How Peer Pressure Ruined My Ears

A year ago my friend invited me to the Britney Spears concert. Her name is Anne. If you’ve read my posts for a while you may remember her from the Baseball post or from the Flash Fiction post a few days ago. Anne is great, silly, innocent, and fun. She grabs new experiences in arm bars when they come her way and she’s always trying to learn something new. But she isn’t perfect. Sometimes she is a bit too silly and she doesn’t realize when she’s doing something that isn’t very funny.

At the concert I took ear plugs. I know, I know, It’s a concert, why would you take ear plugs if the whole point of it is to hear the performer? But let me tell you this, even through ear plugs you can hear a concert loud and clear. Do you really think they crank the speakers that loud so that everyone can hear? No, it’s because they want you to feel the music rattling your bones, for it to be the only thing you can hear. 

So we sat in the concert, Anne and I, she shook her head as I put the ear plugs in. “You’re no fun,” she said. And it didn’t do anything at first. But after more teasing I decided, what’s the worst that could happen? I took them out.

That night I came home thrilled. The concert was great, except that the people beside us kept spilling their beer all over us. But then when I got into the house and it was dead quiet, I started to panic. My ears were ringing. I tried to sleep but I couldn’t, I was too nervous. What if it didn’t stop? This had never happened before. I’d heard enough horror stories about Tinnitus that I thought I’d be smart enough to protect myself against it.

Two hours later I got up for the third time and paced around the living room. My mom asked why I couldn’t sleep and I caved in, telling her that I hadn’t worn earplugs. She was furious. She kept accusing me of giving into peer pressure. She said if I ever thought of doing that again, I wasn’t going to another concert. I denied that Anne pressured me into it. Anne wasn’t like that, she wouldn’t do that to me. But as I continued to think about it, she really did. She just didn’t realize that her taunts were hurting me. If she did, she would have stopped. Needless to say, I promised my mom that it would never happen again and I tried to go to sleep, this time succeeding.

My ears didn’t stop ringing that night. They kept ringing softer and softer months after the concert. There came a point where if I didn’t think about it, I couldn’t hear it, but there were still some nights that it took me hours to fall asleep. Today I don’t hear it at all, thank god, but my ears are still sensitive, and it comes back in short bursts every couple months.

Tonight I’m going to the Taylor Swift concert and I’m going to wear ear plugs. Even though the Britney concert wasn’t a very good experience, it taught me that you may have different needs than others. Anne didn’t need to wear ear plugs. I did.  I shouldn’t have given into peer pressure and taken them out. That’s that. If you don’t think that something is good for you, don’t feel pressured to do it even though your gut is telling you not to. It’s your body, take care of it.

Have a great weekend. : )

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Flash Fiction: How The Math Exam Should Have Ended

“Grade nines, you may start your exam.” 

My hand shot forward, flipping open the yellow booklet. There were short instructions; show your work, read carefully, use pencil on the bubble sheet, blah, blah, blah. I got this. Then I saw the first question. My face fell and I could feel beads of sweat gathering above brows.

Multiply the what by what? Did we even learn this? My eyes skittered around the gym, looking for others who were as lost as I was, but all I saw were pencils filling in the bubble sheets. I looked back at the paper. Okay, next question.

My eyes bulged. Solve that? Was that thing even considered math? It was just an angry jumble of numbers and letters. I cursed under my breath and continued to flip through the pages, trying to find something I knew how to do. 

20 minutes later I’d finished one question and guessed about five. Should I just guess the whole thing? It’s better than nothing right? But I’m failing! This is not good, not good, not good, not good— Wait a minute. Esther was sitting in front of me, math wiz extraordinaire. She was small too, so I could easily see what she was writing from over her shoulder. A, B, D, D, D, C, A, A, E, B… Okay, multiple choice is over. Now what?

I drummed my fingers impatiently on the desk, looking up at the clock. I was starting to sweat again. Oh god, I was already failing math. If I didn’t get at least a 70 percent I’d fail. AGAIN. No, stop it, I had to try at least. I looked back to my paper, trying to remember something, anything. Any number to the power of zero equals… zero? Shoot, I had no idea. I looked back to Esther, then at the teachers. None of them were giving me weird looks. I took that as a green light and nonchalantly brushed my formula sheet off the edge of the desk. Esther bent down to get it and she was out of my view for just a few seconds. I scanned over the paper, absorbing as much information as I could. Esther handed me my sheet and I muttered a thank you. Any number to the power of zero equals one, I wrote. 

I kept doing this, but Esther was smart. She caught on after the third try and made a point of closing her exam book and covering her bubble sheet before bending to pick up my papers. Then she continued, hunched over, annoyance emanating from her like heat waves.

Plan B. I waited until no teachers were looking and then slipped my iPhone into my calculator case as fast as I could. To someone looking from the front of the gym, it would just look like I was just solving another question.

R U getting NE of this?, I texted Anne, my friend who was sitting a few rows down. I counted a few seconds and then I heard the ring from the back of the gym. 200 heads turned in unison. I cringed. Anne was frozen in her seat.

“Having fun, are you?”

I jumped, hitting the gum covered desk bottom with my knee and sending papers and pencils sliding to the floor. Esther even turned to pick them up again, but when she saw who was behind me she whipped back with a terrified look on her face. She glanced at me before she turned totally though, and I saw a hint of sympathy. My math teacher, Mr. Christie, looked over my shoulder at my phone. He was six foot five, 100 percent muscle, and practically breathing down my neck.

“You know what this means, right?”

“I-I fail?” I squeaked.

“Again.” He picked my exam up from the floor. When I looked back he was grinning. It’s like he wanted to see me in summer school. “Come, you don’t just get a free pass when you cheat on an exam anymore. Rules have changed.”

I gathered my things reluctantly. Ugh, my mom was gonna kill me.

Everyone was looking at me, but seeing Mr. Christie glaring back, they turned to their sheets. 

Christie lead us out into the halls. They were dead silent. Everyone was still in the exam and it would be another twenty minutes until anyone was allowed to leave. Christie stopped by a door beside the boys bathroom. I’d seen it before, but never really known where it went. Into another room? If it did then it had to be a closet. Was he going to lock me in a closet for an hour? So unfair. 

To my surprise there were stairs behind the door, leading into the dank, LED lit basement. I took a tentative step down. My gut told me to run for it. It was the last exam after all, and then it was summer. What did I have to lose?

“Hurry up, Epiphany. It’s not that bad.”

I followed him, but only because I decided it would be a good story  to tell later on. Yeah, and then he dragged me into the basement. Like, what even? 

The basement was just like any old basement, musty and ugly. No one had tried to make this place look nice. It was just filled with twisting brass pipes and pressure valves. 

“Come back here.”

I followed obediently, admittedly curious as to what was behind the next door he was unlocking. The room was dark, but he ushered me in. I heard the click of the door closing and the flick of the light switch. I gasped. We were in a dinner hall and all of my teachers were there, holding forks and knives. Large forks and knives. That’s when I decided this wouldn’t make a very good story after all. I kicked Mr. Christie in the stomach and grabbed his keys from the floor, then I opened the door, and shut it behind me.

It was locked, but I could hear banging. What the heck was going on!? This was what they did to cheating students? It’s bad to cheat but not that bad. I ran up the stairs and jostled the handle. Locked. Shoot.

There were like, a million keys on this thing!

Okay Epiphany, calm down. You’ve got nothing to lose. Even if it looks like your teachers are going to eat you alive, at least you have a slim chance of survival.

The door was shaking. My heart pumped, I tried key after key, none of them fitting.

“Hurry up, hurry up!” I muttered. I heard a crack and I turned, they had broken right through  the wood door. It was only a matter of time. I tried another key.

They were out and tripping over themselves to get to me. 

“Shoot, shoot, shoot!” 

Mr. Christie was bounding up the stairs, giant utensils in hand. He reached for me. 

The key fit, I opened the door, and ran like hell, screaming my head off. Then bang, I threw the outside door open, Mr. Christie lost behind me. Sunlight hit my face. I kept running. I was free. It was summer.

 

 

 

AN: Well that escalated quickly. Too quickly? What do you think. I guess I was just so glad that I’m finally done all of my exams and it’s officially summer! By the way, this is absolutely, positively  fiction. Esther is actually one of my best friends and the exam wasn’t that bad. Also, Mr. Christie is at least five inches shorter than me and is super nice. He’d never try to eat me alive 😉 I don’t even have an iPhone. At least it was fun writing this. Have a great summer!

 

 

 

 

My Family

ImageWhat’s to tell today? It’s just a lazy Friday morning in IT class. I’ve finished my final project and now it’s just free time for the rest of the classes. So why not tell you a bit more about me? Here’s an important part that I’ve let out, my family.

I’m one of two middle children in a family of four kids. I have two older brothers and a little sister. Then I have a mom and a dad, who divorced a few years ago. I see my dad a few times a month, but it’s mostly just my mom in the house. Mom also has a boyfriend. Is he my family? Sure, why not.

My sister is Alexandra. She’s stubborn, dramatic, and loud. She’s also lazy, and she gets angry easily. Not many girls can say this without a sour look on their face, but I love my little sister. I read her my stories and spend hours watching Supernatural. When we walk home together she holds my arm and tells me everything about her day.

My brothers name is Quincy. He’s almost eighteen and one of those people who likes things to be organized. When he was in primary school his teacher paid him to clean the classroom. Today you can find him fixing the fence or trying to convince me to watch Firefly. He’s also working on a metal art business

I’ll tell you about the rest of the bunch later, for now have an amazing weekend, and if you have exams next week like I do, good luck.

 

Novel Writing

Recently I finished writing the first draft of my first novel. It’s 185 pages handwritten and barely 100 pages typed, but it’s probably the biggest accomplishment a 14 year old girl could make. It took me awhile to start the second, mostly because I didn’t know what was going to happen. Every time I started to write the intro to the new story it would melt slowly into meaningless walks in the park and morning routines. It wasn’t until yesterday that I actually sat down and planned out what would happen in the first place. I never thought I had it in me to plan a book from start to finish like that. Afterwards I started writing once again, this time with a goal in mind. What about you, fellow novel writers? Do you like to know where you’re going while writing a new book, or do you prefer the adventure of not having a clue in the world as to what may happen?

Surfing the Web, Otherwise Known as Procrastination

Let me give you an idea of what the weather is like outside. Hailing. Hailing so loud and so hard that I can barely hear myself think. I kid you not, these ice balls of death are the size of marbles. Luckily Alexandra (my sister) and I arrived home before the storm hit. Wait? Did it stop? It sounds like it. People are emerging from the shelter of stranger’s houses and walking on their disgruntled way. 

I’m sorry I haven’t been able to post in a few days. Exams are upon me and I have to study. Or, I was trying to study. Out of my five classes for this term we are either at an extreme low level of work because all we’re doing is review, or the opposite, working our asses off to finish off whatever we have to before exams. Or, even worse, actually doing an exam. I woke up more tired than I usually am because I couldn’t fall asleep (I’ll explain later). I trudged to school in my new haircut (quite nice if I may say so myself). Then after half an hour of my friends gasping at my new bob, I started my first class, English. The English exam runs from Monday until Friday for a total of five hours. That’s five hours too many if you ask me, especially at the very end of the year when I’m ready to quit everything. The topic of the exam is entertainment, and how media desensitizes us. 

A few hours later I did my last Geography test, which I was barely awake through. But before we started scribbling wildly at our bubble sheet Mrs. Zix explained what we’d be doing for the next three days, a project worth ten percent of our grade. Yippee.

And now I’m home, ready to pass out. I can remember about ten thousand things I should be doing right now, but first I need to tell you about yesterday.

The started off with me making my mom coffee, because she said that she would cut my hair when she woke up. So she got up and a few hours later she took a good five inches off my previous do. I haven’t had it this short since when I was learning how to print. Dang, I looked fine.

Next I read the book Anne (my friend) lent me. It’s the Darkest Powers Trilogy by Kelly Armstrong. It’s quite good, but it gives me strange dreams if I read it before bed. Later I went on the computer, completely ignoring the fact that I had a test to study for. I checked my e-mail, because my friend Cindy still has my book from half a year ago and I want it back. She didn’t reply but I did find something else. It was a message from Stumble Upon. I signed up for it years ago. My password dated as far back as I could remember. So I started stumbling through the web, finding the most interesting things. Like a website where there was a play list for every situation and a site that made hipster text posts easy

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 But I also found a website full of the freakiest urban legends that drifted around the internet. This I will not link to, because it was scarring. One depicted the story of a Sponge Bob episode where Squidward committed suicide. Then I tried to go to sleep. Then I tried harder. And then I gave up and went downstairs for some tea. Then I read a book about vegetable gardens, went back upstairs, and still couldn’t sleep. When I woke up I felt my soul was crying for the bed like a lost lover. 

Well at least I’ll learn never to do that again. That’s the good thing about mistakes, you seldom repeat them after you’ve tasted the consequences. For instance. I’ve lost half of my study notes for Geography because I’m so disorganized. I’ll make sure to keep them all in the same place next year, but in the meantime, I’d better go find them. 

Baseball and Friends

Today was supposed to be senior skip day, the day where all the seniors pack up their things and head to the beach. I don’t know what the big deal is over it, but some schools in the city have made severe punishments to keep kids from participating in it. My school took a different approach. They called off the afternoon and made a baseball game between the teachers and the seniors.

My friends and I, Anne, Jacinda, Esther, Jericho, and a few others who came and went, sat in the rickety old bleachers and cheered. Jacinda, Anne and I are the sort of people who cheer for everything and everyone, singing to the songs and fist pumping. Esther is the one who says, “Who are these people? Do you know these people? I don’t know these people,” and shakes her head. She’s tiny and bony, less than half my weight, and walks with dancers poise, like she may take flight at any moment. Anne is loud and the most immature fifteen year old I have ever met. She had a baby face and it’s often red from laughter as she tries to make Esther punch herself (stop punching yourself, why are you punching yourself?). Jacinda is a year older than us, but she’s from the Philippines where kids go to school a year after Canadians. She’s sweet and she loves books and movies. She’s also one of those girls who isn’t afraid to talk to people or be close to them. She screams for absolutely no reason much of the time, which generates many perplexed glances toward our general area. Jericho is smart, very smart. He’s also shy. But he’s very nice.

I spent the baseball game with them. Before the game Jacinda drove us back in her mom’s van because she has a learners permit. It was strange. I’ve never been in a car with a driver who’s younger than 30. In a year I’ll be doing the exact same thing. 

There was a hot dog eating contest between two homeroom teachers because they were tied for points. It was a bit sickening to watch, seeing as I’ve been vegetarian my whole life, but there were sardines on one of them so I wanted to see the reaction of the person who had to eat it. The crowd was so big that I could only see one person stuffing their face, but I’m sure it would have been priceless.

The game ended half an hour before the end of the school day. Jacinda left and Anne, Jericho, Esther and I made our separate ways home. Anne lives five minutes away in the condos parallel to the school, Esther goes to a bus stop outside of an old folks home, and Jeri bikes. I have to walk to my sisters middle school and take the bus with her from there, then it’s a twenty minute ride from the suburbs to downtown and a ten minute walk home. 

We live in an okay area, not too bad, but not too good. There are people who walk around in high end, fashionable clothing, and there are those few who look dirty and walk funny. But my neighborhood is green, that’s what I like about it. And the smell of old trees, moist soil, and gardens in a windy city like mine is always sweet. The bleeding hearts are blooming and the perennials are emerging. The trees arc over the street and leaves splay over parked cars. It’s starting to feel like summer.

My High School At A Glance

Since I prefer not to mention names, I’ll call my school Kaluga Heights. It’s a large school, with perhaps one of the best curricula in the province. The teachers are great, it’s nestled by a beautiful field full of tall grasses and forest, and it has a terrible reputation. Nobody likes Kaluga except for the teachers who have been their for half of their life. It’s not even that bad. Still, no one has anything good to say about it. “The druggies go there” and “it’s too big, the teachers forget your name” are some of the things you here flying around. So I was a bit scared coming in this year as a freshman. But after a few months, I realized I had nothing to worry about. And as the year comes to the close, exam jitters start to creep up on us, and the summer smells like mowed grass and chlorine, it only seems right to look back on this past year and all of the memories it brought with it.

Like my English class for example. You may be surprised that English is my lowest mark. Currently a 93, I’ll give you that, but still four marks away from ruining my strait 90s. His name is, hm, let’s go with Mr. McDowell. Mr. McDowell is loud, obnoxious, and takes every chance he gets to start on a meaningless rant that takes up two whole classes. It was all fine and dandy before second semester started. But then kids failed and classes changed. Three kids transferred to our class, my friend Nancy, a boy named Derek who is (as far as I know) in jail, and a boy named Melvin. Let’s just say this, Melvin is either a genius or an idiot. I cannot begin to explain all of the stupid things he’s said, from calling Lysander from A Midsummer Night’s Dream Salamander, suggesting that Athena’s Roman name was Minervana, and going on about winning the lottery as a 50-50 chance, because you either win or you don’t. These aren’t even the bad ones. The reason I think that he’s a genius, is because it works every time. Mr. McDowell goes on a half hour rant about how stupid he is and how if he wrote down every stupid thing Melvin said, he’s have a best-seller. Melvin and about four other boys yank the gingerly held steering wheel and drive the gullible Mr. McDowell off course. 

It’s hilarious. Even after you’ve told us about every single time you’ve punched a guy in the face, I hope you’re my teacher next year. And Melvin, well, I just hope you make it to grade ten English.

Math is the hardest subject for most kids in freshman year. Every class we sit down and take pages of notes, an hour of homework everyday after that. Mr. Christie is a retired fire fighter who says ‘the dilemma is’ and ‘so as a consequence’ in literally every circumstance. He also says ‘yesterday’ like an American. Brayden and Daniel are two boys in my class (also in my English class) who have an ongoing joke where they burst into fits of laughter whenever he says ‘dilemma’ or ‘consequence’. It’s the most ridiculous thing ever. Along with that they keep trying to convince Mr. Christie that -0 is a number. They tape ‘negative zero’ all over the classroom, tape his computer mouse to his desk, and wrote on the board, ‘SO AS A CONSEQUENCE’. It’s been there for a month or two. Mr. Christie doesn’t even seem to question that his room now reads, ‘negative zero’. 

The Official Wall Of Negative Zero is at the back of the classroom. Posters, made by Daniel and Brayden, cover the wall, and a t-shirt reading ‘❤ -0, because real numbers are doing it wrong’, is stapled on. It was designed by Daniel and paid for by Mr. Christie.

So sure, we all remember that fight that made everyone in the cafeteria rise like a wave in unison, scrambling to get a better view. And we all know that everywhere smells faintly of marijuana. We all make sure to stay out of that one hallway without the camera, and we all complain frequently about everything Kaluga Heights has to offer. But to tell you the truth, Kaluga is my home and my family. It’s a family that isn’t perfect, but what family is?