Thursday, December 20, 2007

On Being a Girl in the Big Bad World of Software Part 2

To graduate from most California high schools one must accumulate two semesters worth of credits in “Regional Occupational Programs” (ROP). The idea (I think, but this knowledge is entirely based on what I heard in the school hallways at age 16, I tried to do research on the program on the intertubes but my California education didn’t give me the skills to slog through legalize without submitting to sleep.) is that if you take an ROP class every term for all of high school the state will help you find a job after graduation. The reality is that schools require the 2 terms to get the state money associated with the program and McDonalds has a lot of employees with impressive flower arranging skills. The ROP options at my high school were Construction, Auto Mechanics, Floriculture, Secretarial Skills and Computers. I eliminated the first two as too dirty and the next two as pathetically useless and so second semester of my freshman year when my advanced math class conflicted with Drama 2 (the horror) I was left with ROP Computers filling up my 45 minutes post lunch.

I was the only girl enrolled in this class (shocker, I know). In fact I was apparently the only girl to have EVER enrolled in this class. At the time I thought this might have made me a feminist badass but it soon became clear that it only made me an idiot. Surprisingly the class was not made up of all nerds (if only…) but had a heavy representation of senior football players looking to shore up an easy ROP credit before graduation. The teacher was a guy my mom had known during her “I live at the Yosemite rock climbing camp with my hippy boyfriend” days (which took place right before the “I live at a cross country ski lodge with my hippy boyfriend/soon to be husband/father of my children” days) and it turns out he’s a little bit famous. A few years earlier he had suffered a fall while climbing that resulted in him loosing a lot of his hearing – specifically he was unable to hear high frequencies at all. This wasn’t really a problem…until a girl decided to take his class. The first test was an oral exam. This consisted of him asking me a question and me trying to answer it over and over in an increasingly louder (and, ironically, higher pitched…) voice until I started crying. Eventually he gave up and handed me an A-. Luckily the rest of the class was taught by a series of programs that the teacher wrote so that he could spend the class period at his desk reading and pretending that his hearing was so bad that he didn’t even notice that class time was primarily focused on tormenting me.

Everyday I came into the classroom to find my monitor, mouse and keyboard unplugged, this meant I had to crawl under the desk and blindly paw at the back of the machine while simultaneously using my free hand to hold down the back of my skirt so as not to expose my panties to the classroom full of giggling boys. Some jokes are apparently funny over and over again for 4 whole months. This kind of tomfoolery haunted my semester until the boys decided to up their game from mischievous to skeevy. One spring day I came into class and football player #1 says to me, “Hey, Brianna, if we gave you $250 would you take your shirt off? Cause we took a collection.” It is at this moment that I make one of the worst mistakes in my young life – rather than flash some boobage, pocket the cash and donate 25% to NOW (and 75% to the cute skirt fund) I decided to care about “principles” (and not even the right principles! Everyone knows Capitalism>Feminism). So my boobs remained a mystery and my pockets remained empty and the teasing continued through June and women were finally allowed to wear pants and own property and men started birthing babies and getting excited about cute shoes. Please write your thanks you notes on Georgia O’Keefe stationary (and I wouldn’t turn my nose up at pair of sensible shoes).Publish Post

How, after this intro experience to the awesome world of technology, I ended up actually majoring in Computer Science in college I cannot explain but after a few years of hanging out with the boys I’ve mellowed and come to love being the only girl in the room. Sadly no one has ever again offered me money for a boobie show now that I’d be happy to take it (off). Life is unfair.

For reference here’s Part 1.


Tina Vaziri said...

If only boobs were the answer to all of life's problems.

Peter DeWolf said...

I'd paypal you $4.

Peter DeWolf said...

Also, $250? Wow. They weren't messing around.