Alternate title: I’m glad I’m not a teenager.
There’s an endless amount of reasons why I’m happy I’m no longer a teenager. While packing and rifling through stuff, we found two of those reasons in a box of papers.
The first is a treasured relic from the Art Department of the high school Tom and I went to:
This is a Bathroom Buck. It was given to students by a teacher named Mr. Downing, who wanted total control and had a lot of rules in his class, but had no air of authority whatsoever. He was openly mocked and I’m not sure if he either knew it and pretended otherwise, or if he just really didn’t pick up on it. I’m sure the Bathroom Buck was developed because one too many teens blatantly wandered away from his class. He taught photography, and for photography projects, we were really only allowed in the small area right outside the classroom, which was a huge concrete-covered area with railings and stairs. The number of photographs of sullen introspective teenagers sitting on or standing under stairs is probably in the thousands.
I know this is Tom’s Bathroom Buck, because I’m sure I used all of mine. Notice that it says “void if presented at an inappropriate moment.” You see what I mean? Lots of rules with no air of authority.
As an adult who has grown accustomed to a certain level of being able to use the bathroom whenever she wants, the sight of this Bathroom Buck fills me with dread. While I’m sure plenty of high school students did plenty of bad and naughty stuff under the guise of a bathroom break, to teenagers like me, who actually had to use the bathroom, the constant outside control of my bladder was really nerve wracking.
This leads me to the second treasure. In the grand scheme of things, I was a pretty good teenager. I didn’t do drugs, didn’t drink, etc, probably 60% because I wasn’t interested and 40% because I was always grounded due to being a crappy student, which was my major teenager-y flaw. As I’ve written about before, my personality type is pretty straight-laced, so as far as getting into trouble, I wasn’t that bad. I was, however, moody (still am, unfortunately). Even girls who are Myers-Briggs Thinking (as opposed to Feeling) get the Teenage Mope. Here’s a picture of me at Christmas, I was probably 16 at the time:
This picture fills me with all sorts of feelings, but the the main one is hilarity, which I’m declaring a feeling for the purpose of this sentence. There I am, poor teenage Carrie, at my aunt and uncle’s house for Christmas, surrounded by family who love me after probably receiving a gift I asked for. And the thing that I really like about the whole thing is that I bet my dad took this picture because he thought it was funny. Why else would you take a picture of that pile of teenage self-pity?
When Tom found it, he held it up and said “awwwwww, look at sad Carrie.” And he did seem to genuinely feel bad for her. And a part of me does, too, because that Carrie really was sad at the time, but for the most part, it makes me laugh. This is why, if we develop time travel technology, I should never be allowed to visit my past selves.
Maybe she’s sad because she used all her Bathroom Bucks. And that’s how you tie together a blog post.