Jackson has been carrying a notecard in his back pocket all week with his phone number written on it. It’s for a girl. Let’s call her Shirley and she’s in his class. She got a phone for Christmas and he overheard her giving her number out to a boy on the playground. Jerkface. Oh, Jerkface. You know Jerkface. He’s loud and obnoxious. He carries on with nonsense like untied shoelaces and poking dead animals with sticks. Jackson is not impressed. But Shirley, he suspects, has fallen under Jerkface’s grip. Shirley and Jerkface, he’s heard around the playground, are a couple. So although Jackson is in Shirley’s classroom cluster, and a teammate on his robotics team, and a girl he would consider a “friend” first and foremost, he’s afraid to give his phone number to her because he doesn’t want to “rock” the proverbial pre-teen dating boat. Is this really fifth grade?
On Monday he wanted to ask her for her number, since she appeared to be readily passing it out. And he was prepared to, until he wasn’t. Until his nerves got the better of him. Until he heard the “girl drama” on the playground. Saw Jerkface doing high-kicks over the seat of the swing. He let himself get intimated. All worked up.
On Tuesday it was decided he would suggest that he give Shirley his number, that way if she ever wanted to text, or link up to play Minecraft online, she had it in her phone. But when the time came, he backed away slowly from her desk, saying something about a dropped pencil. Le sigh.
On Wednesday he met me nervously at the front door of the school and flashed me digits on the notecard. I smiled and asked if he worked up the nerve to ask Shirley for her number. No, he mumbled, racing me to the sidewalk, that was his number he wrote down to pass it to her, but he had chickened out again. Close, but no cigar.
By Thursday he had devised a plan. Shirley is in charge of the morning announcements. So while she was in the office each morning, he had about five precious minutes to slide his notecard onto her desk. He added a diagonal arrow to the nameless notecard, to indicate that it was from him. He sits diagonally from her. Smooth.
On Thursday afternoon he came bounding out of the building and ran at me while I was talking to a friend. She’s the mom of another girl in Jackson’s class, so he stopped just short of us. We both turned and looked at him and he said, “Hi. Mommy I need to talk to you.” We excused ourselves and started down the sidewalk when he said, “Operation Shirley was a success.” I told him congrats and asked what happened.
Turns out he was too scared to give it to her face to face, so he waited until the walkers had been called to line up upstairs. She happened to be away from her desk getting her book bag, so he placed a folded up note on her desk as he walked by. The note said, “Hey, it’s Jackson G. I heard you got a phone for Christmas, and I wanted to give you my number in case you ever want to text or anything.” As he walked out the door he looked back to make sure she had the note, and she was reading it, so he ran upstairs.
And just like that, girls are a thing now.