I remember reading Disney Adventures Magazine in the 5th grade. Jonathan Taylor Thomas (who I watched on Home Improvement every day but haven’t thought about until this moment) made some kind of joke about people stuffing him in a locker in middle school. That was the start of my anxiety and panic attacks about middle school, and it really didn’t let up for the next 3 years.
As I remember it, there were 3 bullies and a sea of strangers. I remember Karl putting little globs of spit on his finger and flinging it at me, and I remember thinking, “What the hell? Is this a thing now?” Then there was James. One summer, we were friends at Boy Scout camp and his dog peed on my tent. A month later in school, he was spraying me with gatorade and blindsiding me with tackles from behind. Lots of things bothered me about all that crap–humiliation, pain, etc. But it also made me really wonder about the logic behind it. I really didn’t get it, and I hated not understanding something.
All that to say I memorized the class schedules of a few people. I also knew where they hung out, when they went to lunch and what line they tended to go in, and what buses they rode and where. I couldn’t say it was not exciting–strategically avoiding and outwitting these morons. However I could have done without the lightheaded panicking and that clenching in my stomach and abdomen that didn’t really let up until I was out of college.