You know when you’re a kid and you meet a slightly older kid and you think that because they’re older (or because they have cool clothes/hair/etc., or because everyone else seems to think they’re cool, or…), they must be cool, and then they somehow sort of bully you into friendship? Like, they just sort of tell you that you’re gonna hang out, so you do it, even though you’re not sure you like it?
SIDENOTE: Wait a second, this has also happened to me as an adult…
When I was in grade five, I was in a split-grade class. There was a girl in grade six named Emily. Emily and I were never friends. Like, I don’t remember ever hanging out with Emily at school. She was kind of snobby and kept to herself. Now that I think about it, I don’t remember Emily hanging out with anyone at school.
So I have no idea how it happened, but one day, Emily came over to my house for a sleepover. She totally invited herself, and I think that at the time she did so, I was on the outs with a few of my closest friends, having discovered they had created an “I Hate Andrea” club, so I accepted.
Having a sleepover when you’re a kid is sort of like moving in with someone when you’re an older kid/adult: it’s a make-or-break situation in terms of friendship.
Guess where this is going?
The first thing that happened is we got bored. Because we didn’t even know each other. So Emily insisted we go to Galaxyland. Galaxyland is the amusement park in my hometown’s mall. Yeah, an amusement park in the mall. It’s the biggest mall in BLAH BLAH BLAH.
I was down for it, obviously. I like amusement park rides. And going to Galaxyland wasn’t something I did every day, so it was a special treat that my mom agreed to take us. We got weekend wristbands, which were crazy expensive. My mom (my amazing mom) shelled out something like $75 for the two of us. Even as a little kid, I felt guilty that she was paying all that money, but Emily didn’t bat an eye. She was literally tapping her foot, heavy-sighing, etc. waiting to go in. We were clearly cramping her style.
Having a mom around in general was cramping her style. I guess she must have hinted that we didn’t need supervision or something? I don’t remember how we ended up alone at Galaxyland. It’s not something I would have ever expected. My mom and I have always gotten along and hung out lots. This was my rebellious stage of life, though, so maybe I was trying to be cool by agreeing with Emily. Bottom line: we were at Galaxyland alone.
Now Emily could start bossing me around like crazy.
I didn’t get to pick any rides. The rides I wanted to go on were “stupid” or “boring.” And also, I was apparently slowing Emily down. She kept rolling her eyes at me like I was so uncool, so naturally, I did my best to JUST BE COOL.
We were in line for one of the smaller rollercoasters when Emily turned to me with a very serious look on her face.
“When it’s our turn, you have to run. I want to sit at the very front.”
She meant business.
But so did every other kid in line. So when the 20-something in charge of the rollercoaster opened the little gate, I tried to run, and instead got trampled and tripped up by other kids who were just as – if not more – obnoxious than Emily. Something got under my foot and I flew forward and face-planted DIRECTLY against a metal gate.
And then I blacked out.
Yes, I was knocked unconscious. I don’t know how long I was unconscious for, but I remember waking up and seeing the 20-something above me, asking if I was okay, with Emily standing next to her looking like this:
She told me to get up so we could get back in line for the next ride. I looked down: my knee was bleeding. I felt dizzy. I wanted to cry. I WANTED MY MOM.
I told her I was going home. She rolled her eyes and said something like, “Seriously?!”
I limped to a payphone (a payphone! I’m old!) and called my mom, whose fears about leaving me alone at Galaxyland were all confirmed, I’m sure. She came and picked us up. By that point, I was developing a crazy black eye.
Emily didn’t notice (see: give a shit about) my black eye. Emily was pissed.
When we got home, the rest of the night went something like this:
- Emily didn’t like the dinner we had.
- Emily didn’t want to go to bed.
- Emily told me I was stupid for sleeping in underwear because “it’s bad for you.”*
- I fell asleep, but Emily was unsatisfied with her sleeping arrangements, so she kept moving her air mattress from my room to the living room and back, therefore keeping THE ENTIRE HOUSE AWAKE.
- Emily went to the bathroom in the middle of the night, flooded our toilet, made a huge mess, and apparently had nothing to say about it but: EYE ROLL.
And then my mom called her mom in the middle of the night to come and pick up her stupid daughter.
To top things off, the next morning, Emily called and asked if she could have my weekend wristband from Galaxyland, since she hadn’t gotten a chance to enjoy it. Being the nice people we are, my mom, my black eye, and I went to Emily’s house to drop off the wristband. Emily and her mother took it, bitched about the trip to Galaxyland being cut short, and shut the door in our faces. No offer to pay back the $75. No, “Oh no, are you okay?” No nothing.
That was the weekend I learned that the cliché is true: the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I hope Emily’s a better person now.
I’m not counting on it.
*What the fuck?