Stuck in the mud

I think I know what my problem is: maturity.

Several summers ago, I hosted a small bonfire. We roasted marshmallows and created our own ice cream sundaes to top it off. After awhile, my guests got bored just staring at the fire (I was quite content, I might add). They decided to play non-alcoholic Dizzy Bat, using a croquet mallet instead of a bat. They formed teams and spun around, then raced (or tried to, rather) to the waiting teammate. I looked on. It looked stupid to me. The idea of spinning around after consuming a giant bowl of ice cream did not appeal to me. I let them laugh. I let them have their fun. I looked on.

I think they could tell I wasn’t keen with the goings on. But here’s the problem: I really can’t help it. Something in me is programmed to dislike childlike behavior. I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember.

Teammates at a cross country meet were throwing acorns at each other and laughing like maniacs. I felt embarrassed to be associated with them.

My junior and senior years, I never rode the bus home from track and/or cross country meets. Looking back now, I found myself wondering why I hadn’t. I missed out on a lot (if you count going to Burger King and wearing the paper crowns as a lot which, when with the right people, I do). It comes down to my maturity problem. Kids on the bus drove me insane with their ear-shattering cacophony on the way to the meet that I rarely desired to spend more time with them.

My maturity is a blessing in the eyes of the adults in my life, and a curse in the eyes of fellow teenagers. I am probably known as a stick in the mud; a fun sucker. I hear tales of drunken high schoolers. People laugh as they tell me about the wild parties going on and who kissed whom or who shed every article of clothing possible. I don’t laugh. I feel sad or disappointed, depending on the party of people involved.

Get some alcohol in me, and I can let go. But if I’m sober in a room full of drunk people, I’m not a happy camper. I can’t be sober and think a drunk person is funny at the same time. I can’t be sober and hear about who-did-what-with-who and not feel a little sick. The idea of drinking casually is more tempting than drinking just to get drunk (especially since the shit tastes vile, anyway).

So many times, I’ve asked myself this question: why didn’t I socialize and hang out more with people in my own grade during senior year?

The answer is Robby. He can be silly at times, but when it comes right down to it, he is the most mature young man I know. Any adult who knows him would agree with me. He’s a nice boy. He’s not the typical, just-wanna-get-in-your-pants 17-year-old. He’s a genuine, sweet and caring guy who proved himself to be mature right from the start of our courtship on February 21, 2010. We have always been inseparable until, of course, college forcibly drove us apart. My infantile peers just couldn’t match up to him. I didn’t want them to. Robby and I are 17 and 18 going on 30, respectively.

The people in my life like Katie, Robby, Kevin, Mama, Tayler, Caitlin, Sarah and Tori really know how to draw the silliness out of me. Everyone else in the world will just have to deal with the me who is stuck in the mud.

Brown, white, red, black and blue

We all wore different uniforms.

Brown and white covered my body, red and black for Kevin and deep blue and white for Christian (with much shorter shorts than ever before).

We’re the same people; the same friends. We’re just not on a team together anymore. We will never wear blue and white together again.

Kevin, me and Christian

Kevin and Christian are two of my very best friends. I can be myself around them and not worry about the consequences. I was back to my regular, snarky self. We met each other’s teammates, but we mostly hung around each other, cheering on kids from our respective teams.

Last Saturday, we traveled to the University of Rochester for a track meet. We’ve been training here and there, but nothing hardcore. The best part of the meet was being reunited with my former teammates. It wasn’t until our reunion that I realized how much I miss having them around at meets. When I grumble about running, they know how to deal with me. They grumble right along with me and then we laugh about our complaints.

That’s what is different about college. You’re thrown in with a group of kids that are your age, but you did not grow up with them. You don’t know anything about anyone; you have to trust what they say about themselves is the truth. I had missed the comfort of friends who have known me since I was four and seven (I think Christian’s known me that long…ish). At school, it’s all about where you are now, not where you were.

Being with my friends reminds me of where I was. Where I used to be. Who I used to be.

They bring it all right back.

The Lollipop

I was little. I was stupid. That’s all I can say to defend myself on this subject.

We were at the Cracker Barrel years and years ago when there was one near us, and before or after going in to eat (I can’t remember), we were looking around at all of the cool things hanging out at the gift shop. My mom and I were looking at the stand of huge, colorful lollipops and she lifted one out of its socket and asked if I wanted it.

I stupidly shook my head no. I was little. I was stupid.

I had this strange idea in my mind that little kids like myself weren’t allowed to have those giant lollipops. I must have thought there was alcohol in them or something. I couldn’t believe that my mother was offering me a lollipop – I shook my head to diminish what I thought to be her “bad” parenting.

Ever since then, I have been kicking myself for not accepting that lollipop.

So, after watching my friend Kevin run at the New York State track meet at Syracuse, we saw a sign for the Cracker Barrel. Since they have become sort of extinct in our secluded neck of the woods in Western New York, his parents decided it was a good idea to stop there for some ice cream. Instantly I exclaimed: “yes! I can finally get me a giant lollipop!” And then, of course, I had to tell them the story of The Lollipop. Well, instead of getting only ice cream we ended up having a whole huge meal (which I was totally okay with). Then Kevin and I were lollygagging around the candy section of the gift shop (with me singing “I’ll take you to the candy shop. I’ll let you lick the lollipop.“) and I picked out the identical twin to the lollipop my mom held up to me so long ago.

Two dollars and seventy-nine cents later, it became mine. I had this crazy idea that I would lick it once a day everyday to see how long it would last, but I have since decided not to do that (“then it would get all nasty,” said Kevin). Instead, it is sitting on the shelf of my desk, waiting for my tongue to begin its process of withering away into my mouth in a sugar-coated frenzy. I have yet to remove its wrapper and taste the sugary goodness within. Maybe I’ll never taste it. Who knows? Maybe I will just keep it for its sentimental value.

This shows how observant I am

I honestly am not a very observant person. I don’t recognize details (unless they’re important to me), and I almost never notice anything. Maybe this explains why I made a blunder today.

We had our first “real” Track meet of the 2009 season today. I got up in the morning with almost everything ready, but I needed to grab my cross-country hoodie from the dryer. I wrote a note to myself and stuck it onto my mirror so I would remember to grab said hoodie from the dryer.

Okay, so I remembered just fine without the sticky note, and I went downstairs and pulled my hoodie from the dryer. I put it on over what I was wearing and went along my merry way. I got to school, wore the hoodie for a little while, then put it in my locker before heading off to Health.

For our Track meet, I put on my uniform, my sweats and the hoodie. The opposing team we were to run against arrived just as I was stretching my hamstrings on the steeple. I figured they would see my name on the back of my hoodie and try to swallow their fear. You see, most teams see me as a threat. I fought back a laugh as I pictured the reactions upon seeing my name. Then, I went along with the meet.

The 4X8 went rather well, if I do say so myself. I got a rather decent split time (2:33), and got our team the lead we needed. We won that one.

It was after the 1500 and before the 3000 that I got a clue to my blunder. The 200m races were going on, and all of the people on the infield were to be crouching down so the officials could see one another from across the way. I didn’t think I had to crouch down – I thought I was out of the way. The officials yelled out to me, and then yelled “Hey, JEEVES!” and then when that didn’t work, “GOWANDA!” and, believe me, I crouched. The thing is, I didn’t catch the “JEEVES!” comment at the time.

After the 4X4, I pulled my hoodie back over my head. Suddenly I noticed that there was a rip near a hood, and it made me really sad. The hoodie had taken me through years of running seasons, and there it was, falling apart. I had also noticed earlier that it seemed more stretched out than I remembered, but I figured I must have lost a little weight. (Haha…)

My friend dropped me off at the baseball field to join my parents, and I walked up to them and said: “after years of hanging in there, this hoodie is finally falling apart.” Then my dad sort of looked at me funny and said: “you do know that you’ve been wearing your brother’s cross-country hoodie this whole time, right?”

Suddenly, it hit me. Everything made sense.

His hoodie says “Jeeves” on the back, and I realized that that was what the official had yelled at me earlier. It was obviously stretched out because he’s a little bit bigger than I am, and lastly, I did remember that his hoodie had sort of been tearing near the neckline. I blushed, said: “that explains a lot!” and then flushed with more embarrassment because of my cocky thoughts about how my opponents must have been “swallowing their fear.” What a joke!

If I had taken one quick glance at the name on the back of the hoodie, I could have saved myself from this little “incident.” I bet my friends were all wondering why I was wearing my brother’s hoodie, but they never said a word. I guess this just goes to show how observant I really am.