I find myself traveling to my past a lot these days. I guess it is when I discover that time is moving so fast and there is the risk of forgetting important things and people in my life.
I was thinking about trendsetters in high schools.
No school lacks a trendsetter. One of my sisters told me a story about trendsetters in her school the last time we were together and I really laughed.
When she transferred into that school in form two, she did not imagine that things like trendsetting existed because she believed that, it being a private school with a small population, everyone was their own boss. But she was mistaken. I was already laughing by the time she got here because of the tone with which she spoke. She is one of the best story tellers I know.
"I met Halima and her gang the second day in the dining hall." She said. Like her, Halima was in form two but the two had not spoken to each other before. She immediately noted that Halima and her group were always together.
"You must be a new student." Halima asked with what sis says was an irritating-fake accent.
"I am. As you can see I don't have the proper uniform." That was the reply sis gave.
"We want you to be one of us." Halima continued.
That conversation was long and boring, according to big sis. And as I expected, she turned down their invitation.
"Why didn't you want to be part of them? They were the know it alls." I asked knowing fully that I was not getting anywhere with that kind of statement.
"I had seen such kind of groups in my former school and they did not impress me." She said and continued to lament about how tedious and moneyless trendsetting was as a job.
My sister said trendsetting and wanting to be noticed for no useful reason was really useless.
"They did so many useless things. They laced their shoes in a certain identical way, their skirts were ironed in the same manner, their blouses were always tucked in in the same way, their food had the same spices...it was so tedious for them I think."
"Did they manage to set the school's trend?" I asked.
"Maybe they did. I wasn't really keen on their progress; our tables in the school hall were close and that was why I could see them all the time."
"Did the group hold until the end of form four?"
"Unfortunately it did not. The group originally comprised four girls. Two of them transferred at the end of form two, one left in form three leaving only one. Halima."
"So how did you end up with Halima as your best friend?" I asked because Halima was the name of my sister's best friend throughout form three and four."
"It's a long story." My sister said laughing. "But she had to drop all ambitions of being the school's trend setter"
Halima's experiences as a trendsetter? Sis says she doesn't know much; all she knows is that Halima used to laugh at other trendsetters and then say, "I wish these girls could see themselves in a mirror."
Of course the story is longer and more humorous.
But there is another type of trendsetter. This one does not do anything to attract attention, in fact she doesn't even know that she is drawing attention by what she is doing. We had this kind of trendsetter in my high school.
I spoke to Anne on phone for over an hour yesterday; just laughing about incidences that took place. Anne Francisca was the silent trendsetter in my school. Although she never did anything unique, everybody seemed to be in competition with her for something. I am thinking that maybe her beauty had something to do with it. Anne is a rare breed of beauty with a skin color that is hard to come by. So girls in my school and especially my stream disliked her. I don't know why. The most interesting bit was that, whenever Anne came to see me in my class(she was in a different stream) or another friend, my classmates would want her to just say hi to them. But immediately she left, most of them would start saying all sorts of bad things about her.
Though no one admitted it, Anne was a trendsetter in my school. Someone was always trying to walk like Anne. Others wanted to have as many boyfriends or rather draw as much attention from boys like Anne did. Others wanted to wash their clothes with gloves, just like Anne. Another group wanted their school uniform to fit just like Anne's...
We laughed so hard with Anne.
"And why were the two of us ever friends? How did it happen?" I asked Anne as we approached the end of our conversation.
"Daisy, I truly don't know. We are so different in many ways but similar in a mysterious way." She said hanging up. Like with most people I call friends, the phone call was lengthy but it ended just when we were supposed to have started talking.
Trendsetting! trendsetting! Trendsetting! Who is qualified for the job? What do they stand to gain apart from short-lived attention and 'admiration?'