My life at school was starting to become mediocre again, and I became frustrated with my struggle to be cool. I didn’t have a regular group of friends who I always played with. I was like a nomad, moving from group to group and trying to fit in with each one, but never fully integrating. I feared that the cool kids didn’t regard me as one of them, and even Philip’s clique never considered me one of their core friends. Despite all of my attempts to be cool, I didn’t feel as if the other kids respected me as such. I was still quite the outcast, as I always will be.
Apparently this deeply psychopathic approach of "hacking way into girl panties - WITHOUT!!! talking to girl" is very deeply rooted among a certain set of whitebread boys. It's entirely incomprehensible to me, the only way I can represent it is "that Puritan brain rot", presuming that it is a certain neoprotestant sect which yields the aberation as a result of its apostasy. That's the best I got.
Prior to reading this pile of weird, I just thought it a vague affliction of sexuality - whereby dorky neoprotestant anglophone bois can't quite confront the other for complicated reasons built atop a pile of unresolved neurosis, and consequently try to machine their way into satisfying socially mandated formalisms (just how unsatisfying sex must be in this atrocious construct one could perhaps guess by rewatching Salo ; but in any case intimacy is definitionally an impossibility).
Such a view does not survive reading Rodger. If I didn't know better, I'd suspect that's actually their only strategy throughout life - and I don't know better. By this revised view it'd be the case that certain kids-who-should-have-been-aborted actually fail to develop working ids entirely, and so are literally incapable of humanity in the exact sense complete intestinal atresia is incapable of peristalsis. If you're of a religious bent the expression of the situation would be that they were simply born without souls, for whatever reason - such as soul exhaustion through overpopulation, if you prefer, or otherwise because the soullocator runs on C much like cunt runs on perl, or any other.
But if you're not of a religious bent, what do you make of this strange situation where the often derrided vacuity of upper middle class derp actually extends itself all the way to the deepest ontology ? It's not that this kid shows an insane preference for strange affectations of dress and manner - it's that this kid actually fails to contain a kid anywhere in there!
My social life changed somewhat when Mrs. Damart announced that we would have new seating arrangements in class, and the process of deciding on who sits where was up to us. Our class consisted of tables that seated about five to six people, and when our name was called randomly, we could choose anywhere to sit, meaning that everyone had a chance to sit with their group of friends. I didn’t have a core group of friends, so I was thrown into a state of panic.
Originally, I was sitting at the table where Philip’s clique sat, but all of their names were called before me, and I was booted from their table. At this point, I just chose to sit anywhere, and I ended up sitting next to John Jo Glen. Matt Bordier and Danny Dayani also sat at our table. These were kids who I regarded as cool, so I was content with sitting with them.
I never really interacted with John Jo Glen that much in the past. He was one of the biggest jerks of the school, next to Trevor and Keaton. We quarreled a bit at the start, but soon enough we started socializing, and I talked with him about some new games I got for my Playstation 2. We became friends when John Jo suddenly asked me if he can come over to my house. I felt happy that he asked me this... it would be the first playdate I would have without my mother arranging it for me.
Best not tell Billy Bob I mean Jimmy Jo about this "playdate"i business. Speaking of which - the shitty "secretary-with-airs" brand here is Juanita Jo, and you know how they pronounce that Jo, right ?
This would spark a fun new friendship that would last well after Fifth Grade.
Why do I feel like I'm reading the sort of inept "reviews" punters leave on call girls' profiles ?
(Pro tip : the girls are of two types, one which couldn't care less and the other which is acutely intelligent and will hate you for it. Whenever interacting with whores be either quiet or else brilliant, it's really not the place for boilerplate.)
The random seating arrangement next to John Jo was the best thing to happen to me in Elementary School.
Despite my struggles to be regarded as ”cool” and my obsession with attaining such recognition, Fifth grade was my favorite school year in Elementary School. I played with more people than I ever did in previous grades, I was less shy, I wasn’t a dork, and I had an awesome time learning how to skateboard and hacky sack. It was memorable year filled with joyful experiences.
I didn’t want the school year to end. Once Fifth grade was over, I will have to go to Middle School, and the prospect filled me with anxiety. My little innocent mind always looked at Middle School as something far in the future, when I grow up. I didn’t want to grow up. I was enjoying my life as a kid right at that moment. I didn’t think about the future.
Kids in my class told many rumors of Middle School life that filled me with fear and sent a shiver through my spine. Even through watching movies and T.V. shows I got a glimpse of what was in store for a Middle Schooler. There was talk of girls, and how it would soon be ”cool” to be popular with the girls. Girls were like completely foreign creatures to me. I never interacted with them... I wasn’t expected to. In Elementary School, boys played with boys and girls played with girls. That was what I was used to. That was my world. I heard stories of how boys are expected to start kissing girls in Middle School! Such things overwhelmed me. I tried to dismiss it as much as I could and enjoy my life in the present moment.
My school arranged a camping trip for the entire Fifth Grade class before graduation day. At first I didn’t want to go because I would be away from my parents for five days, something I was never used to. I was afraid I would get too homesick. I never spent more than one night away from my parents. On the rare occasion that they had to go out of town for a few days and left me with a nanny, I would cry at night.
My teacher Mrs. Damart came up to me one morning before class started and persuaded me to go, saying that the graduation trip was something I wouldn’t want to miss. It would be a once in a lifetime experience, and after some hesitation I agreed to go along.
I forgot exactly where this camping trip took place. It was located at a special camping retreat
It'd better have been pretty fucking special.
I mean seriously, plastic sheet to protect the mattress level special. Who the fuck heard of twelve year olds with separation anxiety, this is pretty major as far as developmental disorders go.
somewhere in the forest to the north of Los Angeles. It was very secluded... a small village of cabins and tents surrounded by wilderness and hiking trails. For the trip there, I decided to go with my friends Bryce and Charlie in a car instead of taking the school bus with everyone else. This was much more comfortable, and I was glad to have snagged a spot in the car with them.
Everyone was assigned to groups of five to share a cabin or a tent. I was originally placed in the group with Charlie, Bryce, and a few others... but that group was given a tent to sleep in. I was appalled by how drab and uncomfortable the tents looked. I wanted a cabin. So I went to my teacher and asked to be transferred to a group that was sleeping in a cabin. She placed me in a group of some cool skateboarder kids, including Michael, Sam, Trevor, Matt, and Stephen. I felt a sense of pride to be part of this group.
I'd have beaten the shit out of this fucking snot nosed punk. He is proud to have whined himself into jesus fuck the indignity!
During the daytime on this trip, the whole Fifth Grade class participated in games, outdoor activities, nature hikes, and barbeques. It was great fun. Nighttime in the cabin was like having a sleepover with five people, and it was a new experience that excited me. Before bedtime, Michael Ray took out a magazine that had pictures of beautiful model women, and all of the boys gathered around and looked at them. So... even at the early age of ten, boys were starting to be attracted to the female body. I didn’t understand this... I hadn’t yet reached that stage. I pretended to be interested just so that I wouldn’t appear uncool. All of those boys probably lost their virginity by sixteen. Damn them.
Alternatively, who cares!
The trip ended up being so fun that I didn’t cry at all about being away from my parents for so long.
And finally, it was time to graduate from Elementary School. Before the ceremony, our whole class watched a video full of footage of school life throughout the year. I saw a few glimpses of myself caught in the footage, and I felt gratified. My life at Topanga Elementary School was a blast, full of memorable experiences and wonderful times.
I dressed in a nice shirt with a tie for the ceremony. All of the Fifth Graders lined up and walked down an isle through the center of the Auditorium, with the audience of parents and siblings on either side. When I saw my parents, they looked so proud of me. Each student had to walk up to their teacher on the stage and receive a graduation award. We weren’t required to give a speech, to my relief.
And mine. After this repugnant shit with "all the kids get an award", all that'd be missing would be having the obnoxious shits "hold speeches", as if they somehow had something to say (and then fill the void with more boilerplate nonsense, Lord have mercy!)
About three to five kids in a class of 30 got awards ; this is how it should be. And bear in mind we're talking about a communist country!
I would be too nervous to talk in front of an audience. The graduation theme song was ”Time of Your Life” by the band Green Day,
one of my favorite bands.
Let me guess, the other one of his favourite bands is The Band. (Who wasn't even at this concert).
Whenever I would hear this song again, I would think about that glorious day, and the memories would make me feel an extreme sense of nostalgia.
Fucking Green Day. I'd have played Offspring. You know which one.
In the afternoon, there was a graduation party at the Top of Topanga community recreation center, a lovely place that provided a view of the whole Valley.
My mother took me to have dinner at the sushi restaurant Kabuki afterwards.
See, some people know how to name things!
It was just me and her. As we sat down at the restaurant after all the excitement, I took a moment to fully ponder over the fact that Elementary School was all over. It was done. I felt so accomplished and proud... I was happy, things were good. But along with that happiness was a feeling of sadness that I will be leaving all of those experiences behind. A whole chapter of my life had just passed, and a new one was beginning. That day was such an extraordinary day. A day to remember, a memory to cherish.
For the first few weeks of summer, mother arranged playdates with various friends and acquaintances I made from Topanga Elementary, including Trevor Bourget, Matt Bordier, Charlie Converse, John Jo Glen, and Philip Bloeser. It was interesting to have Trevor and Matt over. I never thought I would have playdates with them. Matt was one of the coolest kids in the school; he was a skateboarder and a baseball player who seemed to garner respect from everyone. I envied him during Elementary School even when we were friends, and I would deeply envy and hate him later on in life, when I find out how much success he would have with girls.
Again, I repeat, that as children we all play together as equals in a fair environment.
Except there's nothing more unfair than equality.
Only after the advent of puberty does the true brutality of human nature show its face. Life will become a bitter and unfair struggle for self-worth, all because girls will choose some boys over others. The boys who girls find attractive will live pleasure-filled lives while they dominate the boys who girls deem unworthy. Matt Bordier will go on to live a life of pleasure. Girls will throw themselves at him. And I will go on to be rejected and humiliated by girls. At that moment in time, we were just playing together as children, oblivious to the fact that my future will be dark and his will be bright. Life is such a cruel joke.
My mother continued to take me to Northridge Skatepark every Friday, and I also attended a skateboard camp at Pedlow Skatepark for a couple of weeks. At this camp I bumped into one of the kids I played with around father’s house.
I had been trying very hard to get better at skateboarding, but when I saw that there were boys a lot younger than me who could do more tricks, I realized that I sucked. I was never good at sports or any physical activity, and when I discovered skateboarding, I thought that finally here was a sport that I could excel in and even became a professional at. It crushed me a little inside to see that I was a failure at skateboarding after more than a year of practicing it. I could never master the kickflip or heelflip. All I could do was the ollie jump and ride down a few ramps. I saw eight-year-old boys at the skatepark who could do a kickflip with ease, and it made me so angry. Why did I fail at everything I tried? I asked myself. My dreams of becoming a professional skateboarder were over. I felt so defeated.
Yeah, honestly, I'd have expected a lot more from a ball of flaming neurosis this tightly wound. Sorry phf.
Because of this, my interest in skateboarding slowly faded away during this summer. James had recently told me that he was no longer interested in the sport, so I no longer had him to skateboard with anyway. I just decided to forget about it for the moment.
James’s family moved to a new house in Malibu. The house was owned by the Lemelson’s, and they were staying in it temporarily. Mother took us there a few times where I adventured with James in the wilderness area that surrounded the house. We would often go to a small plaza in the center of Malibu. There was a playground there, with a few shops and restaurants surrounding it.
It was time for my 11th birthday. I was at mother’s house and just decided to have a small playdate for my birthday. I invited James over, along with another kid who I had befriended at the Woodland Hills recreation center. My mother made a small cake, I blew out the candles, and that was it. I was eleven years old.
11 Years Old
The trip to France and England began shortly after my birthday. We had been talking about it for a while at father’s house, and I was really excited to go. We traveled on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class. I was extremely enthusiastic about this, as I always loved luxury and opulence.
Can you imagine how insufferable the little shit was ?
We stopped by in England for a couple of days to say hello to grandma Jinx. The cousins weren’t there, they were already in France, so it was a bit boring. When we arrived in France, the feeling of wonder and curiosity swept over me as it always did when I visited a foreign country. The last time I was in France, I was only a few weeks old. This was the first time I was able to truly experience the country. France was a whole different world, and it was a world that I liked. French culture is so exquisite and refined compared to American culture.
After booking a couple of rooms at a small Inn near the town of Toulouse, we met up with Jonny and the cousin’s at Aunt Jenny’s house. Aunt Jenny is my father’s sister, and the last time I saw her was when I lived in England, before the move to America. She had a few kittens in her house that I loved to play with.
George and I immediately resumed our friendship that started in the spring. There was a vast forested area surrounding the house. George told me there were lots of wild boars in the forest, so we went ”wild boar hunting”. It was just a game, and we never ended up seeing any boars at all, but the suspense of possibly finding one was what made it fun.
We stayed in Toulouse for about a week, and then we said goodbye to the relatives and set off to tour the country. We toured many cultural towns and stayed in castle-style hotels. This should have been a great experience for me, but my conflicts with Soumaya soured it. There were a few incidents in which she punished me by making me stay in my hotel room while she, father and Georgia all went out to dinner at a restaurant. I hated her for this.
On the way back, we stopped at grandma Jinx’s house in England for a week. The cousins were there this time, and it was a lot of fun. We all slept in one room, so it was like having one big sleepover. One day we went on a trip to a museum, where I had an argument with Soumaya. She shouted at me in front of George and threatened to punish me. This was so embarrassing that I fell into a miserable mood for the rest of the day. I always loved traveling, but I learned that traveling with Soumaya just ruins the whole experience. And this wouldn’t be the last time I would be forced to travel with Soumaya either, to my utmost dismay.
The trip lasted three weeks in length, the perfect length of time for a vacation, in my opinion. I quite enjoyed it, if I don’t count the times Soumaya ruined it.
It felt nice to be back home after a long, cultural vacation.
I believe nice is the right, cultural word for it.
Hey, they even named a town for it. Beat that!
At father’s house, my nanny Tracy got into an argument with father, and she was forced to leave. I was sad to see her go. She was always pleasant and fun to be around. Once Tracy left, Georgia and I would no longer have any nannies. We were getting too old for it. I wasn’t a little child anymore... having nannies became a thing of the past. From now on, if father and Soumaya had to go out to a dinner party, they would just hire a baby-sitter to look after us, and soon I would be old enough to stay by myself in the house.
I got a haircut, and this time I decided not to bleach my hair blonde. The black hair always grew out anyway, so the full-blonde look only lasted for a couple of weeks. Having blonde hair seemed to have lost its spark, so I just didn’t bother with it anymore.
The summer was pleasant and relaxing, but it quickly came to an end. The time for Middle School had come. My fear of this day haunted the back of my mind all summer. I was enrolled at Pinecrest Middle School for Sixth Grade. I had mixed feelings about going to this school because I didn’t like my experience there during kindergarten. Father said it’s the best option for me, because it was a small private school. I didn’t want to go to a large school like Hale Middle School... that would have been too overwhelming for me.
On the first day, I was shaking with anxiety and fear. I didn’t know what to expect. Transitioning to Middle School was a big deal for me, even more so than starting elementary school. I was much older and I cared more about what people thought of me. I was no longer an innocent little child who didn’t have to worry. I had to worry about a lot of things, and oh, did I worry!
Guess, what does the "no longer innocent little child" have to worry about ?
Yeah, you guessed it - not guilt. Shame.
Moreover, it strikes me at this point that the kid (presumably this text was produced by an adult, but nevertheless) never properly acquired the use of language.
A large source of the incredible tedium of his prose is that where you see predicates and subjects with their determinants he just runs a mess of copulative constructions in pre-cut forms ; his idea of English phraseology is essentially a trainload of nouns. "I had mixed feelings about going" is one noun, it follows "haunted the back of my mind" which is also a noun. There's no proper verb, as such ; the determinants are rudimentary and direct (Summer, as opposed to Winter, for instance). The overpowering impression that whether he's rendering indirect speech or not he's nevertheless still parroting wholesale constructions he overheard but never understood, with some absolutely minimal mix-and-match fitting is probably based on the fact that it's exactly what he does ; in his mind the language hasn't ground itself down to atomic components, stems and all. This would make his brain about a decade late to the party, and I'm rather curious if any of the apparently numerous specialists that saw him over the years saw this wonder for all its wonder.
That he attained a modicum of functionality is remarkable, but also highly circumstantial - widely supported by his father being rich, by the US school system being pisswasser etc. That there was any sort of future for this kid seems the height of improbability - there is no conceivable cure for a lexer this broken, and my guess is that had he somehow survived his demise it'd have most probably been due to catatonia kicking in.
It was a whole new school full of people I didn’t know. They all previously went to elementary school together, so most of them already knew each other. That made me even more nervous. The only person I knew who was going to Pinecrest was a geeky kid named Nate Grossman, who I didn’t really interact with that much in Topanga.
I also felt an intense fear of what Middle School life would be like. I didn’t know how to act around girls, I didn’t know what was cool anymore, I had no friends there. I simply didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was walking into a snowstorm without a coat.
My parents led me into the school to say goodbye, and then it was time for me to start my first class. I had to take multiple classes with different teachers now. This was also a new concept for me and it made me extremely uncomfortable. Since this was a private school, I had to wear a uniform, something I hadn’t done since going to Dorsett House in England. I thought of this as a good thing though... I didn’t have to worry about what I would have to wear on the first day.
For the first few days, I withdrew into a defensive shell and didn’t really talk to anyone. I did observe, however. I observed how everyone acted, who the ”cool kids” were, what they were like... and it was all so intimidating. The social challenges that I faced in Fifth Grade were intensified tenfold.
All that can be fairly said is that he actually has very good reason to be afraid of the change in context. His god damned speech organ does not appreciably work, can you comprehend the horror ? HOW is he to do anything, and what is he to rely on ? If you want to get Bob's attention you go "Hey Bob" ; he doesn't have this function call. If you accidentally back into Grace and spill her coffee you apologize ; maybe buy her another one. He. Does. Not. Have. These. Function. Calls. His kernel consists of like two calls, one of which freezes the machine ; the other of which prints 64 character strings extracted from a dictionary.
You'd be fucking petrified too. I know I would be.
I noticed that there were two groups of cool, popular kids. There were the skateboarder kids, such as Vinny Maggio, Ashton Moio, Darrel, Wes, and Alex Dib. And then there were the boys who were popular with girls, including Vincent, Robert Morgan, and Oren Aks. They all seemed so confident and aggressive. I felt so intimidated by them, and I hated them for it. I hated them so much, but I had to increase my standing with them. I wanted to be friends with them.
Does playing Civilisation ruin kids' ability to interact sanely with reality ?
Depends. Did those kids already have a broken head ? Or, in the words of the Latins, si quis, inquis, dives est ...
I also observed the girls. I was still very short for my age, and most of the girls were taller than me. I hadn’t reached puberty yet, but I was starting to admire female prettiness. There was one group of pretty, popular girls, and they all seemed to like hanging out with that boy Robert Morgan. I didn’t yet desire girls sexually, but I still felt envy towards Robert for being able to attract the attention of all the popular girls. What was so special about Robert Morgan? I constantly asked myself.
Having been Robert Morgan I can readily tell you : he talked to them. Odds are he wasn't even interested in the first place - plenty of boys don't even notice girls until as late as thirteen or fourteen - but that doesn't actually hinder anything, does it.
I thought all of the cool kids were obnoxious jerks, but I tried as best as I could to hide my disgust and appear ”cool” to them. They were obnoxious jerks, and yet somehow it was these boys who all of the girls flocked to. This showed me that the world was a brutal place, and human beings were nothing more than savage animals. Everything my father taught me was proven wrong. He raised me to be a polite, kind gentleman. In a decent world, that would be ideal. But the polite, kind gentleman doesn’t win in the real world. The girls don’t flock to the gentlemen. They flock to the alpha male. They flock to the boys who appear to have the most power and status. And it was a ruthless struggle to reach such a height.
This is pretty ridiculous ; brutality doesn't much enter into it if at all (nor do we have any reason to suspect Rodger uses the term properly). If anything, females are slightly biased against brutality, for very good evolutionary reasons.
It was too much for me to handle. I was still a little boy with a fragile mind. Thinking about such things would only crush my innocence, and it eventually will. But not at this point. I subconsciously wanted to enjoy my childhood as much as I could, so I tried not to think about this new revelation and enjoy life in the moment. I put it all aside, to be pondered over later.
My whole world had changed. The ”cool” thing to do now was to be popular with girls. I didn’t know how to go about doing that. Skateboarding, I was able to do... dressing well, that was simple... But attracting attention from girls? How in the blazes was I going to do that? I didn’t even understand what was so special about it either, but everyone seemed to place so much importance on it. This made me even more shy, and I became known as the "shy new kid.”
Thankfully, some kids started reaching out to me, and I had a few chances to integrate within a couple of weeks. The first boy to talk to me was Brice Miller. He asked me if I had any friends at the school, because he always saw me alone. I admitted that I had no friends, and he offered to be my first friend. I was very grateful for this.
Once again, I used skateboarding as a way to increase my standing, telling the skateboarder kids that I knew how to skateboard and that I could do some tricks. This got them to treat me more cordially.
There's so many cases of allegations of minute measurements in such obscure characteristics as "cordiality" that one is really tempted to wonder exactly what is being meant. If a group of people you just met start to treat you "more cordially" a week in, at which point do you notice ?
Of course, the more fitting explanation would be that nothing of the nature of measurement is intended or implied ; he merely feels more at ease, for purely psychogenic reasons.
I even talked to Robert Morgan a few times, who I hated and yet subconsciously revered for being so popular.
This, of course, is not how the subconscious works.
Whenever a so-called popular kid would say a word to me or give me a high five, I felt immense satisfaction.
The scary notion that he probably counted rears its ugly head.
"Who keeps track of hellos ?!"
Inevitably, I started to become known to the girls of my school; and surprisingly, they treated me quite well. It was a huge relief. Middle School would be the last time in my life where I wouldn’t be completely invisible to girls. All of the pretty girls had a peculiar habit of hugging boys they knew as a form of greeting, and some of them hugged me. I didn’t understand why, but it felt like the best feeling ever. I was one hundred-times more satisfied from getting a hug from a pretty girl than getting a high five from a popular boy. It was a new experience that enraptured every fiber of my being.
The 7th and 8th grade girls were especially kind to me. I guess they thought I was ”cute” in a boyish sort of way. This made my initial experience of Middle School much better.
I decided to attend the school dance in early October. A school dance was completely foreign to me. Elementary Schools didn’t have them, of course, and I only knew about them from watching typical American shows on television. I thought it was something I had to do in order to be cool. I was very nervous, naturally, but I pushed myself to go ahead with it.
When I got there, Robert Morgan saw me and asked me if I wanted to hang out with his group. I was grateful for this, and I ended up having a niceii time. I was shocked that some 7th and 8th grade girls offered to dance with me. They came up to me in a group and taught me how to "slow dance”. I had to place my hands on their hips, while they placed their hands on my shoulders, and we would move slowly with the music. They were all taller than me, and I was terrified, but it felt so... good. That would be the only time in my life where I would have a satisfying experience with girls. The only time.
Halloween of this year marked the last time I would ever go trick-or-treating. After this year I would be too old for it. Mother took us to the Lemelson’s, and I decided to not dress up in any costume. I went as myself, sporting my black Pinecrest sweater. As it was my last time trick-or-treating, it would be the last time I would have any sort of fun on Halloween. And I did have a lot of fun. It was nice to go out collecting candy with James and Noah, like we had been doing for several years past.
My father cut off a portion of the child support he had been paying my mother, which forced my mother to move house. We moved to a small blue house on Glade Avenue in Canoga Park. I didn’t like Canoga Park at all. It was a very ugly and low-class area to the north or Woodland Hills, and I felt it demeaning that we would have to live there during mother’s week.
Not, you know, that the poor woman would be left to live there alone during father's week.
The house did have some upsides. It had four bedrooms and a bigger living room than mother’s old house. My new room was a lot larger than my old one. And of course, my mother always had her own ways of making everything better. I would still enjoy my time at mother’s small house more than my time at father’s big Woodland Hills house.
Along with this move, there came a new change in our rotation schedule. My parents decided that we would stay at our mother’s house more, instead of switching one week-one week. Mother would have us for all of the weekdays, and we would go to father’s on the weekends when he was in town.
Berber new wife doesn't really like the little snot. Can't say as I blame her.
Around the same time that my mother moved, James’s family moved as well, to another Lemelson-owned house in the Palisades. They would only remain in this house for a very brief period, because a tragic event would soon occur in James’s family.
One day at school, I was sitting in my class when I was suddenly called to the office. My mother was there, waiting to pick me up. I got into her car, and the three of us drove out of my school and parked on the side of Shoup Avenue. She told us the dire news. James’s mother, Kim Ellis, had just passed away from breast cancer. I cried for a bit. Kim was a very kind-hearted person, and the mother of my best friend. She had been suffering from breast cancer for several years, but I never thought she would die from it. I immediately thought of how James must be feeling. He just lost his own mother! It made me think of how horrible I would feel if the same thing happened to my own mother, just the thought alone filled me with pain.
There was to be a get-together of family friends at James’s house that night, in honor of Kim. On the way, I thought about how I would approach James on the subject. The amount of grief he must be feeling...
The amount of grief.
About equal to the amount of plainsure you'd be feeling if a certain curvaceous Armenian sat herself in your lap suddenly.
In the ballpark, in any case.
I couldn’t even imagine it. The last similar experience was the death of my grandfather, and I was only four years old then. When we arrived, I looked for James, and found him sitting in his room. I gently offered my deepest condolences for his loss. He remained very strong, obviously hiding his emotions. He looked very sad, in an extremely stoic sort of way. He told me he fully accepted what had happened, that his mother was dead and that was the end of it. That was all we spoke on the matter.
We tried not to think about it for the rest of the night, and later on I played tag in his backyard with him and some of his friends.
I remained very shy during my Sixth Grade year, and I would always be labeled as a quiet kid. I wasn’t able to establish any friends that I could have playdates with, so the only playdates I had was with old friends from Topanga Elementary. This filled in the social void, and I was content with it.
I tried my best to improve my social situation during school time. A few girls continued to pay attention to me, saying hi as I walked by them and occasionally giving me hugs, but I felt bitter at the fact that I wasn’t able to truly hang out with them like the popular boys were doing.
In order to not be seen as a complete loner at school, I ended up making friends with a kid named Connor Hanrahan. Connor was not a popular kid, because girls didn’t like him. Despite this, he was one of the most pompous assholes of the school, even more so than any of the most popular boys. Connor was a true bully. I started hanging out with him during recess and lunch, and we made a few jokes with each other and had a few good laughs, but he would always push me around and act tough. I was so timid back then that I didn’t care. I just wanted someone to hang out with.
When I stayed back after school one day, my mother saw me with Connor when she came to pick me up. She has been concerned about me not making any new friends at Pinecrest, and I suppose she was relieved to see me with a ”friend”. She invited Connor to come over to my house, which he accepted. I was a bit hesitant to invite anyone from Pinecrest to my mother’s house, because it was located in Canoga Park, a bad area, and most of the kids at Pinecrest were upper-middle class who would look down on me for living there. But I couldn’t back out of this once my mother invited Connor. He came over and all went well, we played a few video games for a couple of hours. But after that playdate, he would always rip on me for living in a "poor” house. He would also tell other kids at Pinecrest about it. This infuriated me to no end, and I would keep proclaiming that my father lives in a prestigiousiii three-story house in the Woodland Hills Heights. I became vehemently obsessed with proving to Connor and everyone else that I wasn’t poor. I went so far as to bring pictures of my father’s house to school.iv I even considered inviting some people over to father’s house, but I remembered my vow of never doing that due to the possibility that another incident would happen with Soumaya, like the one that occurred years ago.
It was at eleven years old when I first started using the internet on a regular basis. The internet was still considered a new phenomenon at the time. Before eleven, I roughly knew how to browse websites and use email, but once I fully immersed myself in it, it really fascinated me.
The popular social networking tool at that period was AOL instant messenger, or "AIM”. I made my first AIM account on my mother’s computer, and she would let have one hour a day to explore it. I joined a few chat rooms. The prospect of talking to strangers from a computer was new and astounding to me.
Towards the end of sixth grade, I still hadn’t made a group of friends who I could see outside of school. The only social interactions I had outside of school were playdates with old friends from Topanga every now and again. Joining chatrooms through AOL temporarily filled in the social void for a few weeks. This will definitely not be the first time I would try to fill in that void with the internet.
Once I established myself in the chat rooms, I made a few friends who I instant messaged frequently. Most of them were in middle school and some were in high school. I also talked to a few people I knew from Pinecrest over AIM.
One friend who I met through a chat room suddenly emailed me pictures of beautiful naked girls, telling me to "check this out”. When I looked at the pictures, I was shocked beyond words. I had never seen what beautiful girls looked like naked, and the sight filled me with strong and overwhelming emotions. I didn’t know what was happening to me. Was it the first inkling of sexual desire in my body? I was traumatized. My childhood was fading away. Ominous fear swept over me, and I stopped talking to that person.
I feel the need to interject. I have nothing to interject.
There is no boy. The vessel is empty ; with a lid tightly screwed on doing the best it can to elide the difference.
As the Sixth Grade year came to a close, I felt dissatisfied and insignificant. Indeed, a whole new world had opened up before me, and I had no idea how to prevail in it. I still wanted to live as a child.
I never established any proper friends at Pinecrest, and the only playdate I had was the one with Connor that my mother arranged, and that turned out to be a disaster for me. My mother and father both showed concern that I wasn’t making any friends, but because I still saw some friends from Topanga, they didn’t make a big deal out of it.
It would seem probable that this child never had any sort of interaction with any adult / primary care giver outside of the "proper" format ; outside of the three ring binder. They never talked to him ; merely undid the cans of Campbell's Word Soup and Word Salad. Should be good enough, and besides, he gets toys.
No transgressive anything of any kind up until the age of twelve, when some kid sends him nudies unexpectedly ? Insanity. Sad, wilting, absurd insanity.
I consider Sixth Grade to be the better year out of the three years I would spend in Middle School. Girls actually paid attention to me. They knew who I was and I didn’t feel like I was completely invisible. I was extremely shy with girls and could barely have a conversation with them, but I still interacted with girls more during this year than I would for any following year. The cool kids treated me nicely, despite my reputation as the ”quiet kid”. I always felt like a loser compared to them, and I hated them for it, though I still wanted their approval. I wanted to be one of them... I wanted to be their friend.
The closest I came to truly being one of them was when Vinny and Robert both invited me to their birthday parties, which were only a couple of weeks apart at the very end of the school year. Both parties were at Skatelab skatepark. I hadn’t been to Skatelab for about a year, and when I walked in, all of the memories of going there with James filled my mind. I hadn’t even skateboarded for a while, but after a few minutes on the ramps my ability came back like magic. They were all quite impressed. I bet they thought I would end up sucking at it. I was happy to prove them wrong.
Indeed, Sixth Grade was the peak of my life at Pinecrest. It would only go downhill from there.
My mother bought me a brand new video game console, the Xbox. I heard a lot of kids talking about how great the Xbox was at school, so I was really eager to have one. I liked the Xbox much more than the Playstation 2. The graphics were better and the games were more to my taste. With the Xbox, I got the game Halo. At first, I found Halo to be very difficult and I gave up on it a few times. I had no idea that Halo would soon become one of my favorite video game series that I ever played.
I was extremely happy and relieved when summer came. Middle School was much more stressful than Elementary School, both socially and academically. Summer would provide a well-needed break from all of it.
I started seeing some old friends from Topanga more frequently. Among these were John Jo Glen and Charlie Converse. Charlie wasn’t really one of my main friends at Topanga Elementary. I had a few playdates with him here and there, but not that many. It was only until after Fifth Grade graduation that our real friendship began. He always had a charming and humble personality, and he was well-liked by everyone at Topanga. He came over to my mother’s house a few times after I got my Xbox, where he tried to help me get past the hardest level on Halo. John Jo and Charlie were very close friends with each other, and eventually I would start to see them at the same time.
The "innocence of childhood" sounds almost literally like a hooker, for all the metallic, calculated, measured tone of it.
How did this rumour start that children are somehow "pure" or "innocent", for that matter ? It's really not been my experience to any degree.
John Jo invited me to his father’s apartment in Hollywood for a sleepover. I found his apartment to be very dingy, but I had so much fun that I didn’t even care. He lived just across the street from the huge Scientology building. We got together with a group of his friends and snuck into the building’s courtyard at night to play hide-and-seek tag. This was the first time I had been out having fun with a group of kids my age without any adult supervision. It was very amusing. When we went back to his apartment, we played Conker’s Bad Fur Day on the Nintendo 64. The Nintendo 64 was a very old console at this point in time, especially after I now had an Xbox and a PS2, but I was entertained by Conker’s Bad Fur Day so much that I asked my mother to buy it for me the next day.
James Ellis moved yet again to another house in the Palisades. After the death of his mother, James’s father Arte quickly made the decision to move again. Arte rented a small house on Temecula Street, near the renowned Palisades Bluffs. There they would remain for a very long time, and all of the most significant experiences I would have with James in the future would take place there.
At this time, though, I wasn’t seeing James that much. We slowly drifted apart after we lost our common interest in skateboarding. We still considered each other friends, and we would still see each other occasionally, almost as a courtesy. But our friendship would be at a standstill during our middle school years.
I was enjoying a lovely summer, but suddenly my mother said that I had to go to summer camp at Pinecrest. This was a decision she made with my father, because they thought it would be healthy for me. I didn’t like this one bit. It was a last minute decision. One moment I was relaxing and enjoying my summer break, the next my mother is waking me up early to take me to my first day of camp at Pinecrest. Gratefully, summer camp would only last for four weeks.
Summer camp at Pinecrest was located at the Elementary School section, and I recognized my old kindergarten class. It was a mix of middle school and elementary school kids, and I made a few friends with some kids who were younger than me.
At this camp, an incident happened that would scar me for life. The first time that I was treated badly by a girl occurred at this camp. I was innocently playing with the friends I made, and they were tickling me, something people always did because I was very ticklish. I accidently bumped into a pretty girl the same age as me, and she got very angry. She cursed at me and pushed me, embarrassing me in front of my friends. I didn’t know who this girl was... She was only at Pinecrest for summer camp... But she was very pretty, and she was taller than me. I immediately froze up and went into a state of shock. One of my friends asked me if I was ok, and I didn’t answer. I remained very quiet for the rest of the day.
Oh for the love of Christ! Literally, two calls, and one freezes the system.
I couldn’t believe what had happened. Cruel treatment from women is ten times worse than from men. It made me feel like an insignificant, unworthy little mouse. I felt so small and vulnerable. I couldn’t believe that this girl was so horrible to me, and I thought that it was because she viewed me as a loser. That was the first experience of female cruelty I endured, and it traumatized me to no end. It made me even more nervous around girls, and I would be extremely weary and cautious of them from that point on.
Before summer camp ended, I saw that same girl hanging out with Oren Aks a few times. Oren Aks was one of the popular kids in my grade. I hated Oren so much when I saw him with her. It made me feel so inferior... that this girl was mean to me and yet she liked Oren. Thankfully, Oren wouldn’t be returning to Pinecrest for Seventh Grade, and I would never see him again. I wonder what became of him... I bet he lived a good life.
I felt relieved when summer camp ended. That experience with the mean girl ruined it for me. Hell, it ruined a part of my life. Whenever I think about summer camp I would think about that girl, and my emotions would flare up.
My 12th birthday followed. I decided not to do anything for it. Mother took me and my sister out to a Japanese restaurant to celebrate it. Twelve seemed like a big number to me back then. One more year and I would be a teenager. It was hard to believe.
12 Years Old
For the rest of the summer, I resumed my routine of relaxing and having playdates. I tried to forget about what happened at summer camp as much as I could.
John Jo came over to my house, where he slept over for the first time. We played a few video games, and then he told me that he wanted to take me to a place called Planet Cyber, a cyber café that had all of the best online PC games. I knew nothing of the sort, but it was just down the street from my mother’s house. I walked there with him, eager to experience something new.
This was my first experience with online gaming. Playing video games with people over the internet invoked a whole new level of fascination in me. Talking to people over AIM was fun and new, but this... this was tremendous. I always loved playing multiplayer mode on video games when I had friends over. With online gaming, I could do it whenever I want. I was a novice to these new games on the PC, but I got the hang of it after playing with John Jo for a few hours. The games we played were Day of Defeat and Counter Strike.
Mother took me and Georgia on two little vacation trips in the same week. For the first trip we went to Long Beach, where we stayed at the Hyatt hotel. It reminded me of our little trip to Ventura two years previously. We visited the Harbor and the aquarium. The three of us really bonded on this trip.
We went home for a couple of days before going on the second trip. For the second trip, we went to Legoland and stayed at the resort there. The resort was exceedingly beautiful, with a huge swimming pool and spa. We met up with a family of one of Georgia’s friends and explored the entirety of Legoland.
When we got home from our marvelous trip, I had another sleepover with John Jo. He loved the fact that I lived near Planet Cyber, so he would soon be calling every week, asking to come over.
I saw Charlie a few days later. Charlie was also familiar with Planet Cyber, and when the two of us went there, he introduced me to an RPG game called Diablo 2. I didn’t know what to make of this game, it was like an adventure game similar to Banjo Kazooie and Donkey Kong, but much more mature, with the ability to interact with other players online.
Epic. Diablo 2, like "Banjo Kazooie". But more mature.
This is now a meme.
It was only a matter of time before I started inviting John Jo and Charlie to sleep over at the same time. When the three of us went to Planet Cyber as a group, I had an absolute blast. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
At father’s house, father would frequently invite his new friend Alexander Bubenheim over. Alex Bubenheim was a boisterous German man who worked as a composer and lived in the Top of Topanga community. Alex had a son named Lukas, who was a couple of years younger than Georgia. Lukas was a very girly and immature little boy, but I found him to be very amusing. They would come over almost every weekend that I was at father’s, and become a big part of my life there.
Seventh Grade began. My coveted summer break was all over. On the first day, I noticed some people I met during summer camp start school there as Sixth Graders. One of them was Patrick Dib, the younger brother of Alex Dib. I would always view Patrick Dib as an obnoxious, rude lout. He was very ugly too, and it annoyed me that he carried himself around as if he wasn’t a freckled, chubby-faced imbecile.
I said hello to everyone I knew from last year, including Robert Morgan and his clique of popular kids. There were also a flock of new kids who transferred from the Pinecrest in Van Nuys. I was soon to meet them. Among these were Alfred Graham, Anthony Glukov, Jonny Noone, Derek Olsen, Garrett, Rafael, and Edward. They already knew each other and always hung out together at the start of the year, but I soon noticed that each of them soon integrated into the already pre-established cliques of Pinecrest. I was jealous that Jonny Noone, an obnoxious Mexican kid, immediately became popular with the skateboarders because of his cocky attitude.
Alfred Graham, a half-black boy whom I would have a semi-friendship with throughout the years was intensely disliked by everyone, mainly because he was ugly and had a habit of intentionally annoying people. He would eventually become friends with the skateboarders, however, due to his interest in the sport.
The half black semi-friend is not so bad an idea either. "What do you mean by calling me racist! I'll have you know I got oodlebunches of semi friends and they're all half-black!"
My reputation as the "shy kid” continued, and I still didn’t make any friends who became close enough to see outside of school. I did socialize with various groups during school hours, so I wasn’t a complete outcast during Seventh Grade.
James Ellis started middle school at Paul Revere Middle School as a Sixth Grader. Though he is the same age as I am, he was held back a year in elementary school. Coincidentally, he went to the same school as John Jo, Charlie, and a few other friends from Topanga.
After this point, I would stop seeing James Ellis for a while. Our friendship became temporarily stale and would remain so for another year. The only time we saw each other during this period was when we had family get-togethers. James’s sister, Sage, often came over to play with Georgia, while James didn’t bother to come at all.
John Jo and Charlie started to come over every Friday. This would soon become a tradition. Fridays were always my favorite time of the week, and this tradition made me always look forward to Fridays with intense eagerness. They would be dropped off by their parents shortly after school time, and then we would all walk to Planet Cyber and play games for hours.
After a few of these Friday sleepovers, Charlie introduced me to his friend Elijah. Elijah was temporarily staying at Charlie’s house, and the two of them were like brothers. I immediately took a great liking to Elijah, and we became instant friends. He helped me beat some of the hardest levels of Halo. Elijah would then come over with Charlie and John Jo, and the four of us became a close group of friends. This was the only true social group I would ever have, and I had a great time with them.
We sometimes hung out at Planet Cyber until 3:00 in the morning, the latest I had ever been out without parent supervision. We would switch between playing Halo at my house, playing games at Planet Cyber, or skateboarding around the neighborhood. I briefly got back into skateboarding for the sake of enjoying it with these friends. On the following Saturday morning, we would wake up by 9:00, have breakfast at Krispy Kreme and spend a few more hours at Planet Cyber before my friends were picked up by their parents. I would then go to father’s house for the weekend, if father was in town.
My sister Georgia’s birthday was in November, and on that day my father hired a limo to pick up Georgia and her friends from mother’s house. Charlie and Elijah came over, though John Jo was absent that day. When the limo returned, we all celebrated Georgia’s birthday at the house together. I introduced father to my friends. It was a very happy experience.
When the winter break finally arrived, my grandma Ah Mah came over from England to visit, and she stayed in the fourth bedroom at mother’s house. Ah Mah is just like my mother, she always knew what I liked and went out of her way to get it for me, just to put a smile on my face. She brought with her some of my favorite English chocolates, along with her famous peanut cookies that I loved so much.
Mother had a party at her house, and a lot of family friends came over, including Maddy and her mom, James and his family, Philip and Jeffrey and their family, and a lot of mother’s old friends whom I hadn’t seen for a long time. Ah Mah, who is a professional cook, made some of her special dishes, and we set up a bouncy castle in our backyard. I invited John Jo, Charlie, and Elijah over, and we walked to Planet Cyber for a little bit, then walked back home and had some fun on the Bouncy Castle. James never really liked my group of friends... he told me he thought they were jerks. I suppose he was right about John Jo, but Charlie and Elijah were always nice people. Oh well, I never really liked James’s friends either, so that made us even, I guess.
I had a great time during this party. James and Maddy were the last ones to leave. Me and my sister played with them for a while on the bouncy castle. It made for an interesting and peculiar experience, playing with both James and Maddy at the same time, my two oldest friends. It had been a long time since I had seen Maddy, and it would be the last time that we would ever play together as friends. Before the night was over, we all took a picture together outside my mother’s front door. James made a funny face for it, while I stood behind him awkwardly waving my hand. To this very day, my mother still has that picture in one of her photo albums.
One time when John Jo, Charlie, and Elijah came over for our traditional Friday night sleepover, we met up with Armando and his younger brother Gus. I hadn’t seen them since Topanga Elementary school. We had a good time skateboarding with them at the church parking lot near mother’s house, and all over that area. Afterwards, we had some video game competitions at Planet Cyber.
My mother took me to watch Lord of the Rings: Return of the King in the movie theatres. I already saw the first two movies, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the series until I saw this third one in the movie theatres. Watching that movie in the theatres was such an epic experience, and I will always remember it. Though it wasn’t as exciting as going to the red carpet premieres of the Star Wars prequels, it came quite close.
Dat bitch, holding out from him!
In other news, holy fuck is this prose tepid! And we're not even a third in just yet! If you've made it this far, nothing, not even epilectic tree fanfic can deter you.
After the movie, mother and I ate dinner at TGI Friday’s. When we got home, as I was getting ready for bed, I heard a knock on my door. It was Elijah asking if I wanted to go with him to Planet Cyber, which I did for a few hours.
That day marked the last time I would ever go to the movie theatres with just my mother, except for premieres. Growing up, I always loved it when my parents took me to the movies. The large screen and loud surround-sound immersed me into the movie, and I liked that dizzy feeling I would feel when I walked out of a movie theatre and entered back into the real world. It was always a remarkable experience.
Soon enough, the movie theatres would turn from a place of joy to a place of dread. Once puberty arrives, I would start getting jealous of all the young couples or groups of boys and girls who go to the movies together. That day that I saw the final Lord of the Rings movie was the last time I enjoyed the movie theatres in peace, without fear of humiliation.
O btw, did I tell you of all the times I took a girl to the movies only to have her strip naked after the lights go out and then ... do stuff... you know...
Aside from Fridays, I always met my group of friends at Planet Cyber on Wednesdays, because they were charging only one dollar per hour on Wednesdays. Usually my mother wouldn’t let me play video games for such a long time on a weekday, but she made an exception for Wednesdays.
On one such Wednesday, Charlie introduced me to the game Warcraft 3. It was like no game I had ever played before. It enabled the player to build an army and battle against other players online. After the first round of Warcraft I”, going up against John Jo and Charlie, I was captivated. The game was so much fun. I couldn’t help but think about it every second for the next two days. When the following Friday arrived, we played it for most of the day and well into the night.
My initially happy interest in the game Warcraft 3 had an ominous tone to it. This was the beginning of a long relationship with the Warcraft franchise. In less than a year from that point, they would release their ultimate game, World of Warcraft, a game that I would find sanctuary in for most of my teenage years.
I knew Athene was going to get pulled into this. I just knew it.
Seventh Grade flew by very fast. My school life was a continuation of Sixth Grade. I mingled with acquaintances here and there and behaved nicely with everyone. The difference is that I was having so much fun outside of school with my friends at Planet Cyber that I didn’t really care about getting popular at school or getting attention from girls. I was enjoying my very last year of childhood. My twelfth year was one of the best years of my life, and the last year that I was happy. I’m glad that I can at least say I made the best of it.
I gave no thought at all to my future, or the fact that puberty was just around the corner. I barely even knew much about what puberty was. With puberty, my whole world would change, and my entire life would collapse into utter despair. I wonder how I would have handled things if I knew... If was prepared...
There's really nothing to prepare for. The nature of the ratchet of development is that as time goes by it exposes more and more failures, inadequacies and errors in the fenotype. Part of the zygotes that pass muster at three weeks are aborted by six. Part of the kids that seem just fine three year olds will be inferior pieces, rejectable by seven. Of all the perfectly acceptable college kids, a good chunk if not most end up shed by life & society. Because they were just not that great.
Such is the nature of time and developmental stages ; what's forewarning do for anyone ? Give them something to fret over, so as to further distract themselves from performance ? Not useful ; and not a good idea.
This summer was long awaited. I was having the time of my life, and once school was out I couldn’t wait to spend the summer relaxing and doing fun things. I was relieved that neither of my parents made me attend summer camp. I suppose I had gotten too old for it. This summer was mine to enjoy however I wanted.
"I proclaim this - the summer of George!"
It was like a coveted treasure that I could only hold for a few moments, but those moments would last forever in memory. It was my last summer before puberty. My last summer of innocence. My last summer of true happiness and satisfaction with life.
I continued my traditional Friday sleepovers with Charlie, John Jo, and Elijah. Because there was no more school, they would sometimes come over on other days as well. I managed to beat the entire game of Halo on legendary mode with Elijah’s help, an impressive feat.
Philip and Jeffrey came over quite a lot as well. Philip was always the mature and insightful brother, while Jeffrey was the wild and funny one. Seeing the two of them together always made for an interesting and excitable mix. Their mother, Kathy, brought them over on weekdays quite often. We drank a lot of soda, ate a lot of candy, and played with scooters and skateboards around my mother’s neighborhood. I took them to Planet Cyber one time and showed them some of the games there.
On the weekends I spent at father’s, we usually did something with the Bubenheims. They lived in the Top of Topanga community, where we often spent afternoons. I played with Georgia and Lukas in the swimming pool there, and being one who admires great views, I spent a lot of time looking out at the Valley. Going to that place would always remind me of my Fifth Grade graduation party, a good memory.
I briefly watched an obnoxious video rant of this guy, he explains how spectacular a view is that could indulgently be described as shitty. He literally has no fucking idea.
Soumaya told us extraordinary news. On one sunny afternoon at father’s, me and my sister were asked to come to the dining room for a special announcement. It wasn’t announced by words, but by Soumaya indicating us to feel her stomach. She was pregnant! She and my father were having their first baby together. I was going to have a baby brother.
I felt elated. I remember when I was a bit younger I always asked my father and Soumaya if they were going to have a baby, and they said they would like to. I still felt surprised when it was actually confirmed. It was that warm feeling that would envelop me when a good change happened in my life. I had no idea what it would be like, but I welcomed it.
My step-grandmother Khadija came to stay with us for a second time, mainly to help Soumaya prepare for the birth.
In the middle of the summer, mother took me and my sister on a vacation to Malaysia. This was the first time we would go on an overseas vacation with just mother, and I was pleased at the thought of it. We took off on my 13th Birthday. I spent my birthday on the airplane, a much more exciting birthday than the previous few. We traveled on Singapore Airlines, and though we weren’t traveling first class on this trip, I found it to be just as comfortable. The staff of Singapore Airlines knew it was my birthday, and they brought me a cake with a candle during the middle of the flight. It was a very nice gesture.
We had to spend eight hours at the Singapore Airport. I thought this airport was such a pleasant place that I really enjoyed just spending time there. It was all part of the vacation experience. The airport was huge, and much more entertaining than LAX or any airport in Europe that I’ve been to. The three of us walked around and explored, went shopping, visited all the common areas, and had a nice meal at one of the restaurants. There were a lot of foreign candies and sodas that I was curious to try. Traveling with just my mother and sister was a lot less stressful than traveling with father and Soumaya. It was wonderful.
That poor woman.
When we arrived in Malaysia, we met up with my grandma Ah Mah, my mother’s sister Min and her husband Jack, and cousin Emma. They were also visiting Malaysia from England. We all stayed at a tall hotel building near the beach. After we unpacked everything at the hotel, some of my mother’s relatives who lived in Malaysia came to see us. We had a birthday celebration for me at the hotel that night. Before I went to sleep, I pondered over the fact that I was now a teenager.
I had a lovely time on this vacation. Our hotel suite was on one of the highest floors of the building, and it had an exquisite deck that provided a view of the ocean. During the trip, we toured around the island of Penang, visited Georgetown, went to a fun waterpark, and had very delicious meals at many exotic restaurants. Just relaxing and watching movies at the hotel was a joy in itself. The vacation was so nice that I didn’t even miss my life at home. The three weeks flew by very fast, and I cried a little when it was over. It was a good sadness.
I celebrated my birthday again at father’s house on the night we returned to America. I was allowed to have my very first glass of beer for this celebration. I always thought of alcoholic drinks, such as beer and wine, as mysterious drinks that were forbidden to children like myself. Father would let me have only a small sip of wine from time to time. Having my first glass of beer felt like a big honor.
For my present, I got my first cell phone. During this era, cell phones were like a rite of passage for kids my age. I always envied the kids who had a cell phone. John Jo had a silver Sprint phone with green lighting that I always coveted. To finally have a cell phone of my own made me feel so proud. My phone was a silver T-Mobile phone with blue lighting. I loved the satisfaction I felt when I opened it up and saw the pretty lights.
Aaand we'll have to pause here for now, the satisfaction of pretty lights temporarily overwhelmed the last rag I was using in place of a gas filter.———
- Expert consensus is currently that "playdate" was the closest he ever got to "date" so he's not giving it up so easily! You'll hear playdate fifty times because he likes the sound of "date" in there. Formally speaking, it's almost halfway there! [↩]
- Nice! [↩]
- For the record, whenever you say "prestigious", this is what I hear. [↩]
- So they started calling me Kenny. [↩]