Ken Leighton 12:03 p.m., Jan. 24
- Community Blog
My corner of Mira Mesa
I have the stereotypical Filipino mother; every time I step out the door she thinks I'll get kidnapped or hit by a car. I guess that's partly where my paranoia comes from.
Whenever I'd go out with my friends last year I'd always tell them "I need to be back home before dark." I don't know why I told them that. My mom never said that. It was a self-imposed rule because I didn't want my mom to worry.
But sometime last summer, I -did- stay out until dark. And nothing bad happened. I realized that my mom probably doesn't care what time I come home (well, within reason) as long as I do come home. I think maybe my mom is just protective of me, but she's not "over-protective". I just imagined the "over" part, because I've always followed the rules.
Anyway, that's enough about me. I started this blog because I wanted a change of pace. When I blog it's usually on my Myspace where I freak out about the normal teenage things. My friends say I'm an introvert. I ramble on and on about the same things, questioning why I am the way that I am. Well, hopefully you'll see very little of that here. This blog will be about the town I grew up in (and still am growing up in.)
I moved to Mira Mesa when I was five years old (Oh no, I'm talking about myself again!). I lived in an apartment (Can I call that an apartment? It wasn't a house.) on Mira Mesa Blvd. That was back when Seafood City used to be Lucky's (And before Lucky's turned into Albertson's)
If I think about it hard enough, I guess I've seen a lot of changes in Mira Mesa since I've moved here. I remember being a Hage Elementary schooler and staring out the fence of the playground and seeing basically nothing. I volunteered to help with the Hage Halloween carnival a few years ago and I stared out that same fence and saw Best Buy.
That's when I realized "Wow, I'm getting old." I remember when the area with Best Buy, Ross, and Albertson's was nothing but dirt.
My memory may be a bit hazy, but I'm sure that that wasn't too long ago. I don't remember exactly when I moved to the condo that my family still lives in now, but I do remember having my 7th birthday party here, and starting second grade at Walker Elementary.
My mom didn't start driving until I was in the sixth grade and my dad never learned how to drive. I've spent a good portion of my life being a pedestrian and taking public transportation; which would explain why my family doesn't really get out of Mira Mesa much.
So, let's fastforward a few years. My first few years of high school, I took the DART and made friends with a few bus drivers. Cool people. That's also how I got to know my current best friend, Katy. She lives in the same area that I do and we waited at the same bus stop. We've known each other since Mrs. McMurray's Middle School Algebra class, but if it wasn't for the fact that my mom left for work too early for her to drive me to school, I don't think Katy and I would have become such great friends.
When I was a Freshman at Mira Mesa High, my sister was a Senior. We took the bus to school and usually went straight home afterwards.
Sophomore year was a little different. I'm sure many of you know how high school goes; eventually you start breaking the rules and doing your own thing. Katy and I still took the bus, but sometimes we'd take a later one. Wait a minute, what am I talking about? Sometimes? No, no. Often, we'd take a later bus. That was when we started walking around more with our friends. The five of us, Adam, Ryan, Lee, Katy, and I started to call Target "home". You'd find us there after school most days, and on Fridays you'd find us walking from Carl's Jr. (Our other "home". "Uncle Carl's" is what we call the place.) to the Rec center to have our weekly Jump The Gun meetings. (And other times Starbucks for our "emergency" meetings.)
But that was the beginning of 10th grade. Like I said, I'm sure most of you know how high school goes. Nothing lasts as long as it should, friends kind of drift apart. Don't get me wrong, though. We're all still friends. We still hang out. Just, not as much as that year.
Junior year was different. Adam and Ryan had their problems, Katy got a job at Subway, Lee suddenly faced responsibility as Vice President of our school's Gay-Straight Alliance, and I had been going through a lot with my dad's diagnosis of a rare form of liver cancer followed by his death in mid-November.
Then there was the New Year. 2008, this year would be different. It -will- be different. As I scrambled to get my Honors American History grade back up to a respectable level, my English grade suffered too. I ended the first semester with a D in History.
That meant I had two choices to make that grade up. EXCEL, or summer school. I took summer school last year... I'm not going to say "And it was no fun." because, I admit, I like school. What I didn't like was having to get up early. I decided on taking EXCEL. Maybe if I take classes after school, it'd prevent me from accidentally taking four hour naps and my sleep schedule won't be so whacked out. (I was wrong, by the way. I stopped taking naps but for some reason I couldn't sleep until 2 in the morning I survived the last half of second semester on four hours of sleep a night.)
So EXCEL was interesting. Not the material we "learned", but seeing how everyone just BS'd the work anyway. I ditched twice (that's how many absences we were allowed). The first time I went to Starbucks with Lee and our friend Mitchel. That was when I realized how awesome it would be to not be picked up by my sister directly afterschool. After that day I thought about it some more. The last day of EXCEL, I ditched as well to hang out with Lee and Adam at Subway and headed to Target.
When I told my sister EXCEL was over she said "Aw. But I like picking you up at 5:00. Go away." She was kidding, of course. But I saw this as an opportunity. "Hey, how about if I go to the library afterschool to do homework. That way you could still pick me up at 5:00."
She agreed. Did I go to the library? Of course I did... After walking to random places around town. I figured, as long as I'm at the library by 4:45, it doesn't matter.
I guess that was the start of it. Ever since then I've wanted to explore Mira Mesa. I already have dreams of traveling around the country, but now I realize I don't even know my own town as well as I thought I did.
As I once told my friend, Lee... "Dude, I need to get out of my little corner of Mira Mesa more."