Memories From the Balcony – The Bully Brigade From the Now and Then

I am not always sure about what might come next. And I don’t know if the day is about to be good or bad yet, sometimes, I have this feeling as if the entire world is about to fall off a cliff. Ever think this way?
Ever worry about something unknown or unforeseen or maybe it’s more than this. Maybe this is more of a feeling than a thought – or a suspicion.
Or, could this be an expectation?

Yes, maybe this is it. Maybe this is an expectation or something of the sort.
But either way, you just know in your heart that something’s in the mail. 

The world is about to fall apart or the sky is falling.
Or is this what people mean when they talk about the impending doom?

I can remember imes when things like my report card was about to come home. I can remember wishing I could get home before my parents so that I could retrieve the mail before they got to it first.
I remember the write-ups that would come in the mail from my teachers – but nowadays, things are different.
Now, we have the internet, which is something that came long after my time.
Now we have information at the click of a button.
Now we have emails. We have texts. We have group chats which, in fairness, I can’t stand group texts.
I hate them because half of the messages are either from someone who I don’t know or maybe they’re rambling with a statement that has nothing to do with me or the intention of the topic at hand. 

I hate emails that have a thousand people who’ve been cc’d on them and, of course, someone hits the “reply all” button and then I have to read about their opinions or their thoughts or rebuttals.
To be clear, I’m not a tech savvy person. In fact, sending out my daily journals on the internet is about as far as my skills will take me.
I am that old guy now, like the ones we saw when we were kids. I have become that person who looks oddly confused and uncomfortable at my cell phone because I can’t figure out which icon on my smart-phone can open up the apps that I was looking for.

Come to think of it, I don’t know when the interpersonal connection became so impersonal.
Nothing seems interactive anymore. Everything is either remote or digital now.
Everything is technology; in which case, I can say that while I grew up on the verge before this behemoth of technological took place; at least I was alive to see real interconnectivity.
At least I was around to see when people used to talk to one another and not just text.

As a matter of fact, I walked by a younger person in the workplace. This was not too long ago.
I smiled and said hello to which they responded awkwardly and almost shocked that someone would say anything, least of all a friendly hello. Of course, it was pointed out and laughed at by someone younger who said, “that’s an old people thing.”
No one calls anymore. No one talks.

Everything is texts or emails or emojis or some variation of distancing politics that do nothing more (at least in my eyes) but separate people to a further extent.

I say further as to imply the means of a symbolic distance yet I really mean farther because farther relates to a physical distance. Sometimes, I swear, the world we live in is so far apart.
No one can see eye to eye anymore,
Everyone fights and everyone argues. Everyone has an opinion, which is fine – but God forbid your opinions differ then, somehow, you run the risk of offending someone because you see things differently.

I see the world is about to explode. I can almost feel this too – no differently than I felt the panic when I knew there was going to be a problem at 3:00 after school, and there was some bully looking to kick the shit out of me in the parking lot.

I don’t want to fight anymore.
I don’t want to argue anymore.
I don’t want to worry or panic.
And I don’t want to be afraid either.

I think about the very first party that I went to. I don’t mean the kind with punch and cookies. No, this was the kind of parties we had as teenagers. I had been to parties before but nothing was like this. No, this was the kind of party where there was beer and kids and the popular crowd gathered together in someone’s house.
This was the first time a girl ever allowed me the chance to kiss her for more than a few minutes, which took place in the dark laundry room in a basement and on top of a pile of clothes that were strewn on the floor. Nothing else really happened – but the experience was nice. I can say that much.
Actually, she agreed to be my girlfriend – for two whole days.

I remember someone broke the door in the laundry room and it wasn’t me.
This wasn’t my fault but, for some reason, I was blamed.
I was blamed because I was in there and I was an easy target. To be fair, I wasn’t the only one to use the laundry room as a make-out room; but either way, I was blamed. 

Not only this, I was called and yelled at. I was cursed out on the phone by a girl who had to answer to her mother for having a party and allowing her friends to wreck the basement. 

None of this was my fault. Not at all, but either way, the blame was coming to me.

I remember the anxiousness that went through my head that Sunday night.
I knew something was about to happen to me on Monday morning.
I knew something was coming my way, either before or after homeroom at school.

I was right.
I was sucked in by the rumor factory. I was chewed up by the gossip mills and, for at least a little while, I had to deal with the appeal of having a raging form of social leprosy. 
What a bullshit thing that was to deal with!

They say to give time some time.
They say that time heals all wounds.
They say that if you allow yourself the time to heal, you can look back at some point and you’ll realize how that version of yesterday isn’t there anymore. 
I can say that time is helpful but at the same time, the mind always remembers its patterns and pathways of thinking.
This might not be up-front or at our surface level of thinking. While this might be more of a subconscious challenge, no matter what, the challenge is real.

I can say that while writing about this or while thinking about the make-out room or the upcoming Monday, I can clearly recall the anticipatory fears of what was about to come my way.
I can still see the memory in my head. I can still recall the Sunday night phone call from the girl who went into the basement with me. She broke up with me because the rumor hit the streets before I had a chance to reply or respond. Either way, come Monday, I had to deal with an unbelievable bout with shame and foolishness.

I remember wishing that I heeded my instinct. I wished I never went to that party. But I did go.
And I had fun too – at least for a while. Everything was great until the next day, which was Saturday.
Everything was fine until I was churned by the gears of a socially crushing force.

I say this because while the chances of me being bullied at school are long gone; I can still see the lessons from my past. I can still understand the anticipation and the fears of what’s to come. 

I know why people use the rumor factories and the gossip mills. I know why people use others for firewood when it gets cold.
I know that while I am not perfect, not by a long shot, I can see the works of things and just like when we were kids, I can still relate to the anxiety of Monday morning, either before or after homeroom, when the news breaks and the rumors shoot through the hallways as quickly as a whisper – only now, this is quicker. 

Now, the speed of light is slow when compared to the news demons and the delivery of information.  
Sometimes, as advanced as we’ve become as a society, I really don’t think that we’ve advanced at all, at least not really.

If the tech gods really want to impress me – then fine. Build a system where I can send a message to my Mother or Father.
I could sure use a talk with them. While my diet and diabetes might not allow for it, I could sure use a few slices of Mom’s cinnamon toast.
And maybe some of her hot cocoa.
This always worked to cheer me up when I was young. Maybe it’s not much anymore; but again, if the tech gods really want to impress me, then build an app for this,
Build this and then maybe, just maybe, I’ll agree that we’ve advanced because otherwise, I see the bully brigade is going in the wrong direction. 

Shit, I had bullies when I grew up.
Sometimes, I think a punch or a kick or even a wedgie or a spitball to the forehead is better than being ridiculed on an online forum –
at least the shame back then was limited to an incident.
But now, an incident can be worldwide within a nanosecond of time . . .
It’s all just a click of a button now.

Isn’t it?

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