Why does an ordinary school locker fill me with dread?
With all of the new and different things a first-time 7th grader goes through when starting a school year, the dreaded school locker should be put at the top of the list. There should be an instructional class for students on how to work the locker without having an anxiety attack.
The Curse of the Locker!
Here lies the story of the dreaded Locker. My own horrible memories are still harbored in the recesses of my mind of unsuccessful attempts at opening my 7th grade locker. . Does the combination lock go left first, or right? How many turns? Is this number right? I can’t get my fingers to move fast enough! Hurry, Hurry, hurry!! There are distractions in the hallway, noises from rambunctious fellow students. Sounds echoing throughout the hall. I cannot be late for Mr. Yazzi’s science class!
My science class was run by a crazed army veteran who had seen too much of Vietnam. His name was Mr. Yazzi. He shaved his head and always wore camouflage—everyday—except for the days when we were having an assembly and he was going to be around other fellow teachers. That is the day he would dress up. His classroom was always cold and sterile. I remember some of his lectures about where chickens came from and how eggs were fertilized. Immediately, I became a vegetarian. During one lecture he showed us slides of constellations in the nighttime sky and he told us that he only slept four hours a night and that was all a person really needed. I was truly frightened by this man.
I remember the hard clomping of his army boots as he marched up and down the aisles. There was one day when he came marching down my aisle (I sat in the very back corner) and with each of his steps, I became more and more panicked. My heart beat in time with his boots calling cadence with the hard tile floor. My breathing was erratic and I thought for sure I was going to scream when all of a sudden he stopped, patted me on my back, and shouted, “How ya doin’ today, Stephanie?” It took all of my strength to keep from screaming. I caught my breath and choked out a timid, “fine thanks”.
The bell rings and once again it is my turn to wrestle with my locker. Then, I had an idea…
Why not carry all of my books to every class just so I wouldn’t have to try to unlock my locker in record time just to beat the tardy bell? I would have extra time at lunch to retrieve the last half of the day’s books. It stressed me out because if I ever messed up, and tried to work the combination lock with my right hand, it never worked. Only my left hand carried the responsibility of releasing the lock. Even though I was right-handed. When I tried with my right hand, I always messed up or completely forgot my combination. I would write my combination down on my hand at the beginning of the day, and try not to wash it off. I had different places of writing it down, just in case.
And so it goes, the anxiety that hovers over the 7th grade hall. From lockers to science teachers, we take it a step at a time, hoping with each new day that passes, we become better at controlling our anxiety.
That was my story.
Mercedes has her own. I found out half way through her 7th grade school year--that she was carrying all of her books with her everywhere instead of using her locker. She would put her coat on top of all of the lockers because she couldn't open her locker. Hmmm...something doesn't seem right.
Any locker stories are invited. Please email me your story @ firstname.lastname@example.org