Am I the only one in the world that would give anything to be back in elementary school again? I guess I don’t always wish so strongly for such a thing, but back-to-school time gets me every year. Something as simple as strolling down the grocery store aisle turns into an overwhelming onslaught of memory.
I absolutely loved getting new school supplies. Maybe more than Christmas. The fresh, clean papers, the colorful folders with bindings not yet cracked, the pencils…oh, the pencils… 0.7, 0.5 or #2… I can smell the sawdust from the electronic sharpener as I write.
There were always stepping stones and grades of success on the infamous supply list: The year I was allowed to have a mechanical pencil instead of the traditional #2… the year “ballpoint pen” appeared on the list, and it wasn’t just the customary red one for checking each other’s work… the year I graduated from wide ruled to college ruled. I hope my future children don’t mind me scrapbooking such moments- smiling proudly next to their new notebook with 9/32” spaced lines, rather than 11/32” (that’s right, I Wikipedia-ed it).
And as if the above mentioned wonders weren’t enough, you then throw new clothes into the mix. Namely, new shoes. That’s where the real thrill was for me. I was always careful to get something that looked new and crisp, but not so bright white that I felt I was drawing attention to my feet. I wanted people to notice my new shoes, but I didn’t want them to know that I wanted them to notice.
Armed with my subtle new shoes, reams of unsullied notebook paper, and surrounded by the aroma of all things new, I could conquer anything the upcoming year had to offer. Of course, that exhilaration and confidence never lasted longer than my dulled pencil tips or frayed peachy folders. By the time the rings in my Trapper Keeper bent and started hooking each paper, I was usually ready for summer. There’s a season for everything, right?
It seems unfair that this season still comes each August without fail, but passes over those of us no longer in school. What would life be like if we only got to celebrate Christmas for 12 years and no more? Blasphemy.
The other day at the grocery store, I became plagued by the need to partake in the festivities. I tried to control the urge by distracting myself in the avocado aisle, but that stand of glaring, new spiral notebooks taunted me from the corner of my eye. I could control myself no longer. I bought a notebook. A shiny, untouched, red spiral notebook. I’m not even ashamed of it. And, in what can only be ascertained as some sort of Pavlovian response, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be buying some new shoes tomorrow.