x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

A minor injury is one way for a teen to get a little attention

A minor injury is one way for a teen to get a little attention.

As a species, teenagers don't get much attention. The world seems to regard them as malevolent creatures who are rarely seen, hidden behind their phones or usually gone to a place called "out".

It's quite a pleasant change to have everyone fussing over you all of a sudden, as I did when I went off and bust my chin last week. I have found the "poor, sick, wounded child" state a very agreeable one, with every feeble requirement, like some extra pocket money and an extended curfew, hastily fulfilled.

It all started when we were in the little hideout that we use during breaks, the singular place in school unfrequented by teachers or anyone else. I was chasing a certain someone who had stolen my shoe. (Sadly, even we teens are given to moments of extreme immaturity). When this person dropped my shoe, I found the only sensible course of action was to nosedive for it, which resulted in me regaining possession of my footwear but also losing copious amounts of blood from a gash I received to my chin.

A panicked gaggle of friends very sweetly escorted me to the nurse, while some (and this was great) mopped up the blood on the floor with tissues. It was a comical sight. The school nurse shook her head when we arrived and didn't seem particularly affected when we pointed, slightly obviously, to the bloody chin and explained what had happened. My poor, anxious friends were shooed out dismissively, and the nurse muttered something about "clucking" and "mother hens" that I didn't quite catch. After sticking on a temporary plaster, she made the cheerful prediction that I would be left with a gaping scar across my face unless I got some stitches on it pronto. The stitches meaning I would be left with only a small scar.

"The face is quite an important feature," she murmured thoughtfully, prodding the plaster, "so you'll have to go to hospital as quickly as you can." I fully agreed with her on this fact. Not least because the next classes were biology and physics. About half an hour later, I was sitting pathetically in Welcare Ambulatory hospital, the nearest one to school, Mum painstakingly filling out forms. In the dressing room, the doctor and nurse shook their heads at me. "And just how many days has it been since school started?" asked the doctor, swabbing on antiseptic. Quite a few, actually, in my defence, but he found the whole tale hilarious for some reason. It seems that business is back to booming again now that the academic year is underway. I always knew that school is injurious to health.

The doctor, to distract me, kept a steady stream of chatter going as he injected some local anaesthestic and poked me with a pin to make sure it was working. I thought it all very cool and wanted to try poking my chin myself with the pin. I couldn't, though, because I was told my hands were grubby and swarming with pathogens, which is not true. By the time all the stitches were in place, I knew everything there is to know about how the nervous system works and potassium and sodium atoms changing into ions on neurons and so on. Or it might be ions changing into atoms, I can't remember, but I did feel exceedingly clever just then.

Mum, who was watching worriedly, seemed much more sympathetic than usual. I made use of the opportunity to tell her that I had lost my specification scientific calculator a few days ago and could I please borrow a few hundred dirhams to get another one? I love the effect a teeny cut can have on the hardest of adults. The get-well soon Facebook messages and calls have been pouring in, I'm off PE sessions and it's all faultlessly satisfying. It's just that our head of year told us that the hideout we had been using to eat our lunches is now out-of-bounds. Apparently, "some silly Year 7 tripped there and blew up her head or something". Some silly Year 7. I like that.

The writer is a 15-year-old student in Dubai.