Thursday, February 19, 2015

Graduation is Like Paris

When I was thirteen, my mom took me to England to visit one of her old college roommates. France was right next door, so we thought, hey, why not pay a visit? We were only there for thirty six hours, long enough to get ripped off at restaurants and hit the stock tourist sites. One of these was the Eiffel Tower.

So there we were, standing under the Eiffel Tower, the Frenchiest French building in all of France, and my mom turned to me and said, "Can you believe we're in France?"
I don't remember if I when into a rant or just chopped off the conversation with a "duh, Mom." But I understood what she was getting at. It's one thing to hear France exists, in books and movies and articles. It's another to actually stand there and discover the country's thicker than a map or postcard.
My middle school was an architectural nightmare. Cramped, dimly lit hallways, few windows, no air conditioning, and I won't even get started on the wall carpet. The high school building is younger than I am. I remember one day walking around the second floor sometime sophomore year with its balcony, wide halls, cheery purple lockers, when it hit me. I'm in high school.
I can still remember the day Kaelyn Hyde of Fifth Period Algebra announced to our class, "It's the second semester of eighth grade already! That means we're halfway through our middle school careers!" Now Kaelyn's a senior, which means I'm a senior. Shouldn't I still be looking forward to ninth grade?
As if the pre-nostalgia weren't enough, I've got to deal with Josten's, the company that has a monopoly in graduation junk. They set up their merchandise table on the landing outside the auditorium where my friends and I eat lunch. Hordes of seniors step over our food to throw money at them and pick up graduation mugs with the names of seven hundred people they never really new. Because of them, I've got all my friends walking around in Senior 2015 sweatshirts so I can never forget the end is near.  It's just chronological tourist junk-instead of a place we'll never revisit, it's a time we'll never see again. Like the little gold Eiffel Tower keychain tucked away in the bottom drawer of my desk, a reminder that, yes, I did go to France, and Paris is real. 

No comments:

Post a Comment