I failed math in college and I never retook it.
I decided that I was bad at it when I was in Mr. Inouye’s class at Alta Sierra and my bestie Khaylin and I were giving each other “new names” (that I refuse to share with the public) instead of listening to his mind numbing lectures. The only thing I remember about his class is my nickname and hearing an eighth grade girl with blonde hair walk by rapping Fat Joe’s “Lean Back” as she passed my classroom; a highlight of middle school, honestly.
I struggled for the next 5 years to remain a B+ average student. Not really because I am incredibly intelligent (really really ridiculously good looking too) but I decided I was bad at math so I was always trying to stay afloat with that C in geometry or whatever.
When I got to the University of Pittsburgh, I was in a math class with one hundred people and I couldn’t be bothered. I was also 3,000 miles from home and had joined their Division One track team. Couldn’t be bothered with algebra. I failed it. Like, an F. And I didn’t retake it and I became an art major and moved to Los Angeles. You should have seen the Holy Ghost dance I did when I found out Art Center didn’t require math classes.
But then I was in a perspective class; a required foundation course that I had deduced was artistic math. I will add for context and defense of my shortcomings in this class by saying that my first two semesters of art school were extremely painful and I was not emotionally or physically well.
Perspective, or the way that I (didn’t) learned about it dealt a lot with rulers and measuring and the work looked like architecture and my teacher’s voice often soothed me to sleep.
I was in San Francisco this weekend and I haven’t been there in a while. SF used to be my favorite city and I had a very magical idea about it when I was younger. For a year or two my dad was in San Francisco two or three times a month on business. SF is my dad’s favorite city, and it is often that we share favorite things.
I’ve got to tell you, I am a very romantic person. And I am okay with liking things that people think are cliché. I attest that I like what the hell I like and no one decides those things for me. I say this because I often find myself enamored with landmarks and monuments and skyscrapers. I don’t freak out about them, I adore very quietly and secretly. But usually when I go a city, new to me or not, there is one (sometimes two) that I pay attention to my entire stay.
When I was at the University of Pittsburgh, I fell in love with the Cathedral of Learning. And okay, it’s cheesy and iconic and typical. So what. The birth of this love was being lost. If I ventured out (something I do a lot) and came to the conclusion I was in fact lost—I looked up towards that beacon and meandered in its general direction until I found something familiar. I don’t know if other people do this. I had been sitting in Echo Park about a month ago and got up to head back to my car. A European couple stopped me and asked for directions to DTLA. They were going to be walking, and I did my very best to articulate how to get there. But Downtown was so visible from where we were standing and when they walked away I wondered why they wouldn’t just follow the skyline like the “north star” it is.
The Transamerica Pyramid is a triangle, and I like triangles. That was my landmark for this weekend. Any time I got into a different area of town I stopped to find it—and I thought about how amazing it is that people in different parts of the city experience and view this same thing so differently depending on their vantage point, just like an opinion.