Lindsay was a brunette and had silky, straight hair that went down to her shoulder blades. Having played soccer together for ten years, conveniently Lindsay and I also happened to dive into our rebellious, angst-filled phases at the same time too.
“It’s Pantene hair, Lindsay, face it, you’ve got the look,” I used to say. This was in high school. I looked up to her because she was, in my innocent eyes, prettier, thinner, troubled, intelligent, and an excellent writer. To me, Lindsay got to experience some of the things I never experienced until college because she was all of these things – and then some. And being her best friend, I got to live vicariously through her highs and lows. Most of the time, I loved it.
Our respect and friendship was mutual until around sophomore year in college. Lindsay looked up to me because my family was, according to her, perfect, loving, understanding, and hip. She admired that I was a thinker and a writer as well. She loved my sense of humor and my lack of hesitancy with emotional issues.
“Fuck it, let’s skip fifth and get hair dye. Do you wanna?” she used to say.
“Of course I do,” I’d reply. And sometimes we’d do just that. Other times we’d speed all the way across the Willamette River via the Burnside Bridge to the East side where it was ten times easier to buy cigarettes and alcohol as a minor. No matter what we did, a quick stop for espresso was always in order.
“We got skeels,” she’d say as we bounced my ’87 Plymouth over the triple speed bumps in the student parking lot. “Back just in time for sixth period.”
At first skipping classes gave me anxiety. But I was a straight-A student and tired of being straight-laced. I had my own car, knew my way around the city, and somehow kept my absences just low enough to stay out of harm’s way. It didn’t take long for the rush of the real world to replace my school-girl jitteriness. Besides, what we could learn in 48 minutes cruising around the city seemed a hell of a lot more important than fill in the blank tests or answering the questions at the end of each section in our Social Studies textbooks. It was no coincidence I would become and advocate and contributor to the experiential education movement years later.
Do you have a favorite story about playing hooky?