Monday, May 20, 2013

I'm An "Adult"

My mouth is full of the sickly-yellow taste of stamps, my fingers smarting from the sting of envelope paper cuts, and my homework in procrastinated stacks about me. Theres no doubt; its Graduation Season, and i've been plagued with a bad case of "Senior-itis" for several months now. Its like I've been carrying a time-sensitive bomb in my backpack for the last 12 years and the smaller the countdown-digits get, the faster I run to throw the bomb in a fridge or over the side of a bridge, not caring what grades or essay assignments are casualties in my path.

I'm sitting here, relatively alone in the library with summer sunshine pouring in, steaming the books so their spines give off the heady aroma of old books, the white noise of students chattering outside and the grumbling of a colicky baby. Somehow, though, I'm full of silence. Not silence: pondering. The eye in the storm amongst all the final-stressed students. For me though, and many of my classmates, it is my ultimate final: the final day of high school.

After 12 groaningly-long years of word problems out the wazoo, finger-cramping essays, and more time pulling all-nighters than sleeping as a'd think i'd break into an impromptu musical number a la HSM movies with a full team of back-up dancers and pyrotechnics. But instead, i'm at a standstill. A part of me, of course, is frothing at the mouth in relief and excitement. Another part of me is sitting quietly at a crossroads, or standing on the sheer edge of a cliff, knowing I can't go back and its time to take the leap of faith. And so, I ponder. A friend and I were talking about it earlier and agreed graduating from high school is rather like being a kite or balloon finally released into the air: wild, independent, but at the hands of the wind's whims and without anchor. Freedom has it's price. And balloons are easily popped.

Saying goodbye to my peers, people who've I've toiled side-by-side with for years, is rather like saying my goodbyes in preparation for my impending death, to put it morbidly. Teary eyes and last goodbyes and hugs. A LOT of hugs. Hugs from close friends. Hugs from not-so-close-friends. Hugs from people I know and people I've only waived to in passing. Hugs from total strangers I don't think I go to school with. Suddenly, everyone's your best friend. And everything, I mean EVERYTHING, becomes nostalgic. That sink in the bathroom that always sprays up so it looks like you wet your pants? The water fountain that burbles milky water and everyones afraid to drink? (I seems so far i've developed a deep emotional connection with the plumbing.) And that chalkboard that always screeches horribly, the cockroaches, that funny "science room smell" that is likely toxic to humans after extended exposure? Good times, good times.

As I am now 18 and, in the eyes of the law, an "adult", it feels rather like playing dress up. I've got the costume, I'm in character, I know my script; but on the inside I'm still that same little girl in her Phocohontas PJs, sitting at my bedroom window on a steamy summer night singing nonsensical songs in harmony with the cicadas for all the sleeping neighborhood to hear. Ahem, *was* sleeping neighborhood to hear.

Its a really strange feeling, for the first time in 12 years, to not know where i'll be next summer. I used to expect every year to be generally the same, only with progressively more difficult classes. Now? The skies the limit. I could be travelling the world: eating pizza in Italy, being an exotic hermit in Hawaii, speeding around Corfu, Greece on a vespa.  However, when you factor in a student's part time job earnings, my exotic locales are narrowed down to pitching a tent and roasting marshmallows in the Wallmart parking lot, living for a few days hidden away in the clothes racks of Khols surviving on trail mix, or spending a night camping out in the jungle gym of the nearest park, Katniss-style.

All in all, however, I learned a lot in High School. How to make a 7 ft. pinata globe, how to raise my grade from a C to an A in a week, how to stay awake all night, how to sound like I know what i'm writing about in an essay, that vocabulary = money, Benjamin Franklin was a pervy old creep, and that I never want to read Moby Dick again. Ever. As a shoutout to those in my life who got me this far i'd like to thank my parents, my friends, God, and his lesser known saints, Wikipedia and Google.

Let's Blow This Popsicle Stand,

Hannah the "Adult"

1 comment:

  1. Hannah--
    So nice to see a post again. You are a truly inspired and clever writer and I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog. The charming wit and comic wisdom of your poignant ponderances eloquently connect the exuberance and random frivolity of youth with dynamic and applicable insights of wisdom and maturity. Congratulations on your completion of high school, and to your incredible Mom and Dad who guided you through! God bless you in whatever direction He leads your brilliant future. Any concrete plans yet?

    God's Blessings!
    Larry Workman (worked with your Mom & Dad in Japan.)