Oh, the pre-teen angst!
I’ll warn you now, this is a longish one. But it’s also fascinating. This is the first Mini-Me, but hopefully not the last.
What follows is an unedited “short story” I wrote shortly after the events transpired, with modern-day annotations for your benefit. Names and places changed or omitted, of course. I can’t decide whether to be disturbed by the fact that I still kind of react to guys the way I did then (but that’s another story), or laugh. I think I’ll just go with laugh.
A long time ago — when AOL Instant Messenger was still the bee’s knees — in a land strangely identical to the one where I currently reside, there lived an eighth-grader named Maria. She attended a small, Catholic, K-12 school, one of those ones where the classes are so small that the 1st and 2nd grades share a classroom, as do the 3rd and 4th, 5th and 6th, etc. At this point in her young life, Maria had grown out of the phase during which boys were fit only for gratuitous kicking. But she had yet to grow into a new one. In sum, boys weren’t icky, but they were definitely beneath notice.
Julian Thomas: A Short Story about a Weirdo
About a month ago, a new boy came to our school. Apparently his name is Julian Thomas and he’s a freshman; that’s all I knew about him…until he IMed1 me.
1: Nowadays, the kids would say he “messaged” me. Back when AIM was the only way to M, we called it IMing. Like texting, but on the computer. Gosh. It’s not that complicated.
Completely randomly, someone IMed me whose screen name I’d never seen. The name was “bayareajuliant,” so the name “Julian” reassured me. I figured the new kid had just gotten a hold of my screen name from a friend. He said, “Hey,” and I just responded with a question mark. He told me that he was the “new kid” at school in ninth grade, and I found out that he’d gotten my screen name from Claire, a girl in 7th grade in my 7/8 class.
We chatted for a while; at first he was just trying to figure out which person I was at school. After a while, he seemed to know who I was and we talked about school and where we lived; told him I live in —- and he lives in —-. It’s pretty normal conversation, don’t you think?
Then he asked, “Do u like ne 1 in ure class?”
He used the same kind of abbreviations as most people on AIM, but his is unique: only a few people I know say “ne” for “any” or use numbers, and I’ve never seen “ure” instead of “ur” or “your.” His question didn’t surprise me very much; after all, he hadn’t seemed out of the ordinary before. I told him very bluntly that no, there wasn’t anyone worth liking in my class. And of course I followed it up with, “How about you?”
He said yes, but in 7/8; well, that’s little odd. He hemmed and hawed and then said he liked Claire! “And someone else, but I would not get into that.”
Suspicious. Somehow, I had an idea who it was, but at that point, it was no big deal.
He said she knew; I didn’t really have anything to say, and I wanted to find something Claire and I were talking about –
kodadakota314: how did you get his screen name????
claireybeary0024: he gave it to me
claireybeary0024: um long story
kodadakota314: awww….is it a CUTE long story???
to show that I already had had a hunch that there was something going on between them. But first I had to find it, so I didn’t say anything for maybe 20 seconds. He immediately freaked out. “Are you ok? You seem sad! What’s wrong??”
Now that was weird! He said he liked Claire. I didn’t answer. Is he assuming that I’m jealous?? No way. I told him that no, I just wanted to find something for him, and I wasn’t upset. He said “I’m not buying that.”
What a weirdo!
I gave him the quote2, and he didn’t think much of it. He just said, “She’s gonna hate me,” and then brought up the “someone else” that he’d said he “would not get into.”
“I like someone else in your class, because I’m thinking Claire is a little too young.”
He paused as if I was supposed to immediately take the bait and beg him to tell me who. He was bordering on flirty.
All I said was, “Did you say that because you’re planning on telling me?”
Then he moaned – or at least that’s how I would describe it since it was written, not said, “Man, I’m so confused!”
That was definitely suggestive3. He said he had a “lot of things” on his mind, and when I asked him what, he gave me a list. The first couple where basically saying he was multitasking, but then the rest were in continuation of this cheesy profession of love. Or should I say “Like-liking.” Having a crush. Call it what you will, but don’t try it on me!
Here are those comments: “Liking two people in one class,” and “The things you’ve been telling me.”
THE THINGS I’VE BEEN TELLING HIM? WHAT ON EARTH HAVE I BEEN TELLING HIM?!
“What have I been telling you?”
“Do you like ne 1 in the whole school???”
He wants to know if I like anyone, anyone that would be a rival. It was obvious where he was heading.
I tried to head him off with, “Mmm…not really…I’m not really into that kind of thing.”
But I didn’t want him to avoid it and then come back to the subject again; I wanted him to get it over with, so I asked him who it was.
Back to the “Oh, I can’t say, but….well, if you really want to know…”
“Oh, I do.”
“I gotta go. 5 minutes. Actually, 15 minutes, I gotta take a shower real quick”
Yeah right, mister!
“Nah…I have to go…”
Backtrack! Can’t lose her now! What to do?? He tried the pathetic “Just a few minutes, please?”
“Nope, tell me or don’t tell me. Sorry.”
He said he’d talk to me later. I couldn’t care less at that point. But he just had to know if I would be on the next day.
I told him I didn’t know, and he said in desperation, “Ok, ok, I kinda like you.”
Figures! I just laughed and said, “You don’t even know me! Talk to you tomorrow or at school. Bye.”
He said, “No, wait, don’t go! Ehh…forget it. I’m kinda stressed out right now.”4
He signed off.
2: The quote of the IMs between Claire and me, that is. Which, in retrospect, wasn’t exactly the classiest thing to do, Mini Maria.
3: Back in the day when “suggestive” meant “suggestive of flirting.”
4: Speaking of suggestive, what’s up with the sudden need to shower? “Stressed out?” Are these just lame excuses or…can someone help me out here?
The next day, I decided to block him; “blocking” on AIM means making it so that the person you block can’t IM you or even see you on their list of friends. I thought it was a good idea to not give him the chance to continue our interesting conversation.
It was all over. Thank goodness! No more flirty, insincere, cheesy IMs coming from someone I didn’t even know. Or so I thought.
I got a random IM that day from “freakinEMOguy92.” He said “Hey” several times, and asked if I was there. I asked, “Who is this?
Guess who. “Same as yesterday.”
I didn’t know what to say. I asked him, “Why?”
I guess he didn’t get the deeper meaning of the question, because he didn’t get it. Oh, well. “I didn’t know you had two screen names…”
Here it was – “About last night…did you get the email I sent you?”
I certainly did not. He must have sent it to my AIM email address, which I never use. I checked it; here it is, word for word, bad grammar and all:
Hey its me sorry i had tto say what i said. u just made me splat it out. u said but u dont no me, i did not want to say this just yet. i doo . if i was just lieing i wouldnt no that u came into our classroom yesterday, and i saw u under the stairs.5 im SORRY!
PLEASE 4 GIV mE C YA AT SCHOOL!!
It seems like we’re dealing with an interesting character. He apologized again on AIM. I said it was okay, but then he dropped the bomb: “Is that why you blocked me?”
Shoot! He knew! I decided to just be upfront. I told him, “Well…it was weird that you were talking to me online but at school you don’t even say hi…so I guess I just don’t know where you’re coming from.”
There we go. It was the nice version of “You are a total freak who flirts with me online and acts like it didn’t happen in real life. Maybe you should get a life!”
He said, seemingly being flirty again (you can be the judge of that), “Well, to tell you the truth, I’m very shy about talking orally.”
Why can’t he just give up?! The next part of the dialogue is so long and painful to write down that I think I should just put it down as it was there, with my comments interjecting.
|freakinEMOguy92:||too tell u the truth|
|freakinEMOguy92:||i am very shy by talking orally|
|freakinEMOguy92:||but to prove thats me|
|freakinEMOguy92:||i was standing near u in PE today|
|freakinEMOguy92:||and we played tag again during lunch|
So? He expects something here! What’s with him?? He doesn’t think I like him back, does he? I gave a completely cool answer, as if I suspected nothing.
|freakinEMOguy92:||but did u really block me????|
|freakinEMOguy92:||so ure still mad right?|
|kodadakota314:||mad? not mad….I wasn’t mad.|
|freakinEMOguy92:||but why did u|
|freakinEMOguy92:||u made me worried|
|freakinEMOguy92:||that i did something bad|
OH MY GOSH!!!! Listen to him! LISTEN TO HIM!!!
|kodadakota314:||well how often does someone randomly like somebody that they haven’t even talked to before?!|
|freakinEMOguy92:||umm well i did not want to tell u yet but u made me yesterday its like i had to tell the truth right away.|
|freakinEMOguy92:||please belive me|
|kodadakota314:||oh I do….but I’m just wondering WHY you would suddenly start liking all these girls in the 7/8…sorry|
|freakinEMOguy92:||well most of them are pretty|
|freakinEMOguy92:||and the hs ers are really spoiled|
|freakinEMOguy92:||do u no when i started to like u|
|freakinEMOguy92:||i poped my brain again|
|kodadakota314:||just get to the point or don’t say anything…|
|kodadakota314:||cuz I should go study soon|
|freakinEMOguy92:||ever since i went to ure classroom when we did not have PE|
|freakinEMOguy92:||u stilll there?|
He’s such a dork! He’s already back to his flirtatious self.
Oh, this next part was hilarious. My mom said to say I hang out with a big, buff guy named Bob every day after school…and he wouldn’t be happy to know Julian was hitting on me. I thought that was a good idea – after all, it was all true. Bob’s my horse. So I said, “But just so you know….” (below) He suspected, from the tone of what I had written, that I was going to say something of the kind. But then I freaked out and told my mom it would be obvious that I’d made it up, and it would be totally tacky. I spent almost a full five minutes (a long time on AIM) trying to think of a way to get out of it. Then…
|kodadakota314:||but just so you know|
|freakinEMOguy92:||dont tell me is it bad?|
|kodadakota314:||well not really|
|kodadakota314:||just so you know…we have FINALS next week and I gotta study! LOL!!!|
|freakinEMOguy92:||thats what u were trying to say|
|kodadakota314:||uh huh….what else would I say?|
Oh, that was great!! I loved his surprise at my totally random and crazy mention of finals. It was obviously not what I was meaning to say, but I pretended it was. It had worked out okay, and I’d gotten him to stop being a flirty weirdo! For the time being at least.
5: Note that he didn’t actually talk to me. Just saw me under the stairs. That’s not creepy at all. That’s the kind of thing you say when you’ve poped your brain and splat it out, I guess.
Hooray, we were talking about normal things. My mom said I should ask him about his old school, since he had transferred in the middle of the year, so I did. We talked about that for a while, and then he asked if I agreed with him that the high schoolers were spoiled. I said that my teacher, Mr. D—-, says that they show the fall of Western Civilization. And yes, they were spoiled, but not all of them were; I have friends in high school. He asked if I would be in the 9/10 classroom next year. His class. I said yes, and then changed the subject to sports.
I told him that I had played softball when I was really little, and he said “Aww, how cute. I saw you when you were little in the [School Name] video.”
What [School Name] video? When did he see it? How did he recognize me? And most importantly, why was he bringing it up? Not to mention, why can’t I have a normal conversation without him dropping hints left and right?!
After a minute or so of “normalness,” if you want to call it that, the next thing he said was “Are you in any school clubs,” and that the only club he was in was yearbook. His question might have been innocent or he might have been finding out what I did so he could do it too. I don’t know. All I knew was that after about an hour or so of talking to him I was ready to leave. I told him so – not like that, obviously, I just said I should go – and then signed off. I blocked that screen name too.
The next day at school, Claire – who had heard from Audrey who had heard from Julian6 – mentioned that I had (supposedly) been talking to him all night! Me talking to Julian all night!!! Was that his conclusion from the night before? I told Claire that I had absolutely not been talking to him all night, and said I couldn’t believe he had said that. I didn’t care about what happened with him at school, but I was definitely not talking to him on AIM again.
When I got home I saw an IM from “Borninutah14” saying “ne 1 here?” N-E 1. Julian alert! Without IMing back, I blocked the screen name. I haven’t heard from him on AIM since.
6: “You go talk to your friends, talk to my friends, talk to me…But we are never ever ever ever getting back together! Like, ever…”
At school, he avoided me for a few days, and then hung out with me and my friends Mary and Anna during lunch. I don’t know if it was because he liked the game we were always playing or because he liked me. Mary and Anna told me that one day while I was still in the classroom and they were outside, Julian had them pose kicking the ball for a yearbook picture. Luckily for me, I missed it.
He hasn’t hung out with us any time recently. He would always say hi, but that was about it. I think he’s just a creep. A nice creep, but a creep all the same: he apparently professed his love for Michela, another girl in my class. That makes three crushes in the classroom below him, and one of them twelve years old. So…I honestly think my “creep” diagnosis7 is accurate.
7: Like sociopathy, creepiness is a real condition. It’s just under-diagnosed.
Did you enjoy our little time traveling trip? I have to say, I found this little diatribe captivating, but that could be because I find it interesting to peer into the mind — and writing style — of Mini Maria.
I now open the floor to you, dear readers. Was Julian truly a creep, or was Mini Maria too harsh on the poor guy? Honestly, he’s lucky I didn’t regress and start kicking him in the shins.