Sunday, April 18, 2010

(Less Than) Wonderful Memories

Yesterday was prom day for our high school. While I'd love to be able to say that when I saw the giant Escalade limo in our cul de sac and watched a bunch of neighborhood girls wearing too much eye makeup, shellacked up-do's and formal dresses pose for pictures (and noticed that there wasn't a minority in the group), nothing but wonderful high school memories came flooding back for me, that would be like saying I'm really a 5'10" large breasted natural blonde that never drinks and looks forward to putting on false eyelashes every morning.

I was adopted at the age of six months from South Korea and lived the first four years of my life in a small town in north-central Minnesota. Before kindergarten, my family moved to a not-quite-as-small-of-a-town just north of Minneapolis/St. Paul and I was lucky enough to be the child that introduced the concept of diversity to our local elementary school. I have vivid memories of a boy named Chris saying, every day of second grade, "Hey everyone, look at Jody. Her face is so flat it must have been smashed in by a Mack truck." If I would have taken a picture every time a kid made a slanted-eyes face at me while calling me such creative things as "Chung King" or "Chop Suey," the pictures would fill about 350 photo albums. Another girl always asked me why my name wasn't Kim, because "all Chinese girls are named Kim."

From grades 7-12, there were never more than four minorities in our school, myself included. I had plenty of friends in high school, but never dated anyone from my school because even though I got along with the guys, they all "just wanted to be friends." My junior and senior proms came and went without being asked to go, and at the time I was okay with it. Thinking back, though, I guess it would have been nice to have been thought of as dateable. But I'm sure it was just that the guys were being considerate because they all knew that I hated wearing a dress. Or maybe it was because they knew that I could drink more beer than them and were worried about me being an expensive date. Or maybe I smelled bad. I'm sure it wasn't because of my hair color, or the fact that in second grade I had been smashed into by a Mack truck.

So, on Saturday night, I was in a Chinese restaurant waiting to pick up some take-out and apparently I was standing a little too close to the hostess stand because a family walked in, the dad looked at me, and then said "We need a table for three." Normally, I would have laughed it off and chalked the moment up to finding yet another moron in the world, but since I had just been remembering all those wonderful moments of being teased and the proms I missed and why I used to hate going to Chinese restaurants as a kid (because the servers always assumed I was a foreign exchange student), I kind of snapped at him. Did I call him a clueless dick? Possibly. Did I point out the fact that wow, I even speak English? Maybe. Did I then grab my egg rolls and chicken in garlic sauce and mumble "what the fuck" as I walked by him and out the door? Absolutely.

Seriously. What a clueless dick.


Big Daddy, Esq. said...

I'd have dated you. But you were a girl. I was scared of girls. All girls. Actually, it was more that I was scared of rejection by girls. All girls. Even Asian girls. Of which there were, like, three, right? And I did go to prom with one of them. As friends. Because I was scared to push it.

High school sucks.

Anonymous said...

Wow - sorry you felt that way. I look back at my highschool yearbook and am shocked at how diverse it was....I never noticed. We were all classmates and that's all that mattered.