Friday, May 30, 2008

Musings to Clean Your Clock By

The other night, Margie and two of her band friends and I were discussing where the phrase "to clean your clock" comes from. None of us knew - and I suppose it's only my own fault that Wikipedia still doesn't have an entry on it - but we did determine that "Music to Clean Your Clock By" would be a great album name.

Also, the band name du jour is "Snotty Literati." I know you were wondering.

Out of curiosity, how many things in your life do you look back on that make you go "Unnngh"? One, or two, or five or twenty? I think I have six or seven: horrible things that never quite fade, and every time you remember that this particular something or set of somethings happened (somethings, of course, that I did), you go "unnngh."

Here's one: I was, I think, 10 or 11, and riding the schoolbus was a nightmare. No, it really was. Mine was one of the last stops, and by the time the bus arrived it was pretty completely full. Nobody wants to let you be the third person in the seat. There was that one small seat in the back, and the person sitting in it used to scrunch down where he wasn't visible from the front. So the bus driver, impatient, would say, "There's an empty seat in the back!" and you knew perfectly well there wasn't, because this had happened several times now; but you had to walk back there anyway because the driver told you to; and as you got close, the kid sitting there would pop up - again - and the whole bus would laugh at you for falling for that one. Again. You dumbass!

So to get out of the ordeal, I started hiding when the bus was pulling up - in the culvert, or around the side of the house, or behind the air conditioning unit. My parents had to drive me to school every day. I told them the bus driver was deliberately skipping the stop where I was waiting.

So they called the school, and some big stink ensued, and I'm sure something happened to the bus driver - he was also a science teacher, by the way, but I was never in his class - and I got in huge trouble at home and had to go back to riding the bus, where the driver was distinctly chilly to me for the rest of the year.


Of course, that one is long enough ago, and comparatively minor enough (though I'm sure it entailed some unpleasantness for the bus driver at the time) that I can write about it; not that much of an unnngh, now. But I have plenty of others much fresher and unnnghier. So I'm kind of wondering why I have so little empathy for my son, who just did himself up a treat, mate.

"Does life always suck?" he asked me, so I said, "No, only sometimes, and then it gets better... And then it sucks again. And then it gets better. And then..."

I don't know, you just try to distract yourself by hanging out with friendly people and coming up with funny band names, right? And thank every star in the sky you don't have to ride the schoolbus anymore.

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