The bell rings. You shove your Christopher Columbus notes along with the test you got a C on into the bottom of your worn backpack. Everyone in the class scrambles out of the door, as if their life depends on it, and you follow, spilling out into the locker-lined hallway. Every few steps, you find yourself slowing down, stopping, sidestepping, bumping into someone, giving people nasty stares, and starting up again. Doors open, outwards of course, causing you to swerve into oncoming traffic, as loud and obnoxious freshman disseminate into the herd of people. As you continue walking, you find yourself behind a group of it’s-okay-to-stand-in-the-middle-of-the-hallway, I’ve-got-nowhere-to-go people. And you’re stuck.
We’ve all experienced this, the typical transition between classes in a typical high school hallway. Instead of walking functionally- as in walking on the right side, not halting every few steps, not repeatedly turning around, not jumping on top of others, and not shoving your friends just for fun- people tend to behave in the exact opposite way. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, brilliance at its finest. The hallway is the road with no rules. Here, you can cover long distances with your head bent over a cellphone, and people will avoid crashing into you, or you never know, they might be engaged in the this-snap-is-too-important-to-wait moment as well. When four enormously tall football players end up in front of you and your friend motions for you to follow her through the tiny gap that leads you beyond the blockage, you go after her. And right after she disappears into the gap, the people in front move slightly, blocking you from the opportunity of reaching your exceedingly boring physics class, five minutes early. You feel it, frustration levels building up, sanity levels crumbling down. Because of this intense emotional roller coaster ride, including a fail of plans, you hate high school hallways more than anything.
I can remember a time when an underclassman was walking behind unbearably slow people who were purposely dragging their feet. She clearly had some place to be and they were aimless wanderers. I had watched as she attempted to get ahead of them from the left. Then the right. Again from the left. But each time she tried, the herd would drift, slow down, turn around, yell across the hallway, turn back again, and fool around more, blocking her every step. Finally, after too many failed attempts, the girl angrily shoved past the group, pushing them out of her way. Taking her frustration out on people who can't behave maturely, the underclassman had fought her way through, instead of patiently waiting for them to make up their minds or hoping they would turn the other way. High school hallways are the centers of dysfunction, with fights breaking out and kids pushing and shoving, when in reality, they should be organized routes to get to class on time. But we’ve all never heard of a high school where kids can follow basic social rules and behave like proper young adults. We just get to witness 17-year-old behaving like obnoxious toddlers, and teachers acting like wanna-be high school teenagers by taking no efforts to control the student population.
But that’s not all. Ever walk through a hallway that smells like sweat and bad food? How about one that has unidentifiable liquid spilled on the floor? Or one where banana peels and half eaten french fries are lingering on the floor, abandoned by their owner? Hallways that make you want to bring the Febreeze commercials to life and spray an entire bottle on everyone’s face? Kids who push and shove are unacceptable, but adding them to an unsanitary hallway is a recipe for complete disaster. And what about the hallways that feel like you entered Hawaii from Alaska because the temperature is messed up? Walking across a high school is like crossing the equator and entering the poles. One minute sweat is dripping down your neck, and the air is so warm you think you might pass out as you walk out of math class, and the next minute you wish you had a fur jacket to block out the cold before you enter english. Apparently, schools not only want you to learn about Christopher Columbus, but they also want you to experience the climate changes he encountered while journeying into America. Excellent application, very well thought out. I’m sure all high schoolers absolutely love deciding everyday whether to wear a bathing suit or five varsity jackets doubled up.Remembering the high school hallways, the chaos, the putrid smells, the wretched sights, and of course, the hordes of high schoolers, brings back unpleasing and unwanted memories. Memories that are best kept inside the high school.