I was a freshman in high school, and I was as 9th grade as they come: I pretty much wore the same outfits week after week because they just defined me. I had my Scottish skirt and my dresses from Hawaii, and my stretch pants. And I worked it. So here we were, 14 years old at McNary High School in Keizer, OR 97303. [Side note: I love zip codes!]
My friend Birdy and I had MADE it big-time: we had auditioned and successfully gotten a role in the chorus of the all-time favorite high school musical, GREASE. So when the bell rang at 2.15 one cloudy afternoon, we quickly figured out the math that we had just enough time to take a bus to our old middle school, pay a visit to our favorite teacher, and bus back to the high school in time for play practice at 3 o'clock.
The plan worked for the most part, except for one minor detail: we didn't make the bus back to the high school. We ran. We speed-walked. We sweated. And we freaked out, because what if we ended up late for play practice?!
Finally, right near 3 pm, we arrived at the back of the school, only to realize that a 15-foot chain link fence stood in our way. Why would there be a back entrance to the school, when only one entrance was sufficient?
Fear not! Birdy was a professional fence-hopper.
I, alas, was not.
Birdy, the pro that she was, hopped up and over the chain-link fence in about 2.5 seconds.
Cara, the professional fence-hopper that she wasn't, hopped up the chain-link fence in about 2 minutes and got stuck at the top. With the aforementioned stretch pants on, plus penny loafers and a butt-covering sweater to boot.
I swayed and wavered at the top of the fence, trying to get over the little spikey things at the top, while my hands bloodied and subsequently wiped themselves on the white stretch pants.
Meanwhile, with Birdy motioning me to "Get down!" from the bottom, so did the restless spectators: the three lanes of traffic behind us, honking and shouting their words of encouragement in the process - and the three football teams, who had stopped their afternoon practices and were watching this spectacle of a freshman girl who couldn't quite get over the other side of the fence.
I was mortified.
I was embarrassed beyond belief.
But most of all, I was SO afraid that I'd get kicked out of the play! What, no "Freddy, My Love," no, "Summer Lovin'"?
We aborted the plan: I climbed back DOWN the fence, blood on my torn white stretch pants and all, and Birdy huffily climbed back up and over the fence - in, of course, about 2.5 seconds.
And as we walked, with our heads hanging droopily between our legs, we then came to realize that not more than 100 feet in front of us was an actual back entrance to the school: a real live opening for us to walk through and not have to climb up and over.
It was mortification at its finest - but it makes for a pretty good story almost twenty years later. :)