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I always make it a point to let someone know when they have toilet paper stuck to their shoe, or something green and leafy stuck in their teeth. This is why…

Travel back with me to a warm Friday night in June in 1991. It was the first of 3 performances by the Drama Club at the high school. I was so traumatized that I can’t even tell you the name of the play. In just a few short weeks, I would be kissing this school good-bye forever (ironically, I ended up doing a 4 month college placement in the Guidance Department at school, where I was mistaken for a student and reamed out by a teacher for being in the hallway during exams…but I digress). I was escorting (or being escorted, depending on how you looked at it) my Grandmother to see the play.

The gym had that lingering, pungent smell – BOMASS (body odour & mouldy sweat-socks) and it was increasing as fast as the temperature inside. The gym’s dividing wall had been pulled across to “create” the illusion of 2 rooms. The first room contained coloured burlap-covered dividers with various forms of artwork magically stuck to it. And the second room contained rows of hard wooden chairs lined up in front of the stage, where the faded red velvet curtain hid the jittery actors and anxious set jockeys. My Grandmother started taking art classes at the high school the same year I started Grade 9 (and she continued to take art classes at the high school, every semester, long after I had graduated). Since she had some artwork on display, (or was it that she knew some of the students who had artwork on display), we had to arrive early in order to wander around and properly appreciate the artwork. There were quite a few people also wandering around. I spoke to a few people I knew from some of my classes including one guy and his parents; I had known them for years. Eventually, I dutifully followed my Grandmother into the second room to find a seat near the front of the room (so she could hear better).

We watched the first half of the play and I’m sure it was lovely… During intermission, the lights came on and people started to stand and stretch, some discreetly ducking out to the restrooms. It was when I stood to stretch and the 12 year old behind started to laugh hysterically, tears streaming down his face, that the full depth of my final high school humiliation came to light. All this time…from the time I had left the house, from the time I had walked into the school from the parking lot, from the time I wandered around looking at art…from the time that I stood and talked to Nick and his parents and then – oh the horror, kill me now – walked away from them…to the front of the gym…in full view of everyone…with my cute floral skirt neatly tucked into my pantyhose at the back…

I’ll just leave you with that mental image – Happy Weekend!