Friday, October 13, 2006

D'You Know What I Mean??

I felt compelled to write something a bit more personal this time. Kind of a post to leave for the weekend or something. I don't know I'll post more probably this weekend when something else happens that strikes my mind.

When I was 14 I went through some personal drama. My parents moved me from the giant suburbia known as the San Francisco Bay Area out to the golden hills of Calaveras County. I was laying awake last night, listening to my iPod and thinking of the past. This song by Oasis, "D'you know what I mean?" came on and for some reason, I just wanted to crank it up and think about the challenges I went through when I was 14, starting that new school and meeting new people for the first time. I have copied the lyrics over the post, just to do something different.

Liam sings...

Step off the train all alone at dawn
Back into the hole where I was born
The sun in the sky never raised an eye to me
The blood on the tracks and must be mine
The fool on the hill and I feel fine
Don't look back cos you know what you might see

I started my new middle school just over midway through my 8th grade year. I felt lonely for the first time when my mom drove away from the school parking lot. I had know idea. It was February and all I remember was how bright the sun was that day. It was crisp and clear, probably close to 70 degrees which is rare for the foothills in February. My first class was English. So awkward being the new guy. I actually felt chastised from the moment I walked in the door. A few people giggled. I walked with a limp because I shredded my knee skateboarding and had to have it drained just weeks before. The class was ready Johnny Tremaine and I think they were on the part where he burns his hand.

I remember hobbling after that to my second period class which was P.E. I checked in and was assigned to a group. But since I could not participate with my knee I had to sit on the bleachers. I remember a kid, some scrawny little creep, muscling past me because "I was the new guy". He kicked me in the leg as he was pushing past to take a seat on the bleachers. He shouted some explicitives at me and that's when I threw my first punch, approximately one hour, into my first day at the new school, right into his gut, knocking him right to his back. (Told you he was a scrawny kid)

Liam sings...

Look into the wall of my mind's eye
I think I know, but I don't know why
The questions are the answers you might need
Coming in a mess going out in style
I ain't good-looking but I'm someone's child
No-one can give me the air that's mine to breathe

This of course... was a mistake! I grabbed the attention of every student in the room at this point and it was dead silent. Instinct told me to get down on the ground, on my feet, especially with a bum knee. I had to show strength.

It was amazing how fast this almost artificial circle formed around me. Students, boys and girls, all gawking at me and the kid some 10 yards away from me now, catching his breathe. I remember the look on his face. The "You are so Dead!!" smirk that now formed was the eerie beginning of something that was changing my life forever. I was on defense for the rest of school years... I had no friends here at this school and this day was the start of something bigger than I could control.

Liam really sings it here...

I met my maker
I made him cry
And on my shoulder he asked me why
His people won't fly through the storm
I said "Listen up man, they don't even know you're born"

Out of nowhere, to this day comes the biggest 8th grader I have ever scene. He wasn't fat or really had any bulk, but he was already 6 feet tall. What was striking was that he wasn't lanky or disproportionate. He had a muscle shirt on. Had the whole, Matt Dillon from the Outsiders thing going on. He just stared. In a total defensive position, I stared back. Never once letting me eye off of him. Unless he was gonna talk to me, I still had somewhat of an advantage. I was more unknown to him as he was to me. I had a slim chance if this thing went down. He tried to make me flinch (which for some reason was the big joke at that school) but I just stared. The moment of truth was seconds away.

Liam sings the Chorus...

All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
Yeah, yeah

The silence was deafening. The two P.E. coaches were now realizing this thing was on but they had 75 students to get through and were not moving too fast to break this thing up before it got nasty. Who really was in charge, the coaches? The Dallas Winston look alike or me?

So I made the first move... Why not right.... right?

Liam sings another verse...

I don't really care for what you believe
So open up your fist or you won't receive
The thoughts and the words of every man you'll need
Get up off the floor and believe in life
No-one's ever gonna ever ask you twice
Get on the bus and bring it on home to me

I stuck out my hand for a shake. Like, "hey... this is intense... Um... we cool now?" My hand was briskly slapped away. I stuck it back out there just as fast. It was slapped away again and this time I stepped back and got some chuckles from the audience waiting for me to die. I stuck it out there again anyway and this time, he paused... then threw me to the floor. "OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" The crowd screamed. I picked myself up. His back now to me... I shouted "Hey!" And stuck my hand out hoping he would rescue me out of this humiliation with a shake. Nope... Nothing... Zilch... He was combing his dark brown hair...

All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
All my people right here, right now
D'You Know What I Mean?
Yeah, yeah

The next day I was asked where I was from. Daly City... I said. Near San Francisco... I was called a faggot and a pussy and harassed for the next year... I guess you don't go to a country school and tell them where you are from. So many fights, bloody noses and bruises. Sometimes they beat my ass, but sometimes I beat the living hell out of them!!

One day, my freshman year high school, while I was in my English Class, I was being ridiculed by a few guys. I still was there fighting back, every word, standing up for myself. This deep voice from the back of the room yelled "Cool it, leave Steve alone now." The silence in the class of deafening. It was the big kid from 8th grade... bailing me out...

I guess a year was enough...

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