Friday, February 15, 2008

You are getting on my nerves! -- jcarolek

When I was 12, living in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, I had a small group of friends, with whom I spent every "free" moment. None of us attended the same school, because, at least in those days in England, children from the same neighborhood went to schools selected for them by their parents, not like the school zoning in the US. So, after school and weekends were really the ONLY times we had to play together.

In our group there were two boys, Simon Dean and Mike Poraj-Wilczynski, and three girls, Anna Gartell, Sarah Lily-White and me (Judy Fletcher). We were all within two years of each other in age, and were VERY sure that we were "grown up"...I mean the boys were 13! We played cards, rode bikes, hit tennis balls back and forth, played "grown-up" games in Anna's garden shed, or Mike's know....things like spin the bottle and "strip poker" (yeah right! LOL). Mostly, we just had fun together.

One day we were bemoaning the fact that Sarah had been required by her mother to mind her little sister, who was about five years old. Twelve and thirteen year old kids, really do NOT like to "hang" with five year olds....but, most of us had younger siblings and were often called into similar babysitting duties ourselves, so we put up with it. That day, we were "hanging out" on the brick wall that ran along the neighbor's property, taking turns hitting tennis balls against it as we talked about all of the "important" issues of our world.

After a while Sarah's little sister, piped up in her little, irritating voice, "I'm bored." She whined...we ignored her, and carried on with our discussion of the day. Two or three times this little kid repeated her plight, with no real response from us. Finally, she stamped her foot on the ground, arms folded across her little chest, all puffed out in indignation and declared, "Sarah! You are GETTING ON MY NERVES!"

Sarah, finally actually HEARING her little sister, looked at her with surprise. "You're too YOUNG to have NERVES," she informed this little kid. I had to laugh...first of all, I had never heard a little kid talk about people getting on her nerves, but Sarah's response just tickled me....

Today, whenever I even THINK to myself that something is getting on my nerves, my mind is thrown back to that fall afternoon in England, and that very indignant little girl, who was not yet old enough to HAVE nerves......

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