Lessons from The Middle School

So I had to be a hall monitor the other morning in a middle school somewhere in the nowhere part of North Carolina, smack dab between the two metro areas.  Little did I know that this place would borne me several epiphanies, one of which I will share with you here.

My mouth was agape, watching a bunch of 6th, 7th and 8th graders enter the school and follow the halls to their respective classrooms in a neat, single line that would make carpenter ants envious.  My attention was disrupted when I saw a deviant cross the path and catch up with two of her girlfriends, almost right in front of me.  “Hi Kaylee, hi Ashley.”  The concept of the one girl’s response was simply alien to me: “Oh, you’re not mad at me anymore?”  It was said in a sullen way, but the point was not lost on me.

Just a few days earlier, it seems, I was in a conversational tangle with someone important to me.  I finally exclaimed in exasperation “I really hate having to deal with this tension and everything!” 

The response?  “That’s what people do.”

Really??!!  Ugh.  I’m not used to it.  Being a primarily only child with not many friends and people that have swung in and out of my world for 40 years, this concept was completely foreign to me.  If people have to work this hard to sort things out, then what is it worth?  As much as people come and go, then why bother? Nothing is for certain, even if you CAN find a win-win solution at the end.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that the only person you can truly depend on is yourself.  Ultimately, nobody else gives a rat’s ass about you, you are just a speck of dust in the cosmos.  Buck up and get used to it.

Anyway, I didn’t believe him when he told me this during that sunny car ride, but when I saw this concept in action among 7th graders, that was my moment of epiphany:  oooohhh!  Yes, that’s what people do.  How could I misunderstand society and finally grasp it while monitoring ants marching down their graded hallways?  Is life really that uncomplicated?  You can argue and defend big theses like ‘why you think the government is or isn’t corrupt’, ‘what love is, really, if monogamy is rare among animals besides the field mouse’, et cetera et cetera, and still be friends and hang out and have other thick conversations at the end of the day?

Well hell, I wish someone told me this before!  Maybe I would have never fallen out of love years ago!!

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