I’ve had a weird day.
Here’s some background. There’s something sad and something very weird about being underslept in the summer vacations.
It’s like some law of the universe being violated. But it’s also inevitable.
At this point, you’re probably on the verge of giving up on me, but give me a chance to explain.
Summers often mean free time, sure, but it’s not just free time for me, but for everybody.
There’s the phrase about an empty vessel being a devil’s workshop. Let’s only focus on the empty vessel. Have you ever pretended to be a drummer banging on a steel plate when you were young? (Or still are young, who am I to say)
If you look back on those rock star days, you realise they probably wouldn’t have gotten you signed to a major label with a multi-million dollar contract, and you know the reason why.
Empty vessels don’t sound good.
They don’t, to me either. And that’s why, come the night, I am overcome by an irresistible urge to read. Reading a book is really not about the words. It’s not so much about seeing, recognising and understanding the words you come across on a page.
It’s about being immersed in the story, to feel your characters, thinking what they’re thinking, creating in your head a scene envisioned by the writer, basically living in the same world your story unfolds in. It’s about forgetting that there’s a white page with black impressions before you, and replacing it with a face, an expression, a conversation, a city, with colour and sounds and voices.
And man, can you do that in a mind equivalent of High Definition, in the silence of the night.
Also, as you can guess, I’m a book addict. Naturally, I sleep at 2.
It’s led mum to become quite the Sherlock Holmes in the morning, trying to figure out why I’m falling asleep repeatedly till 10 AM in spite of having supposedly gone to bed at 11:30 in the night, and why I begin yawning at a plum 4 in the evening. (Hint: boredom exists)
Anyway, I’m sleepy in the mornings, and the weird look mum gives me is only the start of a weird day.
In short, I was out on an art expedition (fancier than saying ‘design class’, eh?) and got late coming home. I also brought back with me an assignment to study dragons because my dragons look like friendly dinosaurs from the 9 AM slot animated children’s show.
Now I’m figuring out how to make meaty dragons.
But back up a bit and you’ll notice I mentioned the word late.
What’s new about that, you ask?
True, I’m almost always late, or being more optimistic for the future, let us say I pretty much have been late, to school, to classes, to go home, throughout the year. What made this time any different?
What made this time a little different was that I was off to school again. I know, school has officially ended, and all us ex-twelfth graders are in the hazy mist of confusion of neither being current students, nor being alumni. Not really.
But today was the day, in our principal’s words, we don the tag of ‘student’ for the last time, and really become alums. No, not potash alums. We’re not wiping anyone clean… only having our own brains wiped clean because our exams are finally over. And for a long time.
Whatever you want to call it, it’s the closest thing we were going to get to a graduation ceremony.
It may be true that we wouldn’t have the graduation gown nor the hat, not the open grassy podium, t’is a fact, but for the school terrace we are given for the occasion, I’d rather not be pent up in a stuffy gown and be sweating worse than I can possibly cry, for hours.
So it’s the closest thing we get to a real graduation ceremony. Oh, and no diplomas, though. At least we all know for a fact already that we really have passed and are graduating!
My record, as many people know, has been to just about make it to school in time. I still don’t know how they’re graduating me, given that I almost missed the beginning of the first period, just about slipped in and sat on the very first bench– almost every day!
Here I stood today, chancing the ridiculous: I might very well end up being late for my own graduation!
This is the epitome of asinine, and you agree with me.
So I spent five minutes, sticking my thumb out ridiculously, trying to hail a ride home.
As always, in times of need and all times otherwise, the auto guys bail on you. With an all-important look on their face, they watch you desperately flailing you arm out.
As if out of sympathy and to test out waters, they ask you where you want to go. The look on their face already gives you their answer, but you try and mumble out your location anyway.
The eyebrows furrow, the head goes deep in thought, the mouth pouts. All this in the space of half a second.
The head then tilts, shakes, and out comes the answer: “Nah.”
Well, yeah, I knew that.
Eventually, I decided to walk home rather than waste another minute. I tend to be one of those people who either thinks real deep and does not execute, or doesn’t think at all and begins, and makes up a plan along the way.
The current plan, I thought as I crossed the road, dodging a car, is to stay alive.
Having safely made it to a non-existent footpath, I devise a further plan. I have twenty minutes until an hour for the event. I need that hour, or maybe half an hour and some buffer, to get ready. So I get running.
Taking some weird inroads and wishing every five minutes that I’d stuck around to play the cabbie’s game, I finally made it home only five minutes late.
Oh well, I guess we’re used to it by now.
Of course, any time I saved not playing to the cabbies’ tune was lost on a 25-minute walk, and the absolute NEED to shower after.
But it was definitely a strange feeling slipping into a school uniform again. It had been months, nothing since the end of March, and possibly for the last time. I’ll never have to wear the uniform again. I’ll never have to wear any uniform again. I will officially not be a part, not responsibility, of the school again.
Of course, that’s not going to stop me from spending all day there!
I’ve legit talked to my teachers and told them they’ll be seeing much more of me than they should, and that with me doing close to nothing all day at home, she’d rather not see me at home at all right now.
And I proved my commitment to my word right today, arriving for a graduating event at 4:07 (?) and leaving at quarter to 8. Booyah.
So now I’m an alumnus. I’m free. I’m really free. In a way, I’ve lost my home of two years. But I know that’s not true. I’m still going to be squandering my days away down there. I’m thinking of trekking down there and spending a full day drawing the building. I actually hadn’t thought of that before I typed it down. I probably won’t do it. Researching dragons is enough for me.
The feeling of really not being attached to an institution for the first time since I enrolled in playschool is definitely unreal. It hasn’t hit. I suspect it won’t get the chance to, because college will engulf me soon enough.
But symmetry rules our universes, and everything eventually comes full circle. So, weird day or not, I know that if I was almost late for my school graduation, like I was almost late for school everyday, everything will really be okay.
Over and out!