January 5, 2018:

Sometimes I would take an earlier bus — although I hated getting up sooner than usual. There was a pinball arcade and, if I remember, slot car rink, a stop past my usual one. I'd invest my $.25 or $.50 or whatever my lunch money was in a few games of pinball, or my favorite, the submarine game where you peer through a periscope and try to time your torpedo shots to hit the cargo ships sailing left to right. I loved the torpedo sounds it made.

Slot cars were fascinating. I remember my dad taking me at least once. In fourth grade that hobby was too expensive to afford on my own, but I loved to watch, and loved the ozone smell of electrical engines. There was true mental investment in calculating just when and how much to slow down to take the curves without wiping out, or just how fast you could accelerate down the straightaway. Computing two-dimensional physics in me head.

I soon realized that the names of the streets were alphabetical. It took just a few trips to memorize them. Ingraham, Haines, Gresham, Fanuel, Everts, Dawes, Cass. They sound like family names. No idea who they were or why they got streets named fer 'em. Perhaps the contractors who developed the place.

It was always sad to leave the arcade. I didn't belong at that school. The kids were mean, to me and each other. It was competitive in a destructive way. The teachers were both shits, two of the most evil humans I've ever encountered. For a time I was bullied every morning by an older boy who'd kick me in the shin exactly once upon arrival. Some kind of hazing thing. That finally stopped the day I slammed him over the head with the heavy dictionary off the teacher's desk. It got me suspended for a week but it allowed the bruises to heal, and it stopped the abuse. I met that same kid later in high school where he was still a sadistic prick. Even in his sixth grade picture you can clearly see what a cunt he was. In mine you can see my stifflipped unhappiness.

The school is tore down now. There's a branch library there instead. Exactly what I would have done, only I'd have replaced it with a water treatment plant or a sewage facility or something else dedicated to turning shit noncontagious. To clean the karma off the place.