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Memory: school lockers

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Feb. 15th, 2005 | 09:45 pm
mood: hungryhungry

School lockers were fun. There wasn't room for stuff, so there was the challenge of organizing with the limited space. They were two or three times as tall as they were wide, so you had lots of stacking things up and unexpected avalanches. I liked folding the book covers they gave us (facing the ads toward the inside to hide them, so the cover was blank) and labeling them with a large, stylized and neatly decorated version of the word that identified the book's subject. I had to learn a way to remember the combination to the lock (by reciting the numbers, directions, and number of rotations in sort of a flat singsong, memorizing that by repetition, and using the song to teach my fingers how much to move (dance) in order to do it. (I didn't think about it that way, I just did whatever I had to do.))

School lockers taste and/or smell like metal. Dirty metal. It permeates the halls and gives them a certain emotional continuity that colors the experiences you have in them.

Different rows of lockers in different areas of the school may be painted different colors. Over the years the paint would wear away in interesting patterns, and sometimes they would be repainted or have new doors put in.

School lockers make a wonderful cascade of rattling noises when you unlock them, and there are several satisfying changes in tactile sensation as you lift the opening mechanism and it interacts with the different parts of the lock. There's a symphony in several rows and columns of lockers being opened and closed by crowds of hurried students. There's a sense of anticipation and decay as the sounds fall off and echo more as the halls clear when it's almost time for the bell to ring. (Guess I'm going to be late again.)

Out of character for me, but I even learned to enjoy the swirl of humanity and chaos that filled those interstitial times between "class periods". It was kind of a game to get to your locker without causing injury or offense to others. Sometimes you had to invent new contortions. It was interesting to observe the recurring patterns of whom you see and when and where, due to the locations of their lockers and the individual time-patterns or habits of the students.

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Comments {4}

Triple Entendre

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from: triple_entendre
date: Feb. 25th, 2005 02:19 am (UTC)
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sometimes i'd be absent-minded and find myself, confused, at the wrong locker

maybe that was my dream-locker

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