Sunday, December 6, 2009


Back in school we used to have to do these writing exercises, freeforming or freewriting or freestyling, whatever you want to call it, anyway the teacher would give you ten or fifteen or twenty minutes to just write whatever was in your head. And I never really liked the assignment all that much, I didn’t find it all that inspiring and frankly I was embarrassed at the actual thoughts floating around in my head. Because you know it’s not like I’m solving algorithms or pondering World Peace or any of that kind of stuff. No I’m more likely considering cutting bangs or wondering how much weight I can lose before so-and-so’s wedding, so I can show up looking all fabulous in some sexy-but-classy outfit I have yet to figure out how to afford, and every girl who’s ever been bitchy to me in my life—oh that’s right little Susie Sheridon I’m looking at you—will be there, will somehow be related to or friends with the bride or groom, and they’ll be looking at me enviously, wanting my svelte body or my thick hair or my smile, which I flash both brilliantly and modestly. Oh yes. And the men there will all be single and gorgeous and the smartest, funniest, charming-est one will pick me—yes, me!—for a dance when the lights dim and the music softens.

That’s when the loopy crazy hijinks kicks in, like some kind of British romantic comedy, where everyone sputters and smiles and says nothing while saying everything really loudly, and Hugh Grant or Colin Firth or some fumbling but charming Englishman named Darcy comes in and after a few missteps and almost-but-not-quites, the girl gets the boy of her dreams.

But I’m already bored with this, and since I’m freewriting I can change topic without much segue.

When I was younger and liked boys all you had was the telephone. He either called or he didn’t. And if your mom was on the phone you died a little inside, because what if he was trying to call and couldn’t get through? I’d pace in front of my mom, who would be sort of leaning up against the wall, one hand twirling the tightly coiled cord while her elbow was propped up against the kitchen counter. She’d laugh and gossip and talk with her sister or her mother or one of her girlfriends for what seemed like hours—agonizing!—and I’d tap my foot on the linoleum floor or drum my fingers on the kitchen table, giving her pointed looks until finally she’d cup her hand over the receiver and say “You’d better watch that attitude young lady or you won’t be able to use this phone for a week!” and I’d stomp off to my room and slam the door shut and throw myself on my bed sobbing, because everything was so unfair, I mean my life was nearly over, my social life—as a matter of fact the course of my entire existence—was on the line and all my mom could do was talk about today’s episode of The Donahue Show with her sister. Didn’t she know, didn’t she understand that if The Boy couldn’t reach me, he might call Susie Sheridon instead, out of sheer boredom or desperation of course—who would think that pock-faced pug-nosed little snot would be worthy of The Boy’s time, really—and then that’s it. He’ll fall under some Bitch spell she concocted and they’ll get married and I will live my life as a sad matronly librarian ala Donna Reed’s alternate persona in It’s a Wonderful Life. Which is such a depressing movie, because she loved him so much and he really wasn’t all that into her, Jimmy Stewart was kind of a selfish ass in that film I thought. I mean even after he’s back home and picks up his daughter it’s still like, “oh these people like me and frankly without them I’d probably be dead so I guess they’re worthy of my attention now.”

But anyway my point being that back then you just had to wait it out on the telephone. And before call-waiting and caller id you could still at the very least convince yourself that he actually was trying to call you—even if he wasn’t, you could reassure yourself of that while you were lying in bed awake at night, staring at the cottage-cheese-y build up on your ceiling and wondering what the appeal is really, of having that ugly rough texture on your wall or ceiling.

But now, a boy has so many ways to reject you. And there are so many outlets to check. You have landline phones with conferencing and call waiting and caller id. You have cell phones with voicemail and texting. He could contact you on Facebook or Myspace—but really, who uses Myspace anymore? I would be a little concerned about dating a boy who is behind the times enough to still use his Myspace page as his prime social network—or he could read your blog or better yet, write about you in his blog or he could follow you on Twitter.

So basically he has a million different ways to contact you and if you find yourself wired up until the wee hours, with your cell phone and laptop plugged in—and you keep checking your email and updating your Facebook status to let everyone know that you’re home and available—then basically you are being rejected in a million different ways and that’s really depressing and makes me wish I was 12 years old again, pacing in front of my mother who is talking to her best friend about Oprah and her yo-yo dieting issues.

But nobody wants to read about this. That’s why I need to brush up on my stance on solving the World Hunger crisis and freewrite about that instead. This is why I hate freewriting.


yankeedog said...

I remember doing that exercise in school as well. The teacher explicitly told us, "Write what comes into your mind". After I handed in my (admittedly jumbled) writings, I got chewed out and asked why I handed in a mess like that.

A good life lesson, that: Do what you're told-get screwed over anyway. And they say the educational system doesn't do a good job of teaching kids!

Glad to hear someone else did this freewriting thing also.

Enjoy Medway said...

I never did this exercise.

But boy is it entertaining when someone else does it.

Barnesm said...

I wanted to read about this.

YsambartCourtin said...

Susie Sheridon was rubbish in the sack.

The Wife said...

I remember those days, impatiently waiting for your mother/brother to get off the phone, wondering if he had called. Nostalgia and romantic comedy is much better than world peace. Thanks for the classic trip down memory lane.

Nautilus said...

I think I refused to do freewriting as I couldn't write that fast.

Mind you I worked out the easiest way to get an A in English was to disagree with everything the teacher said and then argue passionately and clearly.

Havsy said...

Should be more Freestyling. I think I shall post some on my blog as Havsy freestyle is true freestyle.

Abe said...

I enjoyed reading this, but can't say I've ever done it myself, unfortunately.

jennicki said...

YD: Oh yes did it all the time in school.

Medway: Thanks m'dear!

Barnesm: You are such a sweetheart.

Bart: Thank you, I knew it thanks for the confirmation.

B's Wife: Thank you very much!

Naut: That's the opposite of my English A's...I agreed with everything they said and floated my way through!

Havsy: You are the king of freestylin'.

Abe: Thank you, you should try it! Bet you'd do well.