“Hey. HEY! I THINK A BIRD SHAT ON YOU!”
I received this news in the science lab, during the first term of my first year of high school. I’d come from a tiny country primary school with just five people in my grade. Now I was in the scary high school with all the kids from the big primary schools who already knew each other and had trendy sneakers and snogging experience.
I just wanted to blend in. To slink into class, hide up the back and never be noticed. But it was hard, with the ginger hair and the tubbiness and the wrong skirt. The Mothership was a busy working woman and had ran out of time to sew the prescribed knee-length straight navy skirt before term began, so I’d had to wear an old one of hers. It was the required navy, but it was A-line, mid-calf with an elastic waist. I looked sort of Amish.
And now to take the wrongness up a level, apparently a bird had crapped on me.
I thought I’d felt a sudden plop on my back as we waited outside lab for the teacher to arrive, but I’d figured it was a leaky ceiling, or a big gob of spit expelled from the balcony. But no, it was BIRD SHIT, as the girl sitting behind me kept saying in a really loud stage whisper.
“It’s right down the back of your shirt,” she went on gleefully, “It’s greeny brown and gross and HUGE!”
Well of course it bloody was; we were in Australia after all. No beast in our skies would have a delicate output.
I ran though the response options:
a) Ask the teacher for a toilet pass so I could go wash the shirt under a tap.
But that meant walking past five rows of desks and letting everyone have a good gawk at me.
b) Nod and smile like I already knew about it and was totally cool with the adornment.
But it was an hour-long period. I pictured the stain drying and festering in the February heat.
What to do, what to do!? Just a month into high schoool and I was going to get branded Bird Crap Girl before I had a chance to win them over with personality. Life is so mortifying when you’re twelve. I prayed for someone to set someone else on fire with a Bunsen burner to create a diversion.
In the end I went with option c) Shrug helplessly as my face turned red, so red it blended seamlessly with my hair and eyebrows like a great red orb of shame!
I can’t remember if it was the teacher or another student who came over and said, for all the class to hear, “Apparently it’s good luck if a bird craps on you!”.
The jig was up, so I got my pass and slunk off to the loos in my wrong skirt and shitty shirt.
Why am I telling you this? It popped into my head because Monday was the 13th birthday of this blog, and I was wondering if I’d ever showed up anywhere else for thirteen years in a row. School was the only other thing I could think of, and school is often a montage of shame and incompetence isn’t it?
I remember someone wrote a post in the early noughties about how blogging was like high school. Yes, I guess it can be cliquey and competitive. And when I write a post I still feel like the self-conscious, tubby ginger never wearing the right thing. But at least there’s no exams and no uniform to worry about it. And if there’s bird crap on my back, you guys would never know! In the game of School versus Blogging, it’s blogging FTW!
Thank you anyone out there reading this thing. You rawk!