I spend a lot of time thinking about how, by societal standards, I’m behind in life. I’m bombarded daily with information about the people in my graduating class who are now homeowners with spouses and kids and careers and life insurance policies. I’m not even sure about the specifics on my car insurance policy. Now, do not misunderstand, I’m not making fun of my peers (at least not for the aforementioned topics) because I do want those things. But I feel like I’m missing that piece that allows you to understand everyday life and how it comes together. Paying for a family, saving for college funds, having that cushion in case your car breaks down. Mostly, it just gives me a lot of anxiety.
When I was in high school (and any other time in my life, in fact) I struggled severely with math. I could never make it make sense to me which was beyond frustrating because it was fairly cut and dry. Everything had a formula and a specific calculation but I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. My senior year, this almost interfered with my being able to walk at my high school graduation. Looking back on it, it probably wouldn’t have been such a big deal to me if it hadn’t meant so much to my family. I still would have gotten my diploma, just a little later and way less concern about trying to keep my feet from coming up over my head, lest I trip in my heels that I never properly learned to walk in. I was failing my algebra class (although, I still maintain this was not my fault as my regular teacher ended up leaving the school year early with a broken leg and the substitute had more of an “I’m just here to make sure you don’t die or set the place on fire” attitude). Since failing the class would have put me one credit short of a timely graduation, my grandparents discussed the best course of action with my counselors and they decided that I could take the class period before my normal math class (where I was a teacher’s aide, and it was probably for the best because this particular group of underclassmen were shit-asses) to attend the same class the hour before with a different teacher. I had been taught by him previously (the summer after I, rather poetically, bombed my geometry class) and if you were to ask me now, I couldn’t possibly give you a straight answer as to why he made math in general so clear to me. It was like he translated it from the dead language it always sounded like into this beautiful musical soundtrack that played on repeat. I tried to blame it on the fact that he was pretty easy on the eyes, but that has been ruled out as any sort of credible reason, since my geo teacher was fun to stare at as well (and as noted, that did not save me in the least). Somehow, after just a few days in this new setting, I knew exactly what I was doing like I’d been doing it for years. By the time my regular class would start, I had already moved on to completing the next day’s assignment. I was able to soak up just enough information to secure a solid C on my final, just barely skating me into the passing percentage and allowing me that terrifying walk up the stage steps to that oddly important piece of paper (its current location, completely unknown, at present).
So maybe, that’s what I’m missing. That one substance or unit that takes every piece of information about life that I just don’t understand and filters into something I can’t wait to hear again and again. Like, a phonograph. I always imagined that was how they worked.