Friday, February 29, 2008

Not For the Squeamish

For a time, when I was working at the school, I would occasionally check on the conditions in the girls’ bathroom. A number of the young ladies I knew would avoid using the bathrooms all day long because they thought they were just too disgusting. They would manage this feat by not drinking very much at school and would “hold it” until they got home at the end of the day.

Sometimes the girls’ bathroom was fine. Other times, a little too frequently, it was a realm of un-flushed toilets, perhaps a used sanitary napkin dropped in a stall, wads of dried toilet paper sticking to the ceiling (thrown up there while wet), and massive heaps of saturated brown paper towels left in the sinks and tossed all over the floor. It wouldn't be unusual to see every possible surface covered with graffiti – the walls, the broken hand dryers, the paper towel dispensers, the scratched metal mirrors, and the insides and outsides of the bathroom stalls.

The graffiti was applied in flurries. One day there would be hardly any, and a few days later everything would be covered. Permanent markers were the medium of choice, but pen, pencil and “white-out” would work, too.

Periodically, a team of school district painters would arrive to paint the entire bathroom. Afterwards the principals would lock the bathrooms for a day or two while the paint dried. The surfaces stayed clean for a short time and then graffiti would start to appear again. Once, a student scrawled this in a freshly painted bathroom: “You stupid to paint this cuz we just gonna do it again!”

There was so much accumulated paint on the walls that I started to wonder if a thick sheet of it could ever peel away from the drywall and fall on the floor. After years of repeated paintings, I wondered what a cross section of the paint layer might look like under the microscope – like tree rings perhaps.

One time, the PTA sponsored a mural contest, hoping that student artwork in the bathrooms would deter graffiti. It did, on that wall, for a short time until Randy Ward (the first OUSD State Administrator) dictated that all school bathrooms had to be freshly painted in colors determined by the district. That was the end of our student designed and painted bathroom murals.

From what I observed, girls and boys did different types of graffiti, and in different amounts. The girls’ bathroom always had much more graffiti and it could be very mean and gossipy. Their graffiti could lead to some of those ever-so-exciting girl fights that would happen periodically on campus.

The boys’ graffiti was mostly tagging, the scribbling of neighborhood locations and gang names (3800, E.S.O., Dog Town, Norte, etc.) which seems to be the young male marking of territory and the announcing of allegiances. The boys were also more likely to destroy fixtures in the bathrooms, like the time three of them spent a period in the bathroom dislodging a toilet completely out of its bolted fitting on the floor.

I was fascinated with the adolescent mindset behind the graffiti and what these kids were saying to each other, and to their world. For girls it was mostly the professing of love, and of hate.

This is some of the graffiti in the girls’ bathroom that I recorded a few years ago.* I want to warn you that it is disgusting, and not for the squeamish or politically correct. Remember, this is only one episode of graffiti. It was written by 11 to 14 year old girls who wanted it to be seen by other 11 to 14 year old girls.

T-Baye waz here, but now she’s gone. She left her name to carry on. Those who knew her, knew her well. Those who didn’t can go to hell!! Whaaa! Dashell waz here, but now she’s gone. She left her name to carry on Those who knew her, knew her well. Those who didn’t can go to hell!! Nigga T-Baye [scratched through paint] Dashell [scratched through paint] Hopkinson is a Hoe pimple bitch Vanessa Shakela Smith is a Bicth with hair looking as she look like a man Jessica humped dis pole ### is a ##### lick her #### Bitch you Go to Hell Her name aint Even T-Baye Bitch. Bitch Pryde HBG we stay smashing Mexican Puerto-Rican Latin Bitch Fuck U! Puerto Rican Pride Bitch Asn B2K Omarion & Tanya Mexican [crossed out] Asn [crossed out] Fuck [crossed out] Fuck Lil Bow Wow>>Fuck whoever wrote this Hoe Like what it is Bitch T-Baye Bitch Get it Right Hoe you heard me you ugly hoe suck you momma pussy How the FUCK YO PUSSY Smell ass gone tell me WHAT MY name is Mayra doesn’t love Malik SDF Fuck this school Stupid 30’s Lil zane is a fine ass Fuck John M [drawing of a heart] Latanya 4-ever Latanya still loves Daniel Morris 4-Ever R.I.P. Lil’ Dewayne you BEATENEM BOY!!! A WELL RESPECTED S.T.I. BOY!!! S.T.G.’z BITCH LOWER BOTTOM W.S.O. WHAT IZ IT ##### ## ### ASS Dick Sucking Bitch RiP LiL SHAN ALL WELL Respect 77th GREENSIDE ST Boy FUCK MRT [Crossed out] Dina & Travis Knight for Life=forever R.I.P. lil will Vanessa waz here but now she’s gone Angie Saephan A BITCH she left her name because she suck dick ASS Crack!!! N She Better WATCH HER HOE Shes a 1c Hoe Maria is a Fucking DICK SUCKING BACK! Miss Handleton suck dick HB Bitch FUCK STI SDF MARIA A HOE ### Mary suck dick John Mallon [crossed out] Ms. Handleton is a Bitch Maria eate Pussy [with arrow pointing to a drawing] Pauline is a BITCH fuck ##T Pauling Hong is a DICK SUCKeR Jessica Hong suck DICKS Jessica Hong is a little fatass Bitch Jessica Hong is a bitch Jessica Hong said that she was sucking her brothers Dicks! Jessica Hong is a bitch Maria is a slut SIGN PAULINE HONG Lidia is a beach Maria is a dick sucking slut!!! Fuck yall bitches Aliana Martinez sucke John Mitchells + Akeem+ her big brothers NUTS Hoe not! J. Anders is a bitch Nelly is fine cuties ### better watch her mouth BOOG OMARION LIC FIZZ Raz B Mayra + Malik is some dick sucking Bitches! 6500 VG’s ### Fuck who ever wrote this must be black [with arrow pointing to above] you jealous bitch #### is a ### who ever wrote that stank ## shit eat not bitch 6th & 7th ## VGS VGS d better watch your back Lil Bowwow is hella fine S.T.G.’z BITCH LOWER BOTTOM Mexican Pride 4ever Mexican Bitches can suck they daddys dicks Like they always do W.S.O. WHAT IZ IT!!! From a black bitch Laquisha and Tyrina is some stank ass hoes and Shamila need to stop wasting her time with then and Nina need to too They some stupid bitches Jalana ia a bitch Prosty Nelly is fine [crossed out] Fuck. took the Pic-away Bitch Sing Bitch asshole Nelly Ciera & Ernest HBG Condom use them S.T.I. [crossed out] Bitch you’z A HOE! Kristen WhiTe suck dick Arianna Martinez dose this Fuck [arrow] This person who wrote this is a bitch Keiu Pham 4 Life!!! Fuck you samerit you lick yo moma pussy Bicth Maria is a HOE she even suck moma’s dick And her mama is a man!!! HOE

# = crossed out to become illegible

*Names have been changed

Don't these words have an odd, poetic charm?

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