Yeah, so, the Riverfront Times did a profile on me. And in the way of such things, its kind of weird to see myself depicted by someone else, and lots of little details seem just…off, but most of them are, you know, little, and I’m basically just shrugging, no big deal. I’ve seen other people who I knew fairly well turn up in news stories or columns and seen the way the reporters’ depictions seem…more or less alien to me, not really like the person that I know. It’s one of those things that happens. (And something to keep in mind when one is tempted to make judgments–particularly moral ones–with nothing more than a news article to go by.)
There was one detail, however, that I do feel compelled to correct. I’ve already spoken to the reporter about it, and he said he’d fix it in the online version, but of course the print version is what it is. So I’m going to mention it here, too.
The article said that I had found solace in science fiction during a time when I’d been bullied and harassed in high school. (Rosati-Kain, for those of you with enough connection to St. Louis to be wondering, and/or don’t want to read the entire article for that detail.)
In fact, while I was indeed bullied and harassed in elementary school and had a horrible time and I suspect this drove me to spend even more time reading than I might have otherwise (which possibly isn’t saying much considering how much I loved to read), high school was an entirely different story.
In fact, it was obvious from the very first day of freshman year that high school was going to be different. Classes were classes, so far so good, but I dreaded lunch. At my K-8 elementary school we’d all had to sit each class at the same table, and of course I knew that no one wanted me there, or at least (in retrospect) it amused some of my classmates to be sure I never got the impression anyone wanted me there. I didn’t see any reason things should be different in high school, but being able to sit wherever I wanted might mean that at least I’d be left alone. When lunch time came around, I went through the line and got my tray and then started looking for an empty table. Spotted one and headed over–and didn’t get three steps before a table full of people I’d had a couple classes with waved me over. “Ann! Sit over here!”
My first thought was that they were having me on–playing (or attempting to play, perhaps I would decline to fall for it) a cruel joke, luring me in so they could mock me. But then I thought, you know, Ann, these people don’t know you. They don’t know that no one is supposed to like you. They most of them don’t know each other, either, do they? It’s the first day of high school and everyone here is from all over the city. Maybe…maybe they’re just being friendly.
And you know what? They were! I had a great time at lunch, and ultimately a great time in high school. Not counting the various normal emotional upheavals, right? But nobody ever treated me the way I’d been treated in elementary school. And I had friends. Some of whom loved to read science fiction and fantasy, and some of whom didn’t, but really it didn’t matter.
So I really feel strongly that I need to correct that. I was not, ever, at any time bullied or harassed in high school.
I do understand how the mistake happened–lots of people are bullied and harassed in high school, and the conflation of my experience in elementary school with my high school is understandable. But it’s inaccurate.
So–no. Actually, high school was great, for me. And I’d just like to thank the folks–most of whom I’ve lost contact with over the years but still–who called me over to their lunch table that day, and who were friends or friendly acquaintances at a time when I really, really needed it and didn’t in the least expect it. I have never forgotten it.