Sunday, October 21, 2007


It snowed in the night. When I got up it was still snowing, although it seems to be melting off now; I can hear big clumps of it falling off the roof.

I hate being cold. I don't like the snow much either. Both remind me of my childhood in Michigan and the High School where I went to be tortured every day. I can remember likeing the snow when I was very very small--playing in it for hours and coming in to hot chocolate while my wet snowsuit steamed over the old radiator in our old house. But later, snow and cold only meant grief.

The Science Wing in our school was the worst, I think. It was all glass leading down to a big ampitheatre and the science classrooms, and it was always freezing. There were study carrels there and I remember waiting for my few friends to arrive in the bitter cold, while other kids trouped in through the side doors, tracking whiteness in with them. Sometimes on particularly rowdy days boys would stage snowball fights in the Science Wing and it was best to stay out of the way.

The hallway leading down to the cafeteria was the second worst, because the caf faced a big glassed-in courtyard. There was a ramp leading down to the cafeteria and it was always wet with snow in the winter, like the nasty old ....what do you call 'ems from the floor of a car. Rubber mats. I hated riding in cars in the winter because of the dirty runnels of melt on those rubber mats. It made me feel unclean.

Our school was designed by some Japanese architects and you;d think they'd know better than to put so much glass in a place where the average winter temperature was under ten below with wind chill. But I guess they never got that.

Mostly snow reminds me of grief. Of walking around the school being jeered at by the other kids and called names for my size, my clothes, my friends...whatever. My brains. One time a girl rounded on me for no apparent reason and lit into me for thinking I was smarter than she was--which I was, MUCH SMARTER--and being a prig. I don;t think I ever did anything to deserve this treatment. I think she was just a mean person. But I don;t know.

We were weird, no doubt about that. I don;t think anyone else in our school had the impulse--or the guts, come to think of it--to stand in the middle of the science wing dancing to the Spamalot song from Monty python and the Holy Grail, for instance. Or to chant like medieval monks while bashing our heads with our schoolbooks. So we brought some of it on.

But did we bring it on because we were already warped and it didn't matter by then? I think so. By High School we had already been through so much torment that it seemed that nothing mattered anymore. Since grade school most of us had been social outcasts for no reason we could determine. Kids are cruel that way. They treat you like dirt and they never tell you why. I don't think they even know why, except that they can sense differerence and unless educated otherwise equate it with wrongness.

So I hate being cold. It always reminds me of those times. Even in April and May my school seemed cold enough to freeze the bones. But by that point, maybe the cold was only in my soul.

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