Learning To Love You More




Assignment #42
List five events from 1984.

Sarah Utter
Los Angeles, California USA



1. Fourth grade, Garfield Elementary. Erin Reilly and I spend much of our time developing 'Punker Birds', a series of cartoon drawings involving birds sporting mohawks, safety pins, and studded belts. Some are smoking cigarettes. Erin is left-handed and therefore supposedly more artistically gifted. Swept up in the craze of stickermania, we are sure that a giant sticker corporation like 'Mrs. Grossman' will buy our awesome designs and make us rich and famous artists. Though I don't think we actually got around to sending them to anyone.
2. Lacey Cinemas- Lacey, Washington. It's a super hot summer day. The whole town has gathered to participate in the World's Longest Banana Split. I go with my dad and my brother Erik, and his friend Morgan. Morgan's older brother comes too, which makes me feel nervous. There is a mile-long metal trough snaking back and forth through the parking lot. We all pick a spot and wait as bananas, little boxes of melted ice cream, and giant cans of syrup and toppings are passed from person to person down the line. We achieve the World's Longest Banana Split. For many years I thought I made this memory up, until I found evidence online: go to www.film-tech.com. Scroll down to the Multi-Plex section. Click on Lacey Cinemas.
3. Our class is silently reading something. Laura is a tomboy who I considered to be my best friend, along with Erin. For some reason they have decided to start hating me. They wear special matching 'space bracelets', a sort of iridescent jelly-style bangle. I go to the mall with Missy and see the bracelets at International Imports. I buy one and wear it to school. Laura spends the silent reading hour getting up every few minutes to sharpen her pencil. Each time after she sharpens it, Laura walks back to her seat and jabs it into my back as she passes behind my desk. I say nothing and keep reading and probably cry.
4. I win some writing contest called 'Washington, My Home'. I get to skip class and go with my parents to the Kiwanis Club headquarters and read my essay for the old folks. I wear a dress from the Lamonts' clearance rack. It's white with abstract blue designs. I wear a neon yellow tank top underneath. We are treated to lunch and I eat baked beans, which I remember intensely liking. I win fifty dollars and open my first bank account. I spend $15 of it to sponsor a wounded hawk at a raptor rehabilitation center in Florida. I get back to school and everyone claps for me as I walk into the classroom, even Erin and Laura, who are in the middle of another period of hating me. But its only because Mrs. Kormondy told them to.
5. On Halloween I decide to dress up like a 'Waver' (what we called new-wave kids). I take one of my dad's big white Hanes undershirts and wear it as a short dress. I put on my neon yellow tank-top over it. My friend Heather has an incredible teenage sister who I idolize. She is a total rock n'roller with big hair and eyeliner, and she is super smart. Heather's sister lends me some of her rocker belts for my costume. I wear lacy ankle socks and white pumps and rat my hair up. I put on a bunch of frosty blue and pink eyeshadow and tons of blush. I usually dress pretty plain. When I show up at school, I am feeling awesome in my Waver costume. Then two popular boys come up to me and ask 'Are you supposed to be a prostitute?' I don't know what a prostitute is. I know the word 'hooker' but they say 'prostitute' and I think it might mean something good, like some sort of scholastic punker or something. I hesitate as they wait for an answer, then slowly say 'UmÉ.yes?' They laugh hysterically and tell everyone I am a prostitute. My friend tells me that it means hooker. I am mortified but don't have any other clothes to wear. I spend the rest of the day trying to act cool and pretend I don't care. Heather is dead now, she died in a car accident when we were in high school.