A Bad Habit Is Outed And Bits Of 1987

In my last entry, I mentioned in an off-hand kind of way that I had been interviewed briefly by a reporter. That interview was actually a random question-and-answer thing that occurred because the reporter happened to be sitting right next to my table at the pub. Normally, I try to put reporter types off, because this happens to me semi-regularly, but for some reason I shrugged my shoulder and said “sure, why not”.

Cosmopolis has instituted new no-smoking legislation recently which prohibits smoking in public establishments and their adjoining patios. The reporter (who seriously looked like he could not have been more than seventeen) asked me how I felt about that as someone who smokes. I more than happily answered all of his questions and then went back to my beer. It was at this point that my friends pointed out that although I may no longer be living in Cosmopolis, my parents certainly are. Crap.

You see, as someone who graduated from high school fourteen years ago and someone who has been smoking for sixteen years, you would think that my parents might have acknowledged my habit or that I would have stopped hiding it by now. No siree bob. In my family, we don't talk about most things, at least most things about me, and smoking is one of them. I am sure that at some point they figured out the smoking thing, but neither side ever saw fit to mention it. So, here we are, sixteen years after I started, I'm all grown up, and I'm tense because my smoking habit has been publicly outted in the Cosmopolis local newspaper.

Sixteen years of denial and avoidance is nothing to scoff at. That kind of thing takes deep levels of commitment. If my parents don't read the paper, (which they may not, because they are going to the lake and often cancel it before they go), then I did not lay to waste sixteen years of concerted effort to maintain our relationship in the fashion that we have become accustomed to with my one, silly indiscretion. Here's to hoping, and wish me luck, because lord knows that it is only sensible and mature for someone my age to go skulking about and hiding her cigarettes from her family.

I am sounding more and more like someone fifteen years my junior as this site goes on. Forgive me. I think I kind of reverted back to 1987 a while back, and I'm still getting my bearings.

Speaking of 1987...

  • At one point during that year, I had managed to grow out my short hair enough and save enough money to sneak away to the mall after school for a haircut and a perm. The hairdresser kept asking me if I was sure about this, and boy was I ever. I had been waiting for so long to get my Simply Red hair, dreaming of this hair, and listening to “Holding Back the Years” on a cassette tape that I had recorded off the radio. I dyed my hair bright orange-red for authenticity's sake at a friend's house afterward and then went home for supper. My mother, of course, thought it was ridiculous and had me get a proper haircut the next day. I was so angry that she made me change it, but I felt like it was all worth it if only to have such cool hair for one day. I still like that hair, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
  • Since I am on the topic... The hair I had just before the Simply Red hair episode is nothing to brag about, either. I had little wispy tails all along the back at the bottom, and the side was combed straight up and over so that it all swept over the top of my head in one smooth helmet from my left ear to my right. I thought that was really cool for a while, too, and spent way too much of my allowance on gel and Aquanet hairspray. (If you are wondering if I really used Aquanet, yes I did, and that I am truly ashamed of).
  • My friends and I would hang out in D's basement listening to Lick the Tins, the Smiths, and the Gruesomes, occasionally sneaking into her older brother's room to play around with his black lights and see if he was hiding condoms anywhere. One time we did find condoms in the night table next to his bed, and we fell silent momentarily before bursting out with raucous laughter. Why did he keep them there? Did he actually sneak girls downstairs and have sex on that bed, the one we were sitting on? Who would have sex with him in the first place? We were all virgins and a little prudish, so this was all very ew inducing.
  • I had scented pencils for algebra. They were the kind that you never had to use a pencil sharpener on but simply took the used tip, pushed it into the back end of the pencil, and a new tip would push through the writing end. They smelled like oranges and lemons and were so much cooler than the regular yellow wood kind.
  • There was a beginners computer course that was available for the first time to grade ten students. We used those large, actually floppy floppy disks that were carried around in paper envelopes. The computer course did not even include any talk of the yet unknown internet. The class was more about getting used to typing on computer keyboards and giving simple C-prompt commands that would prove mostly useless in the very near future.
  • Now that I think about it, I think my mother must have been going through a stressful time in 1987, because my bag lunches took a very strange turn. I know that I could have made my own, but by the time I was ready to go to school in the morning, she would already have it waiting for me on the counter. I never knew what it was going to be until I opened up the bag in the cafeteria. One time, absolutely everything in my lunch had gone bad. There were a couple of mould spots on the bread, the lunch meat was off, and my chocolate milk was sour. On another occasion, my lunch was orange-themed. I had orange juice, an orange, and a marmalade and processed cheese slice sandwich. What kind of sandwich is that?! She is actually a pretty good cook, and I'm glad that she has apparently recovered from what must have been a terrible year.
  • I was part of an advanced English class, and we were split into groups of three, given video cameras and told to “expess ourselves” and to also fit poetry into the project somehow. Boo. I hated stupid team projects like that, but I was in luck, because so did the other members of my team. So, off we went. We spent the afternoon filming old graffiti in the basement of the school for a music video for Iggy Pop's “Real Wild Child”. We were given an 85% for our efforts. It was at that moment that I realized that if people assumed you were smart, you sometimes didn't have to do too much to get by. This doesn't always hold up, but sometimes it can stretch pretty far.

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