A Blog About An Asian Medical Student. Yes that's redundant.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What I Miss About High School. A Card to You.

What I Miss About High School.
A Card to You.
Nostalgia by David Poon.

As I ‘grow up’ to begin living as a working, rational, responsible adult, I visit my beloved hometown of Regina, Saskatchewan, less and less often. But as Christmas approaches, the holiday season, I make my pilgrimage back to the place that raised me.

One could assume one of two things about someone who reminisces greatly about high school:

1) That grades 9 – 12 were, in fact, reflective of all the greatness that person could ever achieve (such as high school sports heroes who insist on wearing their team jacket well into their thirties, “academics” whose only real talent was buttering up teachers, and pretty cheerleaders who grow ugly, fat, and David Poonish).

2) Students who faced such intense, psychological trauma in high school that the only way for them to continue life is to psychoanalyze that period for at least a decade. And go emo. I love emo.

Naturally, I would fit both categories quite well. I mean, for point 1, I was the president of my high school! And, for point 2, I was the single most unpopular, suckup to the teacher, IB Asian nerd president in the history of Campbell Collegiate (no joke – ask anyone who graduated with me).

But other than the fact that I’m a sad little puppy dog, there is a real reason that I love to look back.

It happens when I’m driving.

Well, yeah, I SHOULD look back when I drive so I don’t get rear ended.

I meant, like, look back on my life. Like, seven years ago.

You know, look back…

There is a long stretch of road that I travel frequently getting from the South End of Regina to the posh, surrounded by brick wall South End of Regina. It contains part of our Ring Road highway, and goes straight into our residential area. In short, this long stretch would leave me bored, narcoleptic, and likely in a hospital bed if I didn’t spend it with my mind wandering.

At this point, I should mention, it is the same stretch that I took every day for four years to get to high school.

In no particular order.

I miss rollerblading over the summer without having to worry about how much more effectively I can use that time. To have someone visit me at my door (sometimes a girl!) and spend an afternoon gliding on the streets.

I miss my rollerblading accidents. From my friends pushing me towards a small body of water near my house to teach me to stop, to my face first wipeout at a four way stop, to the great amusement of a lady who nearly ran me over. Oh, and the old man who began yelling advice to me from his car window as I struggled around the lake (“STRAIGHTEN YOUR LEG!!”).

I miss capture the flag in my backyard. And that time we guarded our flag so poorly it was stolen by bigger, older kids.

I miss walking around school with a severed Pooh Bear head on a stick without people glaring at me funny. Well, at least the second time I did it.

I miss karaoke nights at the Asian bar. If there was ever a bigger waste of time than hanging out with Asian kids, I didn’t care – it was high school. At least the girls were cute.

I miss taking the time to dress up for school. Not to impress someone – just because it looked nice.

I miss grade 9s looking up to me. I don't know why, but they did.

I miss the Backstreet Boys being popular.

I miss playing Virtual Tennis in my basement. And always winning.

In fact, I miss all the Poon Parties in my basement. For the record, the largest Poon Party to my recollection was 90 people at my place at once. To the people reading who don’t know what a Poon Party is, think high school bands, unofficial yearly awards, karaoke, Dance Dance Revolution, and chicken balls.

On that note, I miss Too Ply, the greatest high school band to almost accept me. I’ll write a blog about that sometime. And for the record, I had a hand in writing their hit song.

I miss Improv! And debate! And all those other things I’ve since sacrificed so I can be a “better” doctor.

I miss our IB (International Baccalaureate) study parties. Sure we “cared” about our marks, but we could still gamble some of our learning for some fun. Before we had to worry about how our education would affect our career, we could worry about how funny our presentation could be, with insider jokes and all.

Come to think of it, I miss in jokes where pretty much everyone understood them.

I miss not doing homework on a Friday night.

I miss not doing homework on a Friday night and not feeling guilty about it.

I miss not worrying about how my worries will actually become reality.

I miss the absolutely ridiculous wonder and obsession I had with being cool. I don’t think I ever got to BE cool, but damn it, IB Nerd Cool. Hah. I’m hilarious.

I miss fundraisers that didn’t have to be about Africa. No offence. And with that, I miss using Kleenix without being told about the environment.

I miss having wisdom teeth.

I miss throwing candy at my teachers in class. I miss (successfully) debating my teachers for bonus marks. I miss bonus marks that were actually bonus. I miss fighting over 2 percent on an exam as if my life depended on it (it did, BTW; don’t forget I was a premed).

I miss the IB adjustment.

I miss horribly awkward first dances. I doubt any Darude song could get my heart pounding as fast as the first dance with a girl I barely knew.

I miss Darude.

I miss that sortawarm/sortalight/sortafresh morning feeling that we got when we realized that we sat outside on my stairs for too long.

I miss going to school knowing that I would walk by virtually every single person I liked in one day, making plans for that weekend, never having to worry about making each moment count. There would be many more, and besides – they already did.

I MISS the world being that small, where everything outside was still romantic, still mysterious, still heart stoppingly, breathtakingly, beautiful and naieve. Where every day was still wondrous.

As we grow up, each day we are more disappointed, every moment we feel slightly more hopeless – we loose that enthusiasm, that willingness to believe that every moment had value in some way to our lives.

What I miss about high school is the sheer excitement of seeing every new experience with an inspired eye, not bogged in realistic boundaries, but limitless optimism. To feel the butterflies in your stomach before your first band concert, not because you were afraid, but because your performance still mattered to you. To greet to someone you admired and have them reply meant the world because real, worthy idols could still exist.

To smile in the hallway and know that it was normal, it was sincere, it was okay to make a new friend.

Most of us, typically, come home during this season. We go back to where we grew up, to at least some of the people who raised us, to reenact traditions we did over and over before. That timelessness, that joy, at least in my opinion, is where the holiday magic lies. This time of year, for a brief moment, I ask you to forget what limits we’ve set upon ourselves, and look at our lives with a sense of positive possibility.

Before my first day of grade 9, I was given a piece of advice from a family friend who has long since disappeared from my life. In helping me deal with my worry of not being liked, he told me,

“You’re all in the same situation – you’re all looking to make friends.”

By the time I finished writing this, I come to a very comforting realization.

I would never have had such fond memories of being home, had it not been for all of you, my friends.

Happy Holidays. I owe you so much.

- David

1 comment:

  1. I remember reading this the first time... it still makes me smile with memories of my own, strange, journey through high school. Thanks David.