Heated Conversations with Water Fountains (Holly Schindler)
In honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve decided to share the mother of all plans. Yes, oh, yes, I had it all worked out. I was twelve, and it was the summer before junior high, and this was it—this was going to be the moment in which I won Mom over, got her to see things from my (admittedly, completely blurry) point of view.
First, a bit of backstory:
I was nine years old when the worst, most tragic event of all time came crashing down upon my slender little third-grader shoulders.
I could no longer read the chalkboard.
It happened suddenly, actually—I came back from spring break to find that my desk had been moved by well-meaning floor-sweeping janitors from the front row to the back. And the daily handwriting assignment, which our teacher put up on the board for us to copy each morning, was a complete and total blur. I couldn’t see. Period.
My first glasses were fairly strong (for 20/200 vision). And—I hated them. Talking hate here. Hate. The fact that it was 1986 didn’t help, either. Remember glasses of the ‘80’s? The enormity! The hideousness! Uuuugh!
And it officially began: the battle with my mom for contacts.
I didn’t just want contacts. I lusted after them, especially as my eyes grew progressively worse. By the time I was headed for junior high, my prescription was creeping up toward a -5.00 (20/500 vision), and there was no way I could just take my glasses off at that point and navigate the majority of my days without them, haul them out of a backpack pocket to read the board once I got to class. Not if I didn’t want to start having long, heated conversations with hallway water fountains, anyway.
So, the summer before seventh grade, I came up with my infinitely brilliant plan: I would get the ugliest pair of 1980’s glasses I could find. I mean, ugly. Proof:
I just knew what would happen: when we picked up the glasses, and Mom saw how awful I looked, her eyes would widen in sheer horror. She’d insist we exchange the glasses for contacts, immediately, if not sooner.
Yeah. Didn’t work. As my seventh grade picture up there reveals.
Sure, I did get my contacts—the summer before high school, actually. And I wore them until I gleefully pitched the lenses and all the unending vials of cleaning solution in the trash shortly after my thirtieth birthday. In the end, the things that are important to us as teens are never the things that are important to us as adults. This Mother’s Day, as my own mom and I laugh at this—and other—horribly failed grand schemes, I’ll also be remembering that my teen characters should always have plans of their own that are obviously doomed, that provide a bit of comic relief, and that show them stumbling and learning and laughing all along their life’s journey.