Thursday, August 20, 2009

Third Thursday in August

'Can *you* remember getting your A-level results?' said M.

I know he's not actually joking, because I know that he remembers almost nothing about anything. And I can see the advantages of that. As Ani DiFranco wrote about the goldfish, the little plastic castle is a surprise every time.

I can remember getting my A-level results like it was yesterday.

I had two such experiences, as I took General Studies A level in the Lower Sixth, and Maths, Chemistry, Geography and a Cambridge STEP (Sixth Term Examination Paper) in Geography in the Upper Sixth. At least two of these qualifications probably don't exist anymore.

I really enjoyed my General Studies exams. Writing an essay about morals and answering multiple choice spatial reasoning questions was fairly close to my idea of a good time when I was 16. Might still be now, in fact. My boyfriend at the time was in the year above, and took the exact same exam (I took it a year early because I was a geek. I was already a year ahead of myself because I was a precocious geek) at the exact same time. The difference was that he walked out of it early, while I was still chewing my pencil and being thankful I'd revised my Greek gods.

We had to go into school to get our results. By that time he'd dumped me, for a variety of reasons, most (in retrospect) having to do with my non-compliance with 1980s Blackpool girlfriend norms. It was bruising. But it wasn't over. I spent literally hours getting ready. I had my hair in a massive back-combed ponytail with a white scarf round my head, I was wearing copper-coloured eyeshadow and frosted peach lip-gloss, plus a white cotton jersey zip up jacket with shoulder pads and a second-hand black tube skirt. And many, many gypsy-style silver-style bangles. (There are no photos of that day so I can't prove any of this. But I'm ridiculously sure.)

I got an A in my General Studies A level. Like all anxious brainy girls, I never really thought I would. But I wasn't over the moon, as I knew I was *capable* of getting an A. It was more a relief.

I met up with schoolmate S, who wasn't getting any results but came along to hang out anyway, and we went to the Winmarith pub across the road. At some point, E showed up. We pointedly ignored each other for a while, but eventually came face to face.

'You actually look all right', he said, in an 'I'm surprised to find myself not embarrassed at having gone out with you' sort of a way. I presented my new enigmatic 'your loss' look, and put 'I am a rock' on the jukebox. (Again).

E got an F in his General Studies A level.

That day was a turning point for me. Though it still wasn't over.

And yeah, I remember it.




Blogger Beth said...

Funnily enough, I remember getting mine too - although they were posted out to us (thankfully, under the circumstances!) My best result was General Studies, but I still only got a 'C'.

8:11 am  
Blogger Beth said...

p.s. I used to play 'I Am A Rock' a lot too....

8:11 am  
Blogger Jeremy Dennis said...

Copper coloured eyeshadow! I had some, from 17. Lost it to a younger sister somewhere along the line. Still got my acid brights 17 palette, though (I wore them as "something old" to my wedding). My shoulderpadded jacket was bright banana yellow! But my A Level results were a damp squib, as I did the Oxford exams, and had already got my place. My results came out exactly in line with my opinions of my teachers, which I'm sure looked really quite pointed (though possibly they'd say the same thing).

11:17 am  
Blogger Jo said...

B: Nobody who is actually a rock plays I Am A Rock on the jukebox in the pub. But it took me a while to work that one out.

J: My copper coloured eyeshadow came in a tin from M&S, with some cobalt blue and other fine colours. I had a huge collection of 80s makeup that I chucked in the late 90s, along with my huge collection of 80s jewellery. Regrets, I have only a few, but that's one of them. Inspired choice of 'something old'!

12:05 am  

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