Friday, January 10, 2014

Flashback Friday: High School Romance

From my junior year scrapbook

When I was a junior in high school, I dated a girl whose idea of romance was me walking her to her class after lunch every day.  I did my best to lovingly oblige, knowing she looked at it as a sweet gesture, but in fact the whole enterprise was just a tad inconvenient.  My class after lunch, you see, was on the other side of the building from hers. With only three minutes between classes, I was somewhat strapped for time as it was.

My next class also happened to be AP German.  Add the fact that I didn't want to let my favorite teacher down, to a teutonic inspired neuroses about being late, and you have a daily battle to get to that class on time.

The solution was to set my watch to the school bell, and through trial and error, I determined exactly how much time I needed to make it from her classroom to the German room.  And so my girlfriend and I would walk leisurely after lunch towards the choir room, then linger outside whispering sweet nothings as teenage couples are wont to do.  But she only ever had half my attention, for my eye constantly darted between my young paramour, and the seconds on my wrist ticking away...

At the appointed time, and with an explosion she came to accept, I took off in a madcap dash through the school.  Leaping down flights of stairs, careening blindly around tight corners, scaring the wits out of stragglers in the hallways, I burst through the door of the German room with a ferocity that never failed to startle my classmates.  My German teacher remained unfazed.  Teenagers, it would seem, could no longer surprise him.

It started as an answer to a question - how can I make the most of every last second afforded me? - and it soon morphed into something more.  A daily challenge, a test of my physical limits.  How close could I cut it and still beat that bell?  While the romance of that spring didn't last, that spirit never left me, and the memory of those runs through school never died.

Some habits die hard.  While I don't sprint wildly around the school anymore - I don't think the administrators would look kindly on that sort of thing - to this day I still time my watch to the bell.  To the consternation of my students, I am able to teach to the last possible second before the bell rings.

And in my races, I still try to retain that same spirit, the one that pushes me to see what I am made of, as if that bell is only seconds away from ringing, and I am still moments away from my classroom.

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