04 January 2009

Take a Page from my book … and you can keep it

In my first ever Pathetic Blog Survey, one person cast a vote to have me write about why I never discuss life in the town in which I was born. I’ve put off doing so because … well, obviously I don’t like to discuss it, or that wouldn’t have been an option on the survey. But I’ve run out of things to blog about (television’s been dull lately) so here goes.

Imagine that you had an embarrassing, invasive, slightly painful medical procedure performed – a colonoscopy for instance. Maybe a lot of people know you went in for a colonoscopy. Maybe they’ve had colonoscopies as well. Maybe they’re wondering how yours went – after all, theirs weren’t bad at all, and some of these people liked them so much they decided to get one every day.

Would you actually consider discussing your colonoscopy with any of these people? Would you want to get into the details of it – removing your trousers, putting on a paper gown, having something inserted into an orifice that is for all intents and purposes a one-way street? Would you discuss individual polyps? How about the lingering arse pain that resulted?

I sure as hell wouldn’t. If I’ve experienced something humiliating and painful, I shut my gob about it and repress it until my therapist makes me talk about it. I don’t voluntarily bring it up and I sure as sod don’t bring it up every chance I get.

Living in Page was like an 18-year-long colonoscopy. It sucked. It was miserable. I hated it. It left its own kind of scarring. I’m happiest pretending that I didn’t completely exist until I moved to the Valley of the Sun six years ago. As far as I’m concerned, I never lived in Page.

And neither did anyone else. Being in Page can hardly be considered living. The place didn’t even get a Wal-Mart until I was seven or 8 (1990 or 91) and it wasn’t even Super. Just a regular Wal-Mart, and not a particularly good one. It had three aisles of pet beds and shelf after shelf of Black hair care products and relaxers despite there being at last count maybe ten black people (mostly men) in a town of 6,000.

There is one middle school and one high school. Two elementary schools, but for more than half of my schooling I was with the same group of jerks and idiots, almost none of whom cared if I lived or died. So the girls that were b****es to me in sixth grade got to be b****es to me in seventh and eighth grade, too, and throughout all four years of high school. I’m just saying, a change in bullies would have done me good.

I’m the youngest of four, which meant that every teacher I had thought of me instantly and prejudicially in terms of my sister or one of my brothers – unfortunate for me since the younger of my brothers (who is closest to my age) was a real arrogant jackass in high school and he failed to make a favorable impression on 90% of the teaching staff at the high school (Hi, Chris). Many a teacher looked at me on the first day of class and said, “Oh, you’re Chris’s sister,” in the same tone that one would use to say, “Oh, you’re a convicted felon.”

The one teacher who remembered Holly best was, sadly, my sewing teacher. My sister is a much better seamstress than I am on account of I have very little patience and I get lazy and cut corners. So with Mrs. Buck it was always, “Well when your sister was in my class she made the most beautiful (insert garment name here) …” and then she’d hold up whatever atrocity I’d serged together in a rush and suggest I not work with silks or satins for a while as she marked a “C” in her grade book. Well, I haven’t worked with satins since then, Mrs. Buck. I hope you’re happy.

I was the Rodney Dangerfield of Page, AZ. I got no respect. I had maybe three or four teachers in my entire academic career who actually endeavored to work with me as an individual (albeit one with exacting standards of morality and grammar for a fifteen- or sixteen-year-old). And even one of them often said, “When your brother was in my class …” although I have to admit I never asked which brother and silently hoped it had been Scott.

I’ve glossed over the bullying and verbal abuse I was subject to because those were like a combination colonoscopy and gynecological exam – best left unvisited except by trained professionals like my intrepid therapist, John. Suffice it to say that there was many a morning I woke up angry that I hadn’t managed to die in my sleep the night before, and that I faked sick dozens of times to get out of going to school and facing such nastiness.

I concede, as a small child I was happy in Page. I didn’t know what a pathetic little hellhole I was in. I had my friends Carrie and Rachel and my blankie and my toys and my family and that was all I needed. But that was such a small fraction of my life that it hardly bears mentioning in this little rant.

I hope this satisfies the question as to why I never mention Page. And even if it doesn’t, tough. I’m not going to bring it up ever again if I can help it. And if I can’t help it … well, there are a number of psychotropic drugs out there that will help quell the urge.

It is human nature to avoid discussing unpleasant things. Living in Page (in my experience) is the most unpleasant thing I can imagine. So I avoid discussing it. And I may never discuss it again.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and, in the words of the starfish on “Finding Nemo,” find my happy place - which I can guarantee you isn’t in Coconino County.


Holly said...

I never lived in Page, but if I did, I'm sure I'd never talk about it either. It would probably have been a bad experience for me too. That is, IF I had ever had the awful misfortune of growing up in Page. Just IF.

schop7 said...

Jill was it really that bad? i hated it too of course and that is only IF i lived there as well ;)