Writing It Down

Yesterday, as I drove up the freeway to BART, where I would meet two girlfriends and one of their daughters to go to the city to see Hamilton again, I was composing my blog post, out loud, in the slow lane. I was on a roll, phrasing each sentence to perfection as other drivers wondered who I was talking to.

It was a good post, with a point and some clever wordsmith-ing. But when I got to BART and turned my attention to finding a parking spot at 10:30 in the morning, I lost my train of thought. I lost it all.

Today I have no idea what that blog post idea was about. As I go along with my day, I might get a glimpse of it again, but I will either be driving or walking the dog or shopping in a thrift store. If I don’t grab a pen and write it down, I will lose it again.

My two cars have notebooks in them. Each room of my house has a notebook in it. My purse is too small, but I always have something to write on the back of.  I have reached a certain age where if I don’t have it in print, forget about it.

My doctor’s appointment and hair appointments are each listed, time and date, on a post-it note on the inside of my front door. When I leave my sister’s I have things inked onto the palm of my hand so that I will remember to assemble them and get them by the front door – shoe laces, liquid thickener, latex gloves.

Was it about rap music, since Hamilton is told in rap?

Was it about getting somewhere on time?  Leaving my sunglasses behind while shopping the day before?  Dancing that evening to a favorite band? Or maybe about the ugly black rats that are running rampant through my yard at night?  How I switched to thistle bird seed because rats don’t like it? Guess what? Birds don’t like it, either. One of the birds was asking me yesterday morning where the sunflower seeds had gone. Seriously, I heard it tweet about it.

Was it about my swollen eye and how the ophthalmologist had to stick a needle in an eye gland Tuesday morning? Or was it about the birthday party for my septuagenarian girlfriend Tuesday night?

I don’t remember!  And it was a good idea! Don’t you hate that? I do. It had to do with something from my childhood, I think.

Was it about being tall and being congratulated for the basketball game on Monday mornings as I walked the halls of my high school? I wasn’t on the team but looked like the star player.

Was it about being forced to take on the boy role in a six-week dance unit in PE because I was one of the tallest girls?  So while all the girls got to dance with the boys, three giraffe girls had to dance with the girls?  Come to think of it, that part wasn’t so bad. Dancing with boys was a frightening thing back then. Was it about having to wear our ugly blue gym suits while we learned to dance? Maybe we stayed in our regular clothes. I don’t’ remember. We did have to learn the Horah.  I don’t remember being told it was a Jewish wedding dance. I just remember that I got to be a girl during that dance. We laughed at the name – the Horah.

Was it about Johnny Cash’s song, A Boy Named Sue, which is what I tell people who want to call me that instead of Susan?  Mr. Cash ruined Sue for me in 1969, just like Short People by Randy Newman ruined life for my sis.

Imagine being one of the tallest girls in high school, how I’d just dropped my name Susan and changed my name to Sue because Susie was for tiny girls, like Suzie Guthrie, who was a year older, half my size, and ran around the school saying, “I’m the only Suzie at the school!”  I had been Susie my whole childhood, and now I was a towering boy giraffe with the same name as a Johnny Cash song. JC was not my favorite singer in high school.

Needless to say, I didn’t have the confidence to try out for the drill team. And I should have. I loved to dance, would have looked great in those white go-go boots and would have been the tall girl in the middle (they were lined up by height, with the two shortest on each end).

You know what?  I just remembered what I was going to write about. What you just read — my high school gender identity crisis.

Let’s blame Suzie, Johnny, and the PE teacher whose name I’ve long forgotten.

A boy indeed.

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