Monday, June 19, 2006
THE NERD'S UNDELIVERED LETTER TO HER COUSIN, circa 1992
*The Nerd in Jr. High
I was digging through some of my old folders when I found a letter that I’d written to my cousin back in 1992. Back in the day, I was famous for writing long, detailed letters that I never mailed out. This one was meant to go to my cousin F, who was living in Pakistan at the time. I was 13 and, clearly, boy crazy. Read it and enjoy; I’ve included parenthetical comments:
Dear Pinky (that’s F’s nickname):
How are you?! Uncle Talat told me that you were waiting for my letter but I already sent one to you (yah, and by “I already sent one to you,” I actually meant that I’d written her a letter that was sitting in a sealed envelope somewhere in my room with no hopes of ever being mailed out)! It probably got lost in the mail, so I guess I’ll just write you a whole new letter!
I’m not sure if I’ve told you about this new series of books I’ve been reading called Sweet Dreams. I’ve only read the first two books in the series, Play Me a love Song and Backstage Romance. I’m keeping my eyes open for more Sweet Dreams. Guess what? I’m back into Sweet Valley High. I (insert a heart here) them. They really are the best! (Just for the record, I wasn’t only reading teeny bopper romances in elementary school. I started reading Stephen King in the 2nd grade—no joke—and was reading the classics. I swear. I don’t want this to tarnish my reputation)
Summer vacation started three days ago on the 10th. I got straight A’s on my report card and made first honors!
We went on four field trips this past year. We visited Newark Symphony Hall on the first field trip of the year. It was pretty boring because we had to listen to the orchestra play music and we saw Mr. Mezz, the 8th grade teacher sleeping! The second field trip was boring too because we went to Newark Symphony Hall again!!! But it was a little better than the first time (I wonder why it was better the second time around…).
Our third trip turned out to be a complete blast! We went to the New Jersey State Aquarium in Camden (Camden is a pretty scary town but Walt Whitman spent his final years there. We should’ve just visited his house. Sigh), which is south of Jersey City and very far away. It took us around two hours to get there but we had loads of fun on the bus (I remember that the sluttier girls were dancing and shaking their butts at passing vehicles). We saw so many different kinds of sharks and fish at the aquarium! Ilene’s mother, Mrs. Sosa, was the girls’ chaperone and she’s the coolest. Shazia, Roselle, Ilene, Irene, Rakhee, Rita, and Shafaq were in my group. When we were leaving the aquarium, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to find a group of BOYS (so, I’m going to put in caps everything that is underlined and bolded in my letter, since Blogger won’t let me format as such online) who looked like they were around 15 or 16 years old. We just kept on walking but then one of the boys, who was VERY CUTE, asked me for my number (I don’t see how this is possible. Surely, someone as cute as a button like Shafaq or Irene was standing next to me, and this guy wanted her number and I only thought that he was asking for my number. If only you could see my pics from this period of my life, you’d understand. Perhaps I’ll post one up). My friends and I giggled and continued walking. When we got outside the aquarium, we discovered that our group was the first one to complete the tour and we had to wait for the others to get done. While we were waiting, someone pinched Roselle on her BEHIND!!! (Hahahahahahahahah! Oh man, I remember this. She was LIVID). She was VERY angry. Mrs Sosa blamed us for everything, saying that we’d been acting like flirts, which I guess is true. My friends and I are usually quiet by ourselves but when we get together we act crazy. When boys at the aquarium walked by us, we giggled and this encouraged them to talk to us (Gosh, I make us sound like sluts. We were anything but sluts). For example, while we were waiting outside for the others, this one boy went down the row with us, asking each one of us if he could sit on our lap (to be honest, I was sitting last in the row and he sort of skipped over me). Of course we all said no! But I can see how our giggling might have made him want talk to us (ah, dur).
Later, we ate lunch in a park next door to the aquarium. Shazia, Roselle and I were eating together and these two OLD police officers walked by us and we, being in crazy moods, offered them some potato chips. Pretty soon we were talking to them like they were old friends (this, in retrospect, is a little creepy. I wonder these middle-aged cops could possibly have to say to 13 year old girls). As you can see, our field trip to the aquarium was lots of fun.
While our final field trip wasn’t as good as the one to the aquarium, it was funny because of one incident. On this trip, the 6th and 7th grades walked to Liberty State Park (because Catholic schools are poor as shit). Once we got to the park, my friends Shazia, Roselle, Arshia, Rita and I were pretty bored, so our teacher, Ms. Sobers, took the five of us exploring. We walked, speed walked, and jogged around the park (I can only imagine how out of breath I must’ve been). We saw a replica of Henry Hudson’s ship, The Half Moon. We also jogged past this large barge and saw a very CUTE guy working inside the barge (I still remember what this dude looked like. He had a long scar that went from his left temple to the left side of his chin. He was handsome in spite of it). On our jog back, we discovered that the barge was actually a museum. Ms. Sobers asked the guy if admission was free (I suspect she was kicking it to him) and he said that it was but he had to drop something off somewhere and so, we’d have to wait for him to return before we could get in. He had the nerve to leave us standing there as he STROLLED away (doesn’t seem like Ms. Sobers’ kicking it to him was very effective). He was gone forever and, when he returned, he was licking a popsicle.
The first thing we saw when we entered the museum was a very large structure in the corner. It was very strange and looked like a giant slinky (for real. It was a contorted giant slinky). We asked popsicle guy if the structure symbolized something and he said “Nope.” We asked him if the metallic tubes attached to the top of the structure were chimes and he said “Nope.” We asked if the metallic tubes or the structure made sounds, if it was a musical instrument and he said “Nope” (seriously, what a bloody jackass). Finally, Ms. Sobers asked him if he was eating a popsicle. He smiled and said “Yes.” What an idiot (I’m glad that, even back in the day, I could recognize a jackass/idiot) And then he started asking us questions:
TOUR GUIDE who knows what a barge is?
We were quiet until Roselle said: a very big thing. (clearly, we were trying to be cheeky)
TG: What kind of a big thing? What does it do?
Sabila: It transports things.
TG: Right! What does it transport?
TG: Would you like to be lying in a barge with 50,000 people? I don’t think so.
TG: Exactly. Now, what pulls a barge?
Shazia: A boat.
TG: What’s a boat?
Rita: A piece of wood that floats on the water (to Ms. Sober’s chagrin, we were all cracking up and playing along).
TG: (he explains what a boat is) So, what pulls a barge?
Roselle: Er…A boat?
TG: Do you really think that a regular little boat could pull a barge across the river to New York? I don’t think so.
Shazia: A speed boat?
TG: Um, no.
Rita: A tug boat?
As you can see, we were acting very dumb and were cracking up the entire time. But I haven’t even told you about the funniest part of the day!
TG: Let’s go see the captain’s quarters. The captain’s quarters are where the captain sleeps during the voyage.
We followed him to an extremely small room. There was a very small bed crowded in the corner and popsicle guy sat down on it.
TG: What’s your name?
I thought that he was asking all of us, so I turned to Rita, who was first in line, expecting her to say her name first. But Rita didn’t say anything. When I turned around to look at the tour guide I saw that he was asking me.
TG: What’s YOUR name?
Sabila: Oh. Sabila.
TG: What a beautiful name. Come and sit next to me, Sabila.
He was patting the space next to him on the bed. I sat down next to him as he described how the captain and his entire family slept on that tiny little bed. The bed was hard and it hurt my behind. I saw Roselle cracking up, trying to make me crack up. I started to giggle and turned my face away from the guide towards the wall so that he couldn’t see that I was cracking up (if I remember correctly, we were all on the verge of dissolving into giggles for the duration of our time in the barge). I guess he noticed because the next thing he said was, “You can go back to your friends now if you’d like.”
It was a complete blast! Yo! It’s 1AM and I have to go to sleep. I guess this letter was all about field trips! Hope I didn’t bore you too much (ahem. I’m almost glad it didn’t make its way to her). I miss you and please write me an equally long letter!
Love ya (Love ya? Seriously?)
XXXXXXX+OOOOOOO (I need a