Tuesday, June 28, 2011

RemembeRED: School Trip

Prompt: School trips. We all go on them. What trip do you remember the most? Where did you go? Who was with you? How did you get there? Have you ever been back?

I don't like to go on field trips. I'll just get that right out there into the open. Field trips in elementary school almost always reminded me that I didn't fit in.

For one thing, I always wore hand-me-down clothes that my mother got from various people. Those clothes never felt quite right on my body, so I remember feeling awkward all the time.

I fell down a lot.

I was tactile defensive. As in, don't touch me, for I will punch you right in the face.

As an Army brat, I was almost always the new kid.

I also never knew what to say to people in unsupervised situations; I can remember other kids looking at me like I was an alien species.

In the logic of the herd mentality that was elementary school, I should have been chased out of the collective, forbidden access, so that the lions would eat me.

But the real reason that I hated field trips was that I never got enough time to actually look at what the class was there to see. Field trips were usually a large group crammed onto as few buses as possible. The places we visited did not welcome our arrival. The zookeepers happily envisioned the boa constrictors in the reptile house having a particularly obnoxious child or two for a meal. The museum docents cringed at the thought that one of us would actually touch a priceless piece of art, or worse, break off a piece. Oh, these people put on a good show, but it was always clear to me that they all heaved a sigh of relief when the buses finally drove out of the parking lot.

Consequently, the museum/zoo/exhibit people, as well as the teachers, tended to rush us all through whatever exhibit we were there to see, and by the time I had a chance to look around, we were already back on the bus heading back to school. Once back at school we had to write a paper about what we saw, and all I ever saw was a blur.

I discovered during all these blurs that I am a browser. When I am in a museum, I like to read the little description of the painting/sculptor. I like to hear a story about the artist and the times in which he/she lived. I like to sit back and contemplate the painting. At the zoo, I like to read about the animal, where it is from, etc. It's not really such a bad thing, to be a browser, especially when the world is moving so very fast. I realize that now, but back then when I tried to fit in, my browsing ways did not sit well with anybody, including me.

Probably the only field trip I remember enjoying was in fourth grade, when I went to Hamlin, Germany, with my mother as a chaperone(don't get too excited--we were living in Nurnburg at the time). My memories are pleasant, if faded. My roomie was a cute blonde girl who wore her hair in two braids. I had an awful orange pants set outfit thing that my mother made me wear. We all stayed in a youth hostel(sans any cutting instruments, co-eds, or Eli Roth), someone's bra ended up at the top of a flag pole, and we rode in a boat. No Pied Piper sightings, however.


  1. I lived in Germany for a part of 4th grade, too. And, I too remember the rush and anxiety of field trips.

    This line: "I was tactile defensive. As in, don't touch me, for I will punch you right in the face."- made me giggle. :)

  2. Same here. I like to browse too and not everyone feels that way. :P


I welcome comments, but reserve the right to correct your spelling because I am OCD about it!