Over 11 years ago, I was running one of my first cross-country races ever in Long Beach. Millikan Invitational. Heartwell Park.
I remember waking up at 5:30 in the morning just so my family and I could drive what seemed like an hour down from LA to Long Beach. I drank barely a glass of water, just “in case.”
We picked up my teammate Tim.
We saw the rest of our teammates and were talking. I’d heard that the first 50 finishers would get medals.
I felt that this was achievable, I’d been running enough, and with enough push could finish with a 3-mile time at 19 minutes, despite being new to the cross country team. At the starting line, I sprinted out of the blocks, speeding past everyone.
I was wondering how I was going to maintain this pace for 3 miles.
At around the 2.5 mile mark, I started slowing considerably. Everyone was passing me. I was just trying to survive. Every step seemed longer than the next.
Someone had noticed me wobbling and walked me to the side of the course.
Next thing I knew, I was laying down, dizzy. My mom, dad, and coach were there. It felt like this wasn’t real life. I kept wondering if they were going to kick me off the team for this.
I was taken by ambulance to Long Beach Memorial.
* * *
Also over 11 years ago, I was taking an Honors Algebra class. I was excited to be in the class. I’d been an honors student for 2 years already, and it was nice to be accepted into Honors Algebra II.
The classroom I was in was stock full of positive message posters. Fine female teacher. All the reason in the world to be in this class.
But the first test came back.
A 53%. I’d scored the lowest.
And another test came back, this time, a 49%. The lowest again.
There was no out this time. I’d taken “easy” Honors Geometry, with which I barely scraped a B+ in.
But this, this was something else. I spent more time in class wondering if I could ever see the panties of this teacher’s thick peachy curvaceous legs.
Eventually, we got our progress reports.
I’d read, “Brian should consider regular algebra…”
Maybe she was right.
On the day I asked her to switch, I asked her for directions on how to do the lesson, pretending that I was interested to show that I wasn’t really a bad guy, or student. I wanted to show her I was really trying.
I moved down to regular Algebra by the next week.
* * *
11 years later. I run. I’ve ran marathons. I can run more marathons. Every morning and night, I bike over the very park where I fainted. But for some reason, I still can’t do math.
I’ve had recurring nightmares of still being in regular Algebra.
Never turning in homework.
Being stuck in it.
And I’m forcing myself to confront it again.
With the tools of deconstruction.