How a random school day became memorable
There are some days that pass without notice. There are some days you’ll never forget. But most of the time, the settings for the two never coincide. School is not memorable because it’s so dull, dreary, and ordinary. Memorable things aren’t ordinary.
What follows is a musing on how something could happen to you at school that cause the mundane to become the miraculous, but in the most unpleasant way possible. We remember the bad more easily than good. That’s why such bad tales stick in our memory so much better. Now for the tale of how a random school day became memorable…
So it’s Tuesday, and you realize that you left your AP Multiple Choice problems at home. You call your mom and see if she can drop it off for you in your car. She does. Thanks, mom! You’re stuck in rehearsal during lunch and in an informational session afterwards. Then after your informational session during band, you get out early. Time to go get those multiple choice answers out of the car—but wait, the car isn’t there.
You stand in the blazing sunlight in your now-empty parking spot muttering “What the fuck is going on?” Quick on your feet, you call your mom, who dropped off the problems. Maybe she swapped cars. No answer. You call home, maybe she’s out with her cell phone. No answer. You finally call your dad at work going, “Do you know where mom is?” Such a strange time and such a strange question, you tell him “the car is gone.”
Completely lost, you putter around the parking lot for a while and finally try calling your mom again. Finally! Someone answers! “Hello,” she says. “Where’s the Mazda,” you say. The shocked silence on the other end blares into your right ear. You say again, “the car is gone.” “Someone stole it,” she says. “Well, maybe it got towed,” you think, and say aloud. “I’m going to the office to see what’s going on,” you say, and hang up shortly thereafter.
You arrive in the air conditioned office. Relieved to be inside, away from the heat, you look around blankly, trying to guess who you should talk to. Finally, a friend of your mom’s says “Hi.” So you scurry over and ask if they towed any cars today. No. They check with various people around campus. No again. Your heart sinks through the floor. The nice lady in the office suggests “Well, maybe your brother took it.” Your heart raises a little bit, but you’re still equally upset, as your spirit is now broken.
You debate what to do. You’re on the spot. Sweating in the cool air conditioning, it’s obvious that you’re stressing. The end of the period draws near. You tell the office that you’ll go outside to see if the car has returned, either confirming or debunking the nice woman’s theory about your brother. Back through the heat, you walk back to the parking lot. Your car is there.
Insulted, infuriated, and utterly listless, you run back to the office. You let them know, while on the phone with your mother, that the car is now there, while you tell your mother the same thing. You then try to seek out your brother in his next class to speak with him. He isn’t there, so after searching for five minutes, you return to the office. The office then recieves a message from your father asking to speak to the officer on duty, which is then, by chance, run by you. Intecepting the message before the school gets officially involved, you call your father once more, asking if he’d heard that the car was back, to dispell the thought that it might still be stolen.
You ask him if he’d still like to speak with the officer. He says that he’d like to see a video who drove the car, if it was your brother, or if it was someone else. Knowing that there’s a camera pointed out at the lot, you say “Yes, but if you do that, then the school will likely have no choice but to get involved.” At that juncture, both father and son are equally flustered with the whole situation. “That decision is between you and the school,” you say, and he tells you not to do anything. So you obey and move on for the day, figuring that some serious thinking will be required before any decisions are made.
Moving on with the school day, you arrive late in Physics, with a non-descript note from the office. Between the two Physics periods, you explain the whole situation to a few of your friends. You then get a message that says not to do anything for the rest of the school day. After school, you inform the rest of your friends about this incident. Still morally insulted, you drive home and arrive at a completely empty house.
With fury storming around inside you, you settle down at your computer, but nobody is there to talk to you. At least they’re getting work done. Flustered, you decide to sit down and write in your journal. Waiting to read your brother the riot act, you continue to burn time. You continue writing and the tale becomes very long. Suddenly, you see your father pull up in the driveway.
Still writing in your journal, you don’t go downstairs, and likewise he doesn’t come upstairs. After about 10 minutes at home, he speaks over the intercom, saying “Paul, will you feed the dogs at four o’clock?” “Sure,” you respond. You hear his car door shut and he drives off again. Your mother and brother still are not back from the orthodontist. Something strange is happening, and they’re not telling you about it.
A mind distraught
Through all of this, a small part of you keeps trying to hope maybe it was someone else that took your car. It’s hard to be mad at relatives sometimes. But knowing the car, it’s microchipped keys and built-in alarm system, you know full well that only someone with one of your keys to the car and knowledge of the alarm system can operate it successfully. This limits your suspects to family members, and since you and your brother are the only ones on campus, there’s only one suspect left.
Curse logic, for it makes for magnanimous mounds of misery sometimes…
Your parents and brother finally get home. An eerie silence falls over the entire house. It was silent before, but the silence became more awkward with the arrival of other people. Finally you utter “do I even want to know?” “No,” is the answer you get. Still thoroughly pissed off, you say “I wish he’d been caught.” Your parents both lash back at you saying “No, that’d be even worse.” You think to yourself, “if I had done it, I’d feel like I ought to be caught.”
Then comes a comment you never expected:
“This is all your fault.”“You run too late in the mornings! He had to use the keys to open the car himself this morning.”
The idea thus being that if you had been downstairs earlier, he wouldn’t have taken keys to open the car, and thus wouldn’t have had any keys to take the car later in the day. “So my occasional lateness is the cause of his stupid decisions,” you think to yourself. Realizing it will get you nowhere if you say it, you bite your tongue. You voluntarily give in—if your parents are convinced partially or wholly that it’s your fault, there’s no use in arguing. They’re already mad at you for being so heartless towards your brother.
The rest of the evening continues on without mention of the incident. The whole family keeps an uncomfortable, restless company now. Seeing that nothing too awful is going to come of it, you resign, both irked and glad at the same time. You’d hate to see your brother punished severely, at the same time you’re disgusted that he got away with it. You’re even more disturbed that your parents let it happen. What ever happened to the pristine morals you value? Just thrown out because it’s a fellow family member?
Utterly crushed by the thought that your brother could be so dishonest, that it’s your own damned fault, and that everyone seems to have been let down, you resign for the evening. It’s not worth fighting with anyone. Your parents tighten the screws on your brother, and you are likewise torn about that—you feel violated because you’re held to different standards than your brother, but you feel like you’ve violated your family more, because you once considered turning him in, as it seemed the right thing to do…
Life’s thrown you a lot of lemons today, and your exhaustion shows it. You decide that it’s time to stop writing about it, considering it sufficiently documented. Your parents’ protection of your brother even makes you somewhat ashamed that you wrote about it to start with, but what’s written is written, and you can’t change that.
If you read all the way to this point, you’re very tolerant. Thanks for reading, and I hope you understand my position a little better…
Of course, this didn’t really happen to you, but it did happen to me. I’m so different from my brother—I’m practically his opposite. The fact remains, however, that I’m his brother, and I’m torn between laws, rules, and family. I’m now convinced that I’d make a terrible parent, for I truly thought that I’d turn him in if I were in my parents’ position.
Where did I go wrong as a person and as a sibling?
P.S. Comments are always welcome. In fact, in this case, I’d really like some…
Your brother does not have a driver’s license, nor does he have a pass to leave campus during lunch—he’s a sophomore. That should explain the grave tone a bit better…