Speech Class…

Interview someone — a friend, another blogger, your mother, the mailman — and write a post based on their responses.

I never answer these prompts directly and in this case, it’s not for me. However, I’ll describe to you a time in my freshman year of high school, a mandatory speech class, and a teacher named Ms. Green who was either just a fucking prude or enjoyed making her students’ lives more miserable than they were prior.

Ms. Green (and she INSISTED on the “Ms.” to adult aquatic fit levels) had a dark complexion, but darker than your average person black person (certainly darker than me). She almost looked Egyptian because her daily go-to in terms of makeup, was dark black liquid eyeliner, and she painted it on thick and catlike, making her eyes seem to narrow when she looked at you. She always wore plain colors but her back and pencil skirts were always incredibly straight and neat. She was pretty much Dolores Ubridge but black.

If you don’t believe this description, I completely understand, like, 100%; but she made us write and MLA paper (fine no big deal, totally normal for a Freshman class) but it specifically had to be ONE page, so many words, and if it was even a page more? Upon collection, she would see a stapled paper, rip it off, throw it in the trash can, after she was done grading it/handing it back to you (days later) your paper would have some critiques on it.

Those of us who went over the one page limit had margins that read things like:

“Hmmmm this doesn’t seem finished?” Or “what happened? Did you lose your train of thought?”

It was my last period of the day and I honestly couldn’t WAIT for that bell to ring. The class was tortuous for me. Also she did this one really annoying thing where if anyone forgot their glasses she would ask them, “*insert name here* where are your spectacles today? Can you see the board without them?” If you corrected her by saying, “glasses” (because that’s what normal fucking people call them, not looney toons handed a teaching degree), she would lose her mind and go back and forth with you over using the word spectacles.

Anyways, one of my last assignments that I had to stand up in front of the room for though? That was my worst nightmare. In hindsight, I could do it now easily with no issues, but at the time? Oh absolutely not, I had no friends there, I was being bullied, sexually harassed, assaulted, and fetishized at that school. The LAST thing I wanted was to get up in front of a class of 18 out of my 19 tormentors and give an interview to one of them.

I don’t remember who I interviewed EXACTLY, but I know it was a boy that sat next to me and was kind of “okay” and by okay I mean he didn’t partake in the bullying campaign but certainly didn’t do anything to stop it, if that makes sense. I was not the writer I am today and I had no questions to ask this person nor did I want to know who this person was. Now I would have killed for the opportunity, but whatever.

I had been dreading it all week, I had no preparation, and I’m pretty sure my questions went like this:

  1. What is your favorite color and why?
  2. Do you have any household pets like dogs or cats or even exotic animals?
  3. What kind of video games (if any) do you enjoy playing?
  4. How old are you and what year were you born?
  5. What is your favorite subject?

If you can’t tell by those questions, it was ROUGH. The crowd was NOT diggin me, had I been a comedian? Booed off the stage almost immediately. When she called my name to come up and sit in those two awkward school chairs, you know the ones that are usually tan, have graffiti carved into them or sharpie, and one leg is always wobbly for whatever reason? Yes those. If that class was my prison, those were the prison benches in my mind.

Luckily most of the class wasn’t paying attention, they were far more concerned with looking at the clock as the beads of sweat that I was trying to conceal slowly crept down my face. I could feel my cheeks become hot and red (quite rare for a black person we usually turn some variation of purple), and I just wanted it to be over.

My lovely partner had to of felt the same way because his answers gave me absolutely nothing to work with at all. If they were ‘yes or no‘ questions he would answer as such, if you tried to squeeze an answer out of him, it was ONE sentence, possibly two, but nothing to give either of us any sort of passing grade.

Once it was over, I remember shoving people through the hallways so I could reach my locker, grab what I needed, and run to the bus before anyone could stop me. I knew word probably traveled fast and I just wasn’t in the mood to deal with anymore of the criticism the stress was absolutely unbearable.

Once I was through the bustling hallways filled with people that seemed like they were packed like sardines, I felt the weight lifted off of my shoulders and chest. I stopped running as I was no longer in the halls and was towards where the buses had been stationed waiting to take the hoards of children and teenagers home. I hustled to my seat (usually I’d go about halfway but today I picked the front), all the way in the front next to that weird girl with the Chinchilla, kept my head down, and waited for my stop.

By far the worse moment ever, that and when Manny touched my boob in the middle of Science class and the teacher made a joke about it. That was my third day of school y’all, but that’s a whole other topic about teacher ethics and what is and isn’t appropriate for a teacher to be doing, and thusly, a topic for another day.

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