8.25.2002

The School Bag

Little did I know that the plaid school bag was going to have a life of its own. We bought it the night before my first day of school. I'm an only child and my mother being overprotective never enrolled me in kindergarten or pre-school. So the first day of school equaled the first day of first grade, elementary. And elementary it was. I didn’t know what to expect and was shocked to see Shahram Malekzadeh crying in the middle of the schoolyard yelling that he didn't want to stay. He had an Afro and was kind of chubby with a round face and hooked nose. He became our music teacher’s pet later on--the only student to get up and dance “baba-karam” in front of the whole class.

To tell you the truth, I don’t remember much of the first day of school and Shahram Malekzadeh was just the obvious. There was so much to take in and a huge amount to get used to. The only interaction I had with kids previous to that day was with Sepideh Banibashar--our neighbor’s daughter. She was an only child too. Parents permitting, we played together every now and then. I was also the first grandchild on my mother’s side of the family, so there were no kids around to hang out with. My father’s side? The adults didn’t even interact.

The night we went to buy the school bag, there were so many to choose from. Of course, the bag was my mom’s choice as with everything else in my life. Somehow, I could never get what I wanted and was always told to be thankful. And I knew that once I got something, it had to last me for a long time. So whatever it was I had to live with. As for the bag... I wanted buckles and snaps, I got zippers. I liked multiple compartments, the bag only had one. I wanted it in a solid color, it was plaid. I wanted leather or pleather, I got soft fabric. Anything that could go wrong with my bag did. So on the first day of school, on top of being lost and lonely, I had bag-envy. And, of course, there were so few bags like mine. The rest of the kids all had bags I wanted. I had a bag I didn’t want. I was self-conscious about my bag already. The same with my lunchbox in 4th grade, tennis shoes in junior high, and tight pants in high school. But those are different stories.

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