Posts tagged with "high-school"

small world

The drive to Toronto is get­ting eas­ier. It’s my only chance to really lis­ten to albums nowa­days1, not to men­tion the com­fort of see­ing famil­iar towns on the way, like the names of sub­way stops you can’t help but mem­o­rize as a child on the way home from school. And in a way, so many years later, Toronto still feels like home. Getting there is a jour­ney, but the peo­ple always make it worth it.

My patience tends to wear out about a quar­ter way in, when it becomes hard to main­tain a rea­son­able speed. It’s a test of whether I can drive safely to see how far I’ve grown as a person.

I fail every time.

Toronto view

The view from Alex’s down­town apart­ment. You can eas­ily tell Yonge Street apart from how brightly it’s lit.

Continue read­ing “small world”…

  1. Editors in both direc­tions this time, cause any­thing I lis­ten to nowa­days is Antje rec­om­mended. []

old habit

  • Rob: Sometimes it still hurts. You know how it is, man. It’s like, you wake up every day and it hurts a lit­tle bit less, and then you wake up one day and it doesn’t hurt at all. And the funny thing is, is that, this is kinda wierd, but it’s like, it’s like you almost miss that pain.
  • Mike: You miss the pain?
  • Rob: Yeah, for the same rea­son that you missed her… because you lived with it for so long.


I’m in my last days of high-school again. Pretty much this. Feeling like I have the rest of my life ahead of me with so much to look for­ward to, but only cause I’m try­ing to shed every­thing that hap­pened in the final dis­as­trous year.

I remem­ber writ­ing a lot back then in this black note­book. It was filled with all these ver­bal scrib­bles, short pas­sages of text, words, lyrics, emo­tions I couldn’t con­tain. My thoughts were a jum­ble, lost some­where between the pain and the love of how it made me feel alive.

That’s how I feel now. Old habits break hard.

About once every two years I uncer­e­mo­ni­ously threw it out and bought a new one, because I hated every­thing in it. I never wanted to think of myself as the per­son who wrote all the things in there. Sometimes I won­der if I’ll look back on these entries one day and think the same.


In my last year of high school — which was also my first year at that school, so no one really knew me — I had a cre­ative English class. We were given 15 min­utes of free writ­ing time at the begin­ning of each class, of which I mostly spent mak­ing ver­bal doo­dles to any kind of cin­ema stim­u­la­tion I had recently seen at the time. Around then, it would have been quotes from Monty Python and lines from Casino. Anyone could put a CD in the stereo for every­one to hear, so one week I put my most recent mix in.

In the mid­dle was Creep by Radiohead , and another guy in class sud­denly exclaimed, “A great song!”, amidst the silence of our work­ing minds. Everyone looked at him, then at me, and I felt a red­ness flush on my face.

That was fol­lowed by One by Metallica, and again he said, “Another great song!”, and the same chain of events hap­pened as last time.

He was that edgy kid with bleached blond hair and always got in trou­ble for wear­ing walk­ing shoes with his uni­form. He did his own thing, had his own tastes, and fit in with the crowds he wanted, not nec­es­sar­ily the crowds that wanted him. I was that awk­ward kid who had no real friends, had a mop for hair, and a per­pet­u­ally tac­i­turn demeanour. To have him acknowl­edge my taste for two songs in a row had sud­denly given me some kind of street cred because he was far more pop­u­lar than me.

Some of the other kids started look­ing at me dif­fer­ently from then on.

My Interest In Russian Literature

The story of a human soul, even the pet­ti­est of souls, can hardly be less inter­est­ing and instruc­tive than the story of a nation…

Many of my ear­lier entries con­tain ref­er­ences to Russian Romantic lit­er­a­ture, but I’ve never explained my fas­ci­na­tion with it. I’ve always iden­ti­fied with ideas of the Byronic hero and Nihilism, whether they were ideals or philoso­phies I felt drawn to. It was one book that intro­duced me to these ideas, called A Hero Of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov, a Russian poet (in the truest sense of the word) who died in a duel at 26. Whenever I meet some­one from Russia, I ask them if they’ve read it, in the hopes that per­haps I can gain some insight into this book from some­one who under­stands the orig­i­nal lan­guage. I read it when I was in grade 9, and so much of what the pro­tag­o­nist, Pechorin, made sense to me.


Ah, well! If I must die, I must! The world will lose lit­tle, and I am weary enough of it all. I am like a man who yawns at a ball and doesn’t go home to sleep only because his car­riage hasn’t come.

During a brief phase, I’d say about year off and on in high school, I was at the very depths of depres­sion and some­what sui­ci­dal, but I could never bring myself to do it. I was just hop­ing death would take me. It was an easy way out. Not only did I have no rea­son to live, but my life was quite unpleas­ant. My best friend had ditched me for the pop­u­lar crowd1, so my time at school was mis­er­able, then I’d come home to an empty life and par­ents that ignored me.

Ever since, I’ve felt like I’ve been liv­ing on bor­rowed time, wait­ing for the end to come, when it should have already arrived. That’s why I remain unp­hazed by the idea that I’m going to die, and accept­ing of the fact that it’ll hap­pen one day. As Pechorin says near the end of the novel, “After all, noth­ing worse than death can hap­pen — and death you can’t escape!”

Onegin painting

There’s a par­tic­u­lar scene in the movie Onegin2 that cap­tures the spirit of this mor­bid accep­tance. Onegin (played by Ralph Fiennes) has been chal­lenged to a duel that he can­not back out of, lest he be the sub­ject of ridicule, so he accepts. He’s fired upon as he’s walk­ing towards his oppo­nent, and, faced with death, sim­ply closes his eyes. The expres­sion of calm in his face shows that it’s out of reflex, instead of fear.

Continue read­ing “My Interest In Russian Literature”…

  1. This was made espe­cially more painful by the fact that I was so inse­cure that I defined myself through oth­ers, being left with­out being anyone’s “best friend” meant that I was worth­less. []
  2. Written by Alexander Pushkin, arguably Lermontov’s biggest influ­ence. In fact, as the char­ac­ter Onegin was named after the river and lake, Onega, Pechorin was sim­i­larly named after the river Pechora. []

Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend: Michele

Why should I stay and pre­tend?
You make me laugh again
My dar­ling, truth is we are not even friends
Love comes and it goes
Where your heart stops no one knows
How did I wind up in this mess, here with you?

Just a moment of weak­ness
I should exam­ine my head
Just a moment of weak­ness
I never meant a word I said

—Bif Naked, Moment Of Weakness

The first thing about you that caught my eye was your plat­form shoes. More specif­i­cally, the lanky way you walked in them with your plaid skirt on. You had such a funny gait that I would study when I was walk­ing behind you in the halls. Sometimes you looked like an injured fawn, vul­ner­a­ble and awk­wardly run­ning away with your long, slen­der legs. It was the very def­i­n­i­tion of sex­u­al­ity to a depressed, hor­monal teenage male.

Those shoes gave you an extra cou­ple inches, and I resented every time you sub­tly knelt so you wouldn’t be taller than me in any pictures.

I only have a sin­gle good mem­ory of our rela­tion­ship. You were sit­ting on my lap in the jacuzzi at Cammy’s place. It was February, and there was snow all around us, but we were warm and wet. Every few min­utes, we would dunk our heads under the water, then style each other’s hair, the win­ter air freez­ing it within seconds.

The more I got to know you, the more I learned that it was all a big mis­take. I stuck it out because I didn’t want to break up with you in the months lead­ing up to your exams. It was espe­cially hard when Lisa started show­ing inter­est in me, but I couldn’t do it.

You were a sex­ual bore. No sound, no reac­tion, noth­ing in bed. Your friends were all snobs. Your thoughts were trite, and your inter­ests were shallow.

You never knew it, but I had to decide between dat­ing you and Marina. It tore me up for a week, know­ing that one of you was going to be hurt. I chose you in a moment of weakness.

It was the biggest mis­take of my high school career.

The Letter To An Ex-Girlfriend series

  1. Introduction
  2. Ashley
  3. Michele
  4. Christie
  5. Jackie
  6. Louise
  7. Bronwen