Social Pressure at 15

When I started tenth grade, a brilliant English teacher named Gil Hernandez assigned us to write a journal for his class. I always thought it was cool that in his grade book next to my journal grade he wrote “best.” As many of my readers know, my blogs have become an extension of that journal.

I don’t know why I was thinking about it, but I dug around in the old journal trunk and found my entry about the party on a Saturday at the end of the school year hosted by Hernandez. He invited all of his standout students, which include me, my best friend (and still close friend to this day) Michael, the girl I had a crush on, and essentially all of her friends. I don’t know how awkward it was for her and her friends, but Michael and I found the experience “tense”, saturated with that feeling of being on stage without a script.

My journal from the spring of 1979; the spiral part is lumpy because I accidentally ran over it with my dad's car later that year.
My journal from the spring of 1979; the spiral part is lumpy because I accidentally ran over it with my dad’s car later that year.

Here’s what I wrote to Hernandez about it later that night in my journal:

“Did anyone ever tell you that you give mediocre parties? If they did, they were wrong. I was fascinated by all that brilliant ‘social pressure’ conversation. I also appreciated the opportunity to be embarrassed by ‘her’ presence. I’m sorry. I’m just in a bad mood. I am in contempt of pen. Ha ha.”

Contempt of pen. Yeah, that was a good one, especially for a 15 year old.

I guess I had assessed my appearance at the party as awkward, probably correctly so. I know I was looking at that girl too much, and her boyfriend was staring holes through me. In my fantasies about it later I often imagined myself showing up with my guitar (it’s a fantasy, so don’t remind me that I don’t play), or even with my whole band, and we are aloof and cool and slightly ahead of our time. We play cool songs of the day like Driver’s Seat by Sniff ‘n’ the Tears, or Wild Horses by The Rollings Stones. The girl is impressed and secretly aroused, and the boyfriend is emasculated.

I don’t spend time with fantasies like that much any more, because, and I know this sounds arrogant, many of my fantasies have come true, like being a photographer and a writer, and marrying a really beautiful woman who loves me dearly. Only once in a while do I entertain myself with those imaginary scenarios, largely because they are entertaining.

Listen to Driver’s Seat here, and while you do, picture me with long red hair blowing in the spring breeze in an English teacher’s back yard, amazing everybody…

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