Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sweaty palms

It's 2:30 p.m. and I'm standing in front of a room of 13 and 14-year-olds. It's their last class of the day and it's my first school presentation of the season. The last bell is minutes away and their eyes are on slow-moving hands of the clock.

Only moments earlier I was comfortably alone in my car, sunglasses on, skirt hiked up to my thighs, air-conditioning cool on my freckled skin, half-ass rapping along with Dr. Dre.

My armpits are damp and I'm talking too fast. My shirt is bordering on exposing an inappropriate amount of cleavage, but I can't pull it up indiscreetly.

And then it's over. "You'll be back next week?!" the kids ask, happy. They want me to come back. "Yes," I tell them. They liked the prizes I brought. "Next week we're talking about resumes."

Afterwards, I reward myself with feeling like a kid again; a slurpee from 7-11 and a few stolen minutes in my favourite Bonnyville park before I begin the drive back to Cold Lake.

Later that night, I head back to Bonnyville with my mom. We go to the greenhouse at Hoselaw and while I'm waiting for my mom to pay, I start a conversation with the gawky teenage boy who lives there. I ask about his insufferably cute dog. We're left alone together for an awkwardly long time and as we're loading the geraniums in the car, I try to make conversation. We swat at the mayflies hovering in clouds above our heads.

"Do you go to school in Bonnyville?"

"Yah, I'm graduating this year," he tells me proudly, adjusting his glasses.

"That's good," I offer politely.

"Yah, I'm pretty excited about it. . ." he's silent for a moment, grappling to make the words in his mouth form sentences. He wants to ask me something. Without making eye contact: "What grade are you in?"

I laugh. He's hitting on me and I find it adorable. "I'm 23."

The shocked look on his face says it all. He thinks I'm lying. I laugh again at the sheer disbelief on his face. And in my head I know that the next time I see him, will probably be next week when I'm at the front of a class, talking too fast and sweating too much.


  1. bah, don't worry : we all sweat. this is the major reason why I find us - the men in suits - so ridiculous. I mean, what's a point to show off in an expensive suit if we're sweating so much in it ? Anynway, good luck for the next class !

  2. Anonymous11:10 AM

    You could pass for a high school student. You're not that much older than the boy anyway.

    I find it flattering when people underestimate my age.

    A. Gourmando.

  3. I know I look about 18.

    And even though 6 years isn't that great of an age difference, I think the growth that happens between the ages of 18-22 is worth 20 years.

  4. Anonymous2:14 PM

    You can generalize to some degree, but different people grow in different ways at different times.

    According to the textbooks, adolescence extends into the late 20's. What do you think about that?


  5. I think it's entirely accurate dependant upon the person. It may sound cliched, but life experience adds up.

    And for me, personally, between the ages of 18 and 22, I travelled all over the world, went to three different post-secondary schools, moved across the country, built a school in a developing country and grew up. A lot.

  6. Anonymous4:26 PM

    I did a lot of growing up in the 22-24 area, but then took a ten year hiatus. Had a ball.