5.25.2017

this one time at band camp

After my MIL left, my insomnia played a cruel trick on me and kept me awake almost all night. I woke up after a quick two or three hours of sleep and realized we were all but out of diapers, a fact that somehow escaped me previously. For some reason, James had my card with him at work. I hustled Gracie out the door, not bothering to brush my hair or put makeup on my puffy, red eyes. It was raining and humid, and my curly hair was frizzing out of the messy bun I hastily threw up during a red light. We grabbed the card from James at work and drove to Target. As we walked inside, I put Gracie down so I could wrench the carts apart. She's in a phase of refusing to walk in a store but GOD FORBID you suggest she ride in the cart. She threw a huge tantrum due to the injustice of her feet hitting the floor and thrashed her life-size Mickey Mouse around in anger. Once I got the cart free and reached to grab Gracie, I looked up to see a girl from high school staring at me in wide-eyed horror. This is not an exaggeration. I could practically see her brain tell her that at least she wasn't me. We both quickly went our separate ways as if we didn't know each other, even though her eyes very clearly told me she recognized me. It was not a shining moment for me. She looked fantastic and I looked like a sleep-deprived, haggard, hostage of a 2-year-old, a big change from 10 years ago. All I could think was "well, at least I'm married with a kid?" yet I guarantee you she was thinking "well, at least I don't have kids!"

I was mortified in the moment, but I didn't even think about it again until I was FaceTiming my mom that evening and something she said jogged the memory. These kinds of situations are becoming so commonplace for me that they don't fluster me quite the way they once did.

This morning, James forwarded me an email he received from a local company, and what would you know. The girl who sent it to him was another girl I went to high school with---a small high school, for the record. I grew up an hour away, and even though I know plenty of people from high school live here, it's very rare for me to see anyone. Since my parents moved, I haven't been back to my hometown. It can be easy to forget that I once lived an entirely different life just an hour north. It's all very discombobulating.

I relayed all this to some of my friends in a group text we have. Somehow it took us to the topic of marching band. Two of us were in a marching band, and honestly that's a memory I try to block out. I HATED it. Talks of hash marks and roll steps and crushes on fellow bandmates brought the memories screaming back.


Some years I played snare drum, and some I played clarinet. I played clarinet for a few years in jazz band, and then piano. I loved and adored jazz band, as nerdy as that sounds. I played clarinet in concert band but I spent that class talking with my friends as much as I could.

The worst part of marching band was the notorious week of band camp (don't even get me started on the annual weekend of show choir camp). I get chills of horror down my spine just thinking about it. We were hauled down to Kentucky for a week and lived in a run-down, shabby camp that was completely disgusting. We were outside in the 100 + degree heat from early morning until 8 or 9:00 in the evening. The food was nearly inedible, and there wasn't much of it. No matter how much sunscreen I put on, I still left with blistered, burned skin. One day I wound up with heat exhaustion and felt so nauseated and weak I couldn't march. Instead of going down to the field for practice, I stayed in bed after lunch and immediately fell asleep. I was literally dragged out of bed ten minutes later by one of the teachers and forced outside. I put up a fight and went to the nurse's office who admitted the lack of decent food and heat was definitely making sick. The flag corps director, on the other hand, assumed I was pregnant, because why else would a 16 year old girl be sick? I still want to punch her square in the throat.

It wasn't all bad, though. You know, I'm trying to think of some good memories and I can't. I just can't. I don't know why I put up with marching band for so long, but I know that when I quit my senior year, I felt completely liberated. No--I do have one good memory. One afternoon at camp was so stormy all practices were cancelled for the rest of the day. We had the place to ourselves, and all the girls in the dorm room (more like barracks, but whatever) put on a talent show. God bless that thunderstorm.

You know, life with a teething toddler and running into classmates at the worst possible moment is not looking so bad anymore. I may not be able to walk next to anyone without making sure we're walking in perfect sync, but there is nothing worse than marching band.

11 comments:

  1. But you look SO CUTE in your uniform.

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  2. I never quite understand why people stare in horror at toddlers throwing tantrums, like it's the first time they've ever witnessed such an event.

    Those shoulder pads tho...

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  3. I'm sorry you have so few good memories of marching band! In high school, I wasn't in marching band, but I thought the "band people" were some of the coolest people ever. And you look really cute in that uniform!

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  4. Ugh. Marching band. I completely feel your pain. I didn't know you played snare though (I remembered the clarinet and piano).

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    1. I did! For two years, I think? I don't remember. I think it destroyed my back for life. Those things get heavy in the hot sun.

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  5. Aww. I LOVED marching band. And drumline. We did a week long band camp, too, and I always found it fun. (Hmmm.... how nerdy do I sound in those sentence?) I still live right in the middle of my small town so I see people I know all. the. time. I've very good at avoiding eye contact now ;)

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  6. I don't want to sound ridiculous, because I don't mean to suggest you haven't tried this, but will Gracie sit IN the actual cart? Because R won't sit in the seat, but she does okay inside the cart. I sometimes grab a book off one of the shelves and let her look through it or something while we're shopping. Usually it works out okay! Just a thought.

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  7. That talent show was the best. Every time I stumble across a picture of our portion I laugh.

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    1. So do I! I still have them stashed away somewhere.

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  8. Your marching band outfit wasn't that bad. Ours were hideous!

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  9. I did 3 years of marching band and I loved it! Granted I was in the color guard (I can't play a musical instrument to save my life) but still. Yes the long practices, weathering all sorts of elements, sleeping at our school for a week for band camp, living on Papa Johns pizza, and my knees and hips never being the same ever again sucks....but I would so do it again! It did wonders for my self-esteem and I made life-long friends. Just don't ask me to wear spandex.

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