These are a couple of entries from my handwritten journal from sophomore year of high school. I always referred to these, Harriet the Spy-style, as “notebooks.” Never as journals or diaries. These entries aren’t relevant to FitNotes, but I decided to share them here anyway.
Sept. 2, 1980
I absolutely cannot believe that school is starting tomorrow. It is so nice today — sunny and cool/warm. It has been a good day except that I am so filled with dread. I got up early to go to the orthodontist, listened to records all morning, then went to L___’s. We walked along the beach a little, and I walked home slowly and I stopped to play with a little tiny gray cat on the way.
Mostly I just want to get the first couple of days over with. I hate this feeling of dread. I hope I don’t hate school as much as I did last year. I probably won’t. But I would much rather have Mr. V____ [for a class] and hate everything else than not have him and like everything else.
I wish I could be less like everybody else. Most people want to be more like other people but not me. I hate being so run-of-the-mill and average. I want to get better at playing the guitar and writing songs. … And playing the piano too. I guess I’ll just have to practice more. I also want to wear different clothes. I’m sick of dressing just like everyone else. I need a couple of sweatshirts and unusual jerseys or something like that. I’m going to get a WXRT-shirt. Nobody wears those.
By Oct. 15:
Times Square record
3.75 – P.S.A.T.
By Oct. 30
$9.00 – L___’s birthday. Possibilities: Sweatshirt, pin
Oct. 20, 1980 — Well, this is “IT” — I take the PSAT tomorrow. My division teacher keeps ranting about this being “The Most Important Test You Will Take In Your High School Career.” It makes you eligible for or eliminates you from good colleges. It covers Algebra, Geometry, and English. I wonder how I’ll do. I can’t seem to get too worried about it because, well, I’ll do however well I do and that’s it and I can’t change it. I hardly ever get worried about any test at all. I just don’t like these machine-scored ones where all you do for three hours (8:00 – 11:00) is fill in tiny little ovals. Ugh! Well, more tomorrow.
In about 1/2 hour I take the PSAT. I wish it didn’t go through 4th period because this way I don’t get to go to Mr. V____’s class.
Well, I’m glad that’s over with. There were two sections, English and Math, and it was pretty hard. Especially the math! Oh well, I guess I did okay but I’m really glad it’s over. Now my division teacher can stop ranting & raving about it!
Dec. 15 — I got my PSAT results back. I am in the 97th percentile. … I wasn’t expecting to do that well, not nearly. But I am not impressed. Actually, I wish I wasn’t so smart, because then my division teacher wouldn’t be constantly saying how studious and disciplined I am. She always says that, and the more I deny it, the more firmly she believes it and has to use me as an example in front of the whole division, and she is WRONG! I wouldn’t hate her saying it so much if I deserved it, but I don’t.
I had the results thing with me in Nations [class] because I have that after division, and Mr. V___ saw me reading it (trying to figure it out). He got all excited and said, “OOH, what’d you get?” I had forgotten what the numbers were while trying to figure them out so I said I forgot and he teased me a lot. …
Jan. 9, 1981 — I got my braces off today and it is also the 5th anniversary of my mom’s death. Today in division this guy Robert Clay asked me if I know what it’s like to love somebody who doesn’t love you back and I said yes. He said, “Don’t you know I love you?” And I said “sorry” because if he really does love me, I still don’t love him back. I’m positive he didn’t mean it, though, or he wouldn’t have said all that in front of everyone. Besides, he just likes the looks of me for some reason. … After all, everybody has a different definition of love. What I say is love, L____ says it isn’t, and what Robert Clay says is love, I say it isn’t.
Jan. 20, 1981 — What a day in the life. The 52 hostages are out of Iran after 14 months. … I am so happy for them that hearing about it has been bringing tears to my eyes. I was in Nations [class] when they announced on the P.A. that THE HOSTAGES HAVE LEFT IRAN. We also got a new President today, Ronald Reagan, obviously.
Feb. 10, 1981 — I’ve been noticing that reading this notebook, and the others too, gives a completely wrong picture of what I am like. My sense of humor does not show in these books, or the way I love music. Neither does my feeling that I am different from everyone else. I think that, years from now, I will read this book and think either that I was just being dramatic & silly about being in a bad case of unrequited love (and it wasn’t as horrible as I wrote it as being). Or else I will get the impression that I am one of those people who are always so busy suffering that I have no time to be happy. Neither one of those ideas are right. I am happy, generally, and I love the world (but not the way we seem to be screwing it up). … It bums me out that I have to (1) pick somewhere to go to college, (2) go there & find something to study which seems worthwhile, (3) do the work in all the classes so I don’t flunk.
Feb. 22 – Yesterday I drove a car for the first time, in traffic. It was quite strange. … I didn’t do very well yesterday. Okay, but not great. But that’s to be expected. For some reason, though, it was kind of depressing. I think I am too used to things being easy.
Mar. 5, 1981
Tomorrow in English we’re having this very important and very hard test on a biography of Shakespeare. We are allowed to use notes but I have not taken any and I’m also not completely done reading it. What if I end up failing the class?! I know very well that I cannot afford to be this lazy about that class, but here I am, writing in a notebook instead of preparing some notes on Shakespeare.
Just now, I opened my book on Shakespeare, got a pen & paper, and looked at the pages. Tomorrow we will have a test where we can use notes but I won’t because I have not prepared any. I do not know how to take notes. Not because I was never taught how, but because I never practiced taking notes on anything. Tomorrow I will be the only one in the class with no notes, and I will fail the test. It will be obvious to the teacher that the reason I failed so miserably is that I am to lazy to take notes, even when I know I’ll fail without them.
March 7 — After I wrote all that I did take some notes. Just one page though, and they didn’t do me any good. I probably failed the test. I want to be in a band. I have to get a job so I can get an electric guitar. I have to practice more.
I am so irresponsible about school but I can get away with it because it’s easy, except for English, where I can’t get away with that. But I do it anyway and get bad grades. In that class I cannot tell whether I’m trying or not. To me, trying is giving something ten minutes, and giving it up if I haven’t got it by then. That is NOT trying. I have to learn to be more patient. Try harder and be patient. Try harder and be patient. Try harder and be patient. Maybe I’ll make myself do it if I repeat it a lot. But it is so hard to try hard at something I don’t care about. I just want to be in a band. …
THINGS TO DO:
GO TO “STUDIO SEW SEW”. GO TO WAX TRAX. GO TO THE MEXICAN SHOP. GO TO THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART.
Albums to buy!
The Cars / Panorama
Barbra Streisand / Guilty
Times Square soundtrack
Songs in the Key of Life (Stevie Wonder)
Can’t Buy a Thrill / Steely Dan
London Calling / The Clash
Are We Not Men – We Are Devo (Devo)
Telekon (Gary Numan)
an XTC album
Freedom of Choice (Devo)
Remain in Light (Talking Heads)
New Clear Days (Vapors)
Scary Monsters – Bowie
There & Back – Jeff Beck
Foolish Behavior / Rod Stewart
Beat Crazy / Joe Jackson
Outlandos d’Amour (Police)