Tag Archives: childhood

Nicole the Nuisance

My fourth grade field trip companion.

My fourth grade field trip companion.

A few weeks ago, I was telling my boyfriend about all the crap I did as a kid, and I realized two very important things. I was a horrible little ball of energized annoyance, and these stories are actually kind of hilarious.

So here’s one of my better tales involving an annoying child and a fire alarm. It’s short, but it’s also super cringeworthy and makes me hate myself a little bit. Enjoy…?

In fourth grade I came to the important realization that being annoying is adorable so therefore I should be the biggest pain in the ass because adults will love me and find me endearing. And what more could I really want at age nine? I forget where this came from, but I also think I concluded that being dirty and gross was really cute, too. Memories are burned in my mind of me standing in front of the bathroom mirror and messing up my bangs before returning to class only to be stared at like the grimy little gremlin I was. I didn’t mind that they stared—in fact, I reveled in it. I loved the attention and I loved getting it by being the dirty, weird kid. Being unpopular was my goal in elementary school, but that’s probably a different story for a different blog post/therapy session.

Fourth grade was the epitome of my “bad” days, to the point that I was under teacher supervision during every field trip. This came to be early on in the year after I drew a picture of a mean substitute and wrote “The Bitchy Witchy,” which of course the poor substitute found and delivered to my teacher. My 26 year old self aches for this sad old woman who was just trying to do her job, while nine year old Nicole sits in the corner maniacally laughing.

This story takes place at the planetarium, which is probably one of the coolest places for a nine year old to visit. We were standing in line to get into the theater and I was bored. Maybe I had ADD, or maybe I was nine and easily distracted. But whatever the reasoning, I walked over to the fire alarm and set off the alarm.

Now let me just clarify something. This wasn’t a situation where I schemed and planned to ruin everyone’s afternoon. I was never one of those kids that wanted to pull the fire alarm, and I frankly can’t pull a prank to save my life. I was bored and the idea of opening a little box that I saw everyday at school but never desired to touch suddenly became important. No, necessary. I had NO IDEA that just opening that clear plastic case would set the alarm off, though. I wasn’t even bad enough to purposely do this.

People shouted and started hurrying around, and I distinctly remember the panic in my teacher’s eyes. She looked around trying to pinpoint her student’s locations and not lose her job, only to see Nicole the nuisance standing next to the fire alarm looking guilty and terrified. She laughed. She. Laughed.

I still maintain that this teacher adored grubby little ol’ me and wanted me in her group because she liked me so much, and this situation is my biggest piece of evidence. Even when she was telling me that I was disgusting or annoying, she always did it with a smile. When I think about it now, it’s definitely a weird, negative relationship to have with a teacher, but it made for a fun school year at the very least and a slew of insecurities that I’m dealing with in my adulthood at the very most. BUT I DIGRESS…

From what I remember, no firefighters came to the location and I don’t think we even evacuated the planetarium. Soon after the chaos was resolved and someone closed the fire alarm case, we got to watch our starry show. As soon as the lights dimmed, I took out my Snoopy flashlight (the one I brought on all my field trips, along with all the other toys that I made sure to bring on any class outings). My teacher tsked, leaned in close to me, and whispered, “That’s cute, where’d you get that?”

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Robin Williams and My Heartbroken Childhood

robin_williamsI don’t usually care for movies or the lives of celebrities. Namedrop and there’s a very good chance that I’ll have no idea what you’re even talking about. When a popular celebrity dies, I feel empathetic but it doesn’t normally go past that. When the news of Robin Williams’ death reached me, however, I was devastated and speechless.

It’s weird feeling like this because I was a total stranger to him. And he was a stranger to me. What did I know about him outside of his movies and stand up? Honestly, not that much. Jumanji was a gigantic part of my childhood, though. It recalls memories of me going to my mema and grandpa’s house, hanging out and watching this movie obsessively. Every time I went there (which was pretty often), I watched Jumanji. I cherish these memories. They’re memories of my childhood, of when my grandparents were still alive, of when my innocence was preserved and my biggest challenges in life were trivial and childish. It brings back times that I can escape to when the present seems daunting or surreal.

There’s other movies that do this for me too of course. But as I grew up, I didn’t find myself impressed with the movies from other actors I idolized as a child like I did with Robin Williams. George of the Jungle will always hold a special place in my heart, but I don’t give a shit about what Brendan Fraser is doing with his professional career anymore. I liked Robin Williams because he was talented. In the course of an hour and a half, I could laugh and also tear up from his impressive acting. In fact, the last movie I saw in theaters before his death was Boulevard at the Tribeca Film Festival and I loved it. I rarely go to the movies and if I do, I usually don’t care much for what I’ve seen (obnoxious, huh?). And yes I had free tickets for the day, but I was only able to see one film and I was pumped that it was a Robin Williams movie.

Robin Williams was a symbol of happiness and silliness. He was the needed joke in a serious situation. There’s no question he was talented, but he was also a good person. He cared about people, he inspired people. There’s countless stories about how people feel like their lives were changed just through watching a Robin Williams movie or from having a chance interaction with him. Even in his death he’s inspiring people to open up the discussion about the severity of depression and suicide. It brings to light the fact that even though someone may seem well-adjusted and “okay” on the outside, there’s endless emotions and thoughts that a smiling face can easily hide. I think we were all pretty fooled in this instance.

I feel like I was robbed of a huge part of my childhood. Watching these movies makes me sad when I realize that there isn’t going to be more for me to greedily take in. He touched lives inside and outside of his movies. I value him for what he represents to me as a symbol of my past and the memories he helps conjure up, and I’m left feeling a little sadder knowing I won’t have the opportunity to rejoice over a new Robin Williams movie again.

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