have been there to enjoy it. LOL!

    Gina! Hey! You stopped by! Yay! You know, if re-worded or re-phrased I could make it a selling point. LOL! I am quite good at negotiations and bargain hunting. I can be persuasive! During my high school years I was always able to strike up deals to prevent me from having to participate in PE! And, how I love to skip the sciences.

    Ing! I know. I love to learn but I don’t like it when the lessons are already planned. I like to pick and choose. And, I just hated all the rules of school. Authority issues, perhaps. I wasn’t nuts about the social pressures but I don’t think that was such a big deal. Actually, I probably only enjoyed that aspect plus English Lit and Drama. And, I just emailed my first day report to you! …and, I’ve a cold. My head feels it is about to pop off and my throat is burning! Such is my luck for my second day of work! At least it is Friday!!!!

    Minge! Oh, I wish I were fabulous! Thank you! I love that I made you think — I hope I made you think good thoughts. However, I guess it wasn’t the most uplifting post!

  7. Minge replied:

    Perhaps it wasn’t the most uplifting post, but we’ve all been in those places. It’s good to know we can get out of them… And have people to talk about them with.

    You ARE fabulous.

    I feel like a spammer… Shameless self promotion alert!

    Please take part in Window On Your World.

  8. Kevin replied:

    I thought I posted this same thing yesterday, but i don’t see it here:

    How was your first day?

  9. ing replied:

    I love you so much!

  10. matty03 replied:

    Minge! No, not all that uplifting. More reflective. Hey, I love that idea. I just wish I might be doing something of interest tomorrow when i take my picture!! Maybe I will feel betta (have a cold) and will be at my porn shoot!!! Who knows?!!? Anyway, I shall send you a picture from GayTown!

    Kevin!!! Hey! The job is going great! Only two days so still much to learn but I am really liking it there! Very cool place to work! I love being surrounded by artists!!!!

    Ing – Awwwwww! You know I love you! See ya tonight!! Don’t be working too hard!!!

  11. Meredith replied:

    Yay! I knew you would find employment soon! What sucks about being unemployed is that you have to spend the whole time worrying about practical things… how to pay the rent, how to buy groceries, how to pay for the bills and dental work and perscriptions… it’s maddening and in the end frustrating because you don’t realize until you’re employed again that you had all this free time to do fun things but you were too busy worrying.
    Congratulations hon! Hope you had some fun whilst job searching! The new job sounds great!

  12. matty03 replied:

    Lovely Meredith! Yes! But, I’m much happier with a job than without and I think this is an awesome job for a great organization!

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