It’s Towel Day!

Today is May 25, which is when we celebrate the esteemed author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the late Douglas Adams. You’re supposed to carry a towel around, but I didn’t actually remember that it was Towel Day (also known as 42 Day), so I don’t have my towel.

By the way. I am aware that if you look at the WordPress homepage today, under “Freshly Pressed”, you will find a post that very clearly states that today is Towel Day. So just to, you know, not seem like a total biter, I just want to tell you that, although that’s what reminded me to write this post, I did already know it was 42 Day. My sister told me. So there.

As usual, I’m sorry for not posting last night, but the band banquet didn’t end until after nine, so by time I got home, I was tired and not in the mood to type. I just kind of went to bed and fell asleep faster than I thought I could. That’s my excuse. Real sorry!

Anyway, I’ve got today’s story all planned out; it’s just a funny little tale from when I was in seventh grade and my sister was in eighth, and here it is.

I reached for the jar of tomato sauce, plastic spoon in hand. I was about to slather my half-bagel with the sauce when someone snatched the jar and kept it for herself.

I sighed patiently and waited for the sauce to come back my way, so I could make my little pizza bagel and eat my first morsel of food in hours. Honestly, I would have been happy just to eat the pepperonis right out of the bag, but I was pretty sure that the after-school-program staff wouldn’t like that because it was “unsanitary” to stick your hand in a bag of food that other people wanted to eat.

I looked around the table and saw unfamiliar faces–sixth graders who I didn’t know; I knew very few sixth graders because I tended to shy away from people who were younger than me. They had a habit of annoying me to the verge of yelling, and that wasn’t something I liked to do, so I just avoided them whenever possible.

One eager girl, however, wouldn’t let me do that. She was sitting across from me and next to my sister, with whom I was talking while we tried to wrestle the pizza fixings out of the grimy hands of our peers.

“Are you two sisters?” the girl asked me. I didn’t like this girl at all. She was mean to my friends and always acted like she was above everyone else. Total snob. I wouldn’t wish her upon anyone.

My sister and I exchanged a look. We knew that we didn’t look alike at all–she was tall and curvy, with thick and long brown hair and light brown eyes, and sun-tanned skin all over. I, however, was a little on the shorter side, with a bony body, fair skin, gray-green eyes, and short, thin, dirty-blond hair.

I saw the gleam in her eyes. I knew what she was doing. I was hungry, impatient, and quickly getting bored of the situation, so I decided to play along.

“No,” we said in unison.

The girl looked between us, surprised. “Really? What are you?”

“…Friends?” I tried, confused.

“No, like… what are you? Um… like…”

“What race?” my sister suggested.

“Uh, yeah.” This class of sixth graders, I noticed, was particularly touchy with the subject of race.  They didn’t like the word race, didn’t like the names of the races–they were uncomfortable calling people “Asian” or “black”, instead stumbling around with other more surreptitious descriptions, which most of the upperclassmen seemed amused at.

I looked at my sister, and I knew exactly what she was thinking. “Dutch,” I said.

“Japanese,” was her response.

There was a modicum of truth to these answers. She was Japanese–our paternal grandmother is from Okinawa, the southernmost island of Japan, and she has darkly tanned skin, not unlike my sister. And it was true–as far as I knew, anyway–that I was Dutch, because our mom is from Wisconsin, and she told me that most people there are Dutch. Although I had never certainly confirmed our Dutch origin, I was sure enough to say it.

The girl looked at us. “Really?”

My eyes were still on my sister. I felt my mouth twitch into a smile. She burst out laughing.

“What, what’s funny?” the girl asked in a panic.

“Oh, nothing,” I laughed. I saw our step-dad’s car out in the parking lot. “Oh, there’s our ride. C’mon, let’s go.”

My sister and I got up and grabbed our backpacks. The girl looked at us in confusion. “So… wait, you are sisters?”

“Yes!” our friends chimed in.

We left, laughing. That was the first time I was ever actually happy because of a sixth grader, and I relished our harmless and dumb little prank.


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