Friday, September 9, 2011

The first day of High School loomed large.

Just before the beginning of school, I took my three daughters to their schools to set up lockers and scout out the terrain. After dropping Eldest and Middlest off at the High School, I accompanied Littlest to the Middle School. Littlest, being a returning student to the Middle School, knew where all her classes were and only needed to set up her locker.

Having your locker set up makes the first day of school much more welcoming. On that first day, opening a set up locker is like the school saying, “Welcome back friend; the summer has been empty and lonely without you, thanks for returning.” Of course, as the school year progresses, the locker fills up more and more; until at some point, the door opens and the contents spill out. That is like the school saying, “You people make me sick. All this noise and carrying on. All of these old tests and papers, stuffed inside me is nauseating,” as the contents of the locker vomit onto the feet of the hapless student.

Littlest got her locker set up in less time than it takes a NASCAR pit crew to change four tires and then we drove back over to the High School, which is large enough to span across three counties. It is huge, monstrous, intimidating. The school has all the doors numbered, and we parked in a prime spot and entered the building through door number 7001. I know this because eldest wants to be an engineer and is very good with that mathematical stuff. She is not, however good at other specific things. For example, when I walked into the building I called her cell phone and asked where she was. She replied, “Still in the High School.” I asked where, since we were entering the building. She started rambling on asking me if I knew where such and such a spot was, then she said, “Oh wait, I see you now.”

Looking down the long empty hallway, I made out two small figures, almost tiny dots on the horizon. One of the figures started waving her arms in, what I can only assume was, semaphore for, “Greetings, oh great and awesome father. Proceed straight ahead and in three miles we will meet.” Littlest and I walked and did indeed meet the other two girls.

We met in an amazing hallway, lined with botanical gardens on the outsides, and large spacious aquariums up through the middle. I gazed and gawked at the scenery, while the girls stormed ahead, on their scouting mission. They chatted away incessantly and occasionally paused and waited for me.  “Catch up Dad,” they blurted out, seeing me trailing behind them.

Middlest was busy finding each room where her classes were going to be held. First was Latin, then AP World History. Each room was a small hike and many twists and turns from the last one. First down the lime colored hallway, then the pumpkin, then through the candy-apple red hall. After a while I thought I was in a fruit basket. On her way to art class, we went down a hallway with even more plants and fish in it. I looked at these new aquariums and marveled at the variety of turtles and eels on display. My girls blurted out, “Heinz…HEINZ!” I looked at them, wondering to whom they were talking. “Heinz dad! Heinz!” they repeated.

“Who is Heinz?” I asked.

They laughed and said, “Catch up Dad,” as they turned and began their assault on the halls of academia once again.

After, and I kid you not, two hours, we finished finding all of Middlest’s classrooms. Yet again, we found ourselves in still another hallway with lush vegetation growing along the edges and built-in, vibrant aquariums through the center of the hallway.

In amazement I asked, “Eldest, just how many hallways like this does your school have?”

She looked at me a little confused. “Just one Dad.”

“One?! Just one? You mean we have been walking around in circles for the past two hours?”

“This is High School Dad. What did you expect?”

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