Monday, May 23, 2011

Bad Snare Day

I tend to characterize myself as a very well-behaved girl growing up.  My childhood resume provides foundation for this thesis: I am the first-born of five children, with a predictable sense of responsibility and Type-A personality.  I wasn't allowed to eat sugar cereal or watch cartoons and my favorite TV shows (which had to fit in a 1.5 hour per week allotment) were, at various stages of childhood, 3-2-1 Contact, The Electric Company, Donny & Marie, The Muppet Show, Little House on the Prairie, Father Murphy, Alf, and Murder, She Wrote.  My parents keenly sniffed out my natural penchant for guilt and never gave me a curfew.  "You know when it's time to come home," they assured me confidently.  Darn it if I didn't exceed their expectations  99.9% of the time.  I was also good cover, apparently; I learned at my high school reunion that several classmates told their parents they were going to my house when they were planning to be elsewhere, partying. 

Despite my upbringing and internal regulator, there is a little streak of naughty inside me I indulged from time to time, mainly at school.  My friends and I engineered a variety of pranks on our teachers in middle school, including sending notes around the classroom with a time and activity ("At 9:23, stare up at the ceiling," "drop your pen on the floor," or, causing a cloud of dust to rise up from the carpet which enveloped the class:  "stomp your feet"), and taping notes to our teachers' backs.  I once earned myself a phone call home from my teacher for chatting in sign language with my BFF across the room in math class. 

In high school we moved the desks in our history classroom into the teacher's office and sat on the floor in their places, where the teacher found us when he entered the classroom.  We turned our good-natured history teacher's posters upside down and lit incense and stuck it in the pencil sharpener.  We also "forked" the lawn of a boy we liked and hot-dogged his tree.  On the last day of class senior year, I asked my beloved physics teacher if he was as dumb as he looks (no good answer to that question, haha!) and he responded by gleefully sending me to the vice principal's office with a referral.   

But my favorite story of my own malfeasance is the time a bad hairdo was the undoing of me and some members of my cross country team. 

It was the 80s, when neon colors, acid wash, big bangs, plastic earrings, and perms were "in."  And there were times when I sported all of these trends in one totally awesome ensemble.  The summer between freshman and sophomore year, I decided to have my hair permed.  I saved money and rode my bike to the Navy Exchange Salon on a Friday for a late afternoon appointment.  I was the last appointment, and I remember it being one of the longest one of my life.  Because as my hair was trapped in very narrow-barrelled curlers and I was captive beneath a hood dryer, my hairdresser cleaned the salon thoroughly and forgot about me.  "Oops!"  she exclaimed, finally noticing my feet by the broom as she swept the floor.  I smiled at her weakly, chemicals burning my eyes.  "You've been under there for quite a while!"  Her nervous good cheer was belied by the speed at which she yanked those rollers out and her suggestion that washing my hair often would relax the crazy curls. 

I rode my ten speed home, horrified and resigned.  I wanted curly hair, and boy, did I have it. 

There was no hiding my hair, so I rocked it.  And that perm lasted months, through summer and fall, into Homecoming:

as well as cross country season.

Daily athletic practices in high school are exhausting, but cross country practices are a particular grind.  Everyday, we ran.  And running is tiring.  Even though we experienced a variety of workouts, including running sand dunes, running intervals, running hills, running fartleks, and running through the neighborhood, it was still, always, running.  We loved running--we chose cross country as a sport, after all--but we loved to complain about it too. 

There were some days when we just didn't feel like it.  Those were the days we'd beg to cancel practice, cajole our coach into going light on us, and turn the whining up a notch or two.  And on some occasions, we'd show up but skip practice altogether.  The beauty of cross country practice was that unless we were running around the track, we were generally running away from and out of sight of our coach.  Under these instances, he would ride his bike along our route to encourage us (i.e., keep track of us). 

One long-neighborhood-run day when we weren't feeling it, a group of us conspired to jog off as if we were embarking on the workout, and then duck around the block, jump in Scooter's car, and head to Baskin Robbins.  Not only were we not going to run that day, we planned to eat ice cream.  We would park a block or two away afterwards, and run back to the track as if we'd just put in five miles.

We piled in Scooter's car as planned and drove a route to the ice cream shop we thought wouldn't cross the path of our honest teammates and coach.  We miscalculated, however, and Scooter turned left and merged right into the path of our coach on his bike.

"Duck!" he yelled, and we attempted to hide ourselves in the backseat as Scooter drove his car without looking.  I was a little slow on the uptake and piled myself atop a friend who was giggling into the upholstery.  We hit Baskin Robbins as planned, believing we were home free, and faked a sweaty exhausted return to campus. 

Our coach logged our return on his clipboard and then called us over, hands on his hips, as we dramatically panted. 

"Not only did I recognize Scooter's car," Coach pointed out, "but I could see Fer's curls flying in the air through the back windshield." 

And that's how my hair got us in trouble--and earned us some extra sprints. 

Baskin Robbins' Chocolate Mousse Royale made it almost worth it. 
Hair:  too big to hide, and big enough to hide behind


Ms. Bice said...

I love this post!

Melina said...

Ah pranks. Surely you remember the White Elephant Hubcap exchange ;)

fer said...

Thanks for the reminder, Melina! That was a coup--a huge, clever surprise!