Monday, 3 May 2010


It's my last week of classes now, and it couldn't have come at a more convenient or more inopportune time.

This particular post is taking me a long time to write, as I currently have a fairly unpleasant sinus infection that has spread throughout my body and is causing me terrible pain in my wrists, back, and knees; as a result, I can barely breathe through my nose, can't really taste, and find walking up stairs and lifting normal items to be painful and involved. I also feel really hot but have no fever. The best part, though, is that I am not contagious and, though I feel miserable, am still obliged to go to school.

So my "sickness" makes this final week of classes "inopportune." But I am glad to see it come, all the same, because this means I only have several more days when I will ever have to deal with the inanity, insincerity, and impracticality of high school.

Mentally, I graduated from high school around December. I also turned 18 a few years ago. In reality, I am a 17-year-old high school senior, which means that my opinions are naïve, my worldview is narrow and jaded, and everything I say is wrong. Most importantly, though, my status means that I am automatically put at the bottom of any kind of priority lists and treated as second-class within the school and most other organizations.

Case in point would be the fiasco with my March exhibit and the disgustingly large amount of vandalism that occurred. Five of my photos were damaged and roughly 10 others tampered with. Lots and lots of pins were torn out of the walls, bent, or used to scratch or poke holes in my photos. Most noticeable were the holes poked in my ear and eye in one photo and the six on my face in another.

I already made a post about this, I know - but I never shared the financial details. I don't plan to, either, as it's an issue between the school and me, but this being a public space, I will share my experiences dealing with the financial people at my school.

Oh wait. I have no such experiences.

This would be because I have not received a reply to the e-mail I sent to the CFO of my school on April 16th. Two and a half weeks, and no reply.

Following is my exact e-mail, unedited. I deliberately did not include any numbers or any hint of how much of a settlement I expected. Hell, I didn't even say how many were damaged. I intended to make him want to ask me those questions and, as a result, have to set up a meeting with me in which I could explain my case:


In March, I had an exhibit of my photography in Centennial Hall's gallery, and when I took it down on the 25th, I was faced with the unfortunate task of assessing the damage that had been done to many of my photos by other students.

I assessed this based on the asking prices I'd set for each photo, and have come up with a list of each damaged photo, the exact damage that was done, and the prices of the photos that were compromised.

In the contract I signed for use of the gallery space, there was a clause saying that my work would be insured at its asking price, so I would like to arrange a time to meet with you and discuss this issue.

Thank you for your time and effort! I look forward to resolving this unfortunately large amount of vandalism.

So - no response from the CFO (to whom this was sent), and no indication that his secretary, to whom I talked about this (she advised that I e-mail him), has informed him that a disgruntled student has invoked his right to justifiable recompense and ought to be contacted forthwith.

It should also be noted that I was forced, at the last minute, to provide food for my own reception. I found out a few minutes before the doors opened and had to borrow my boyfriend's car to rush out and buy about $60 worth of food for all zero of my guests - money I should not have had to spend, money I was told I would not have to spend, money which I have not as of yet been reimbursed.

Again, I have said this before, but it helps to keep things in context. I have gotten nothing but the short end of the stick in all my art endeavors at the school. Friends of mine who have hung paintings and photos around the school have never had to deal with vandalism (believe me, I asked!!). Teachers have never seen their artwork damaged. Currently, in the gallery, a teacher has hung a bunch of his complicated clay tiles on the walls. It's a hell of a lot more elaborate than I could even describe - fired clay hanging on a wall - by itself, mind, not with mounting hardware, and nothing has been broken by the overwhelmingly unintelligent and disrespectful population of students at the school. I don't think it's just those little paper signs saying "Please do not touch."

At the same time, I am taking great pains to not seem paranoid. It would be very easy for me to play the so-called "Rainbow Card" and whine that some student is a rabid homophobe with a silent vendetta against me. It would also be very foolish of me and would completely remove my right to label others within the school as "insincere" and "stupid."

The buzz-word in this particular case is "pathetic." Five teachers have independently used "pathetic" to describe vandalism of my photos. The CFO's secretary called it "unbelievable" and "totally disrespectful." The head and assistant head of the Upper School used words like "disrespectful," "callous," "rude," and "degrading." Hearing so many members of my school's community use words like these to describe the same thing when given the same description (from me) leads me to believe that those words actually reflect on the student community itself in addition to the act of vandalizing my work.

Face it - this was an isolated incident. It must have been, as the photographer whose works were displayed prior to mine reported no damages at all, nor have any ceramists or painters. So this is one idiot student out of many.

Lately, someone has been stealing stuff from people's bags and lockers in the gym. This doesn't affect me, as I keep my valuables on me at all times (and don't go to the gym anyway). But today, the entire Upper School was told that the thief (or thieves) would be expelled, plain and simple.

Ok, so if you catch a petty thief, chances are damn good that the kid will fess up and return all the stuff he swiped. It's happened in the last two incidents of theft during my time at this school. Same assistant head of Upper School, too (disciplinary stuff goes to him).

If you catch the person who vandalized my photos, he won't be returning anything! He'll offer a cheap apology, probably in e-mail form because no one has any balls around here, and it'll be extremely complicated to try and weasel out any sort of remuneration, especially based on my asking prices. Just you wait.

As a result of all this shit, I haven't done any photography stuff in what seems like ages. Once I finally, finally get this all resolved, it'll (hopefully) be back to the old grind - which, not being "high school," isn't really so bad. :)

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