Patrick Karjala

English 101 D

3/22/2000

Local School

It was another school day for Patrick, and a particularly warm one at that. Warm, that is, for the middle of winter. He woke up to the blaring of his alarm at 6:10 in the morning as always, and dragged himself to the kitchen to fix breakfast. Patrick sighed. It was going to be another long day. He had a presentation to give in English class, as well as rehearsals for the Kauai Performing Arts Center after school. He wasnít looking forward to having to stand up in front of all of his classmates, especially those idiotic moks. Despite his four years of acting, he still felt rather nervous when talking in front of the locals that were in his English class. Not that every single local person was a total jerk; but the ones who were just made a lot more effort at annoying him. He still wasnít exactly sure how to handle them either, as they tended to be nice and smiling one second, then in your face the next. But that was the way with locals sometimes, and you learned to live with it.

After eating, he headed over to his friendís house, where he caught a ride to school every morning. Ryan was a local, compromised of Japanese, Filipino, and some Hawaiian background. Still buried in his thoughts, Patrick failed to notice Ryan and his parents coming out of the house, and getting into the car.

"Eh, Patrick. How you doing?"

"Huh? Oh, morning Ryan. Pretty good. What classes you get today," said Patrick, falling into the local style of speech by instinct. People talked differently in Hawaii, in pidgn english, and you had to catch on quick, or be left behind in confusion. It was a language in and of itself, and only the locals could speak it without laughing at each other. If you didnít grow up in Hawaii, or were haole (white), then the locals usually looked down on you if you tried to speak pidgn. Patrick was able to understand it well enough, and even speak it to some extent, but the locals still laughed at him when he tried.

As Ryan answered, Patrick got into the Nissan Pathfinder, continuing the conversation in a friendly and open manner. Ryanís parents asked where he was planning to go to college, and he replied that he was already accepted to University of Puget Sound. Patrick settled in his seat, smiling to himself at their kindness and curiosity about his well-being. However, as they left the house, the car fell silent, and remained so for the rest of the drive. He let his mind wander as they drove, watching the beautiful scenery of Kauai sweep past him as the car headed towards his high school. It was a wondrous place, his island home, and he was glad now that his mom had moved here 9 years ago, bringing him along. Patrick had felt that he was in an alien place when he had first arrived, but over the years, he had come to appreciate the way that the people acted and lived here. Even those who acted in anger or spite had a reason for doing so, and it was a strong one indeed. Oppression had changed so many of these people to bitterness. But somehow many of them had managed to remain happy and open to others. Patrick liked this way of life, of sharing with others and giving help without expecting anything in return. His thoughts turned to the community playground, Kamalani, that everyone had gathered together to build. It was a standing achievement of their family, or ohana as the Hawaiians called it, and Patrick had taken a part in it. He could even point out the exact planks that he had nailed down.

The car jerking to a sudden halt marked his arrival at school, and brought him back to the present. He gathered his bag together, said, "Laters," to Ryan and his parents, and walked off to the computer room to hang out until his first class. Upon entering the computer room, he encountered Mr. Burger, the resident computer teacher. Burger, as he was referred to by everyone, was someone that Patrick looked up to for a source of knowledge about all things relating to computers. The two liked to talk the trade in the mornings, and today was no exception. Patrick shared some info that he had acquired concerning the new state of his website, something that he had learned from his tinkering with computers over the years. He was delighted to hear Burger reply that it should download rather fast onto the school computers. It seems that recently the school had finally installed a T1 line, and all of the students were very excited about the prospects of this fast internet connection.

After discussing the new network capabilities, Patrick left the computer lab and went upstairs, then headed across the bridge to his math class. The bridge overlooked the courtyard where all of the students congregated before class every morning. Patrick paused to look down upon the differing groups of people milling about. Cliques were present everywhere, grouped in their specific places in the courtyard. The "jocks" were underneath the bridge, along with the "popular girls." The "surfers" were surrounding a banyon tree in the center, and on the other side of them, against the library wall, were the "skaters." On a row of benches in the center were the "hippies" and the "K-PACers," who were a mixed group marked by both names. Finally, there were the smarter people, but they usually hung out in the classrooms on the other side of the school.

As Patrick looked down upon the fray below, he spotted many friends in each of the groups. They were all busy talking, socializing, enjoying the warm day, and studiously ignoring the other cliques. Patrick didnít feel part of any specific one, yet felt like he was part of the whole clutter. No particular group acknowledged him as an elite member of their number, but he was always welcome no matter where he meandered. And today he was going to see the group he felt most comfortable with; the smart ones, who were hanging out in the math class. As he walked in, they looked up from the game of trumps that they were in the middle of, and rounded off a group of hellos. Patrick replied, and sat down at a nearby desk to watch the game. It may have been a long day in front of him, but for right now, he was going to enjoy playing cards with his friends, and enjoy the conversation about the upcoming prom. Who was he going to take, anyway...?