05 April 2017

My sit-down with Terrence!

Hello there, friends!

We're sitting down today to talk to Terrence, a 17 year old girl who is in her Senior year of High School at Silverleaf Academy.

Terrence is a nice young lady, and we appreciate her willingness to sit down and discuss all things writing, as she herself is a writer as well.

Me – Good morning, Terrence! How are you today?

Terrence – Hello, Rea. I'm doing well, thank you for asking. How are you doing?

Me – I'm good. Thanks! Now, Terrence, I just want to first say thank you for taking some time out of your study hall to speak with me today about this month's writing challenge. I understand you're having a discussion with another person, a… Bear with me here, his name's in my notes…

Terrence [wrinkles nose] – You mean Morty?

Me – Yes. Morty. I understand you two are in disagreement as to who gets “Screen Time,” as he called it, first? What seems to be the difficulty? Is there a way I can maybe help diffuse this argument somehow?

Terrence [rolls eyes, sighs heavily] – Well, first, let me just start by saying it's not that I have anything against him. I really don't. I rather like vampires, even those that have ZERO sense of fashion…. Or a sense of boundaries and personal space. Now, my issue with him lies solely with the fact that my story was the one that came up first. Mine. His came up later. He's pulling rank in age, telling me I'm just a high schooler, and he thinks since he's been around seemingly much longer than I have, well, then he should get the attention first. Now, I ask you, how is that fair?

Me – I see. I am aware of how things played out, as far as whose story came up first, and you're absolutely right that it's rude to “pull rank” and say that just because one's older than the other, then that's just rude. No, that's not okay at all. Have you tried to talk to Morty and explain your side of things, that you're the one who's first in queue to be written about?

Terrence [bitter laugh] – Yes. Well, that is to say I tried to talk to him.

Me – By your laugh and tone, I'm understanding that it didn't go very well?

Terrence – Are you kidding me? No. It didn't! I mean, I'm bullied at home. I'm bullied at school.  And now I'm bullied by some jackass who can't seem to get with the times and carry himself better than he does? You should hear some of the stuff he's said to me. He has tried using puns. He has tried just being domineering and telling me that since I'm female, I'm secondary because he's male and therefore I'm the weaker sex. No, bucko, that's not how this works!

Me – Yeahhh… He's tried that one on me, too, to convince me. And now he's pouting off in a corner. He'll live. Sorry he's being such a pain.

Terrence – So, yeah. I mean, he and that guy you know could easily be besties, you know what I mean, with all the chauvinism being slung about! [eye roll] What a JERK! Tell me, do you have to let him have his way? Do you have to even give him the satisfaction of attention to his story? I am not going to make a big stink of things like he's doin', but I can't understand why pigs like that get any attention at all. It doesn't seem right. Guys throwing about their weight like that. It's almost like they're overcompensating for what they're clearly and obviously lacking. Ugh!

Me – Okay, Ter, it's understandable you're frustrated, and it's understandable you're disgusted with Morty's behaviour, but can we stop lowering to his level? Yes? Now. My question for you is how do you want your story to be written, because clearly you've got something to say, too. I can see it in your face, your posture, your body language. I mean, we all have stories to share! What is yours, how do you want to be portrayed in the written word? I know about the bullying at school and home. And I promise you, you're not alone in this. Don't tell Morty I told you this, but he's aware from first-hand experience, too, kiddo. Trust me, hurt people hurt people. It's just ingrained somehow. It's a learnt behaviour. This is in no way whatsoever to sweep this whole fiasco under the proverbial rug, nor is it to make excuses for his clearly obnoxious behaviour. It's to hopefully shed some light on why he's being such a heinous pain in the arse.

Terrence – Blah blah blah. He's an ass. Plain and simple. The jerk tried to hit on me until I told him I'm only 17. He backed off after that one. Something about, “Did it hurt when you fell from Heaven?” Seriously, who comes up with this crap?! How is it even possible that nonsense works to get a girl's attention! You want to get my attention? Just come up and say hello and start talking to me about books, or hell, even the state of honeybees, something other than just ridiculous pickup lines! It's insulting! Not to mention irritating.

Me – I getcha. I do. One time, this was many years ago now, I had someone come up to me and ask me if I had ever used Windex in my laundry. Quite a strange question, so I told this person no, and why did he ask me such a thing? His reply (though funny now) was just disgusting: “Because I can see myself in your pants!” How about NO. What a douche canoe, y'know!? Now, enough about Morty. Tell me about YOU. What's going on in the world of Terrence?

Terrence – Oh, you mean other than the fact that I'm flunking PE and Chemistry? Not too much, just trying to get through the rest of my high school years, counting down till graduation (not too long now… FINALLY), and anxious to get to college, as far from here as possible, start my life and in a new place. And let me quantify on those two classes as to why I'm failing. PE – because I don't like dressing down in front of the other girls. Part of the grade the teacher gives is our attendance (punctuality is a MUST. I swear she was toilet trained at knife point!), and I tend to wait till AFTER all the girls are gone before getting dressed for class, when I can be arsed to dress down in the first place. Chemistry – Well… I'm not sure what's going on with that one, honestly. I feel like I'm either bored or I'm not really registering what the material being presented is trying to teach. I mean, don't get me wrong, the teacher's wonderful. I really like his style, he's funny and all, but the book work is difficult and my parents don't really know how to help and refuse to hire me a tutor. None of the kids in my class want to sit down and explain things to me, and getting to school early enough in the morning before class to talk to the teacher isn't a possibility because I live in the sticks, but I'm hoping that my Guidance Counselour will let me just take the D- and transfer to a different course.

Me – A D- isn't too bad, though. It shows you're at least trying to understand the material being presented. I getcha, though. D- is not good when trying to get into a decent college. What are your plans, speaking of college, as far as a major? Have you given it any thought, or are you just going to get your pre-req's out of the way and decide when that's all done?

Terrence [smiling, this time sincere] – Oh, I've been accepted into one of the best schools in this country. I'm going to be attending Ocean View School of Fine Arts✨. My goal is to do a double-major in writing and graphic design, with a minor in ASL. I'm going for my Bachelors in Graphic Design and in Writing. No small undertaking, I know, but it'll keep me busy and I can land a really good job after I graduate. Once I get my career started, I'm going to go back for my Masters in Writing and in ASL, so I can teach. I'd love to work with Junior High kids. My grades overall aren't too terrible, and I've managed to survive this long without anything lower than a B, but this Chemistry course…. I can't seem to get the information to stick! And PE? Well, eh. I do a lot of exercising on my own, anyway, out of school. I walk everywhere, I even go jogging when the weather's decent. Basketball is a pastime that I don't seem to get to do as often as I'd like, but I'm seriously considering buying an elliptical one day. My cousin and I went to a gym just to check it out, and we enjoyed using their ellipticals, so now I want one.

Me – Congratulations! I've heard of Ocean View. It's a great school, to be sure. I'm proud of you. And hey, look at it this way: no Chemistry courses to endure! I understand you're getting high marks in your language courses in school, that's wonderful. I really struggled in tenth grade, but I was making good grades in Spanish class. Funny how that works out. Do you know any ASL now? Or are you starting from scratch when you get into OV?

Terrence – Thanks. No, I know a few things, simple little things like, “What's your name,” or the alphabet, stuff like that. Rudimentary at best, but I want to learn more. I had some deaf friends in elementary school, that's how I learned the signs I know.

Me – Well, at least you've got some groundwork laid out, so you're not completely lost at the beginning. I went to a retreat and had a couple times where I was really confused, but they were a good bunch of people and quite helpful. One social faux pas on my part, that was quickly corrected and a good laugh was had. Well, Terrence, do you want to meet up later this week, I'm going to sit down with Morty this week at some point and discuss his side of things, and then we'll go from there. I'd like to gauge where everyone's coming from before making a final decision on what to do about this whole fiasco. I don't want to leave you or him in the lurch and I'd like to give you both equal keyboard time.

Terrence – Oh, yeah, sure, no problem. I've got homework to do, anyway, so yeah, if you want to meet up later this week, I'm free this weekend. Just let me know, okay? Oh, and if you wouldn't mind, can you please talk to Morty and tell him enough with the obnoxious behaviour, and please, for the love of all things shiny in the world, check his teeth before interacting with people! Good grief. Man's got braces and he's always, always got something stuck in his teeth. It's disgusting.

Me [laughs] – Yeah, will do. I'm always on him about that, but like with using vaseline to keep his hair slicked back, you know he won't listen. Only thing we can do is keep reminding him. Poor sod. Alright, go do your homework, and we'll catch up this weekend and touch base. Thanks for speaking with me today! See you soon!


All names and establishments herein are purely works of fiction and thus the intellectual property of myself, T Rea Okerberg.  Any copyright infringement on the part of myself is purely coincidental and unintentional.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED!

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