This morning, my second high school locker combination popped into my head as I woke up. 10-24-8. I avoid thinking about high school – if it weren’t for Facebook I might have succeeded in my lifelong quest to pretend that the living hell of my senior year and all the events and people that led to it never happened. But now, getting friended by the girl who had the Deep Crush on the same Boy I had the Deep Crush on in high school is triggering up loose memories.
Like my high school locker combination, and why I had to change it.
I’m not mechanically inclined at all. I’ve dug into my inner resources to fix broken things in the past, but ultimately, I have to get a professional. Coming into junior high and high school where the lockers had actual locks was particularly awkward for me. And, if locker position is everything, I wonder if, at the end of elementary school when my locker got located downstairs and a few hundred feet away from my peers with only two other students beside me, if we were all pre-selected for ostracism as we moved on to junior high. It certainly worked out that way for all of us.
In junior high, I found myself fighting to get my locker open with inept fingers and then to run – nay, dash – for the bus while a seat was still available. My bus route had more than its fair share of aggressive, outright hostile kids most of whom would mace themselves rather than be seen sitting next to the fat girl on the bus. I tried asking a friend to save a seat for me, but she decided that she was not my friend which she told me in a nasty note in study hall one day – claiming that I “treated her like poop” which seemed to be based solely in my asking her to save a seat, and that was that. The girl would then occasionally come back to me with fake-cordiality over the years through high school as though I were indeed one who had wronged her deeply ((Some of this was prompted by my sister’s popularity among my classmates, many of whom wanted to sleep with her, girls probably included. The very thinking that led to this sideways ass-kissing still grosses me out. Incest by proxy is still incest, and I contend that some fantasies are actually harmful.)) The reality was that she dumped me in pursuit of friendship with a low-ranking popular girl on the same bus, but if she admitted that was why, suddenly she was the horrible person and not me.
I can assure you dear audience, that my only crime was to ask her to save me a seat on the bus. I was too fat to steal anyone’s boyfriend, after all ((attitude of my community at the time, not my attitude towards myself. I’m fine with being fat)) . She tried to friend me on facebook recently. I was not kind.
This has nothing to do with high school, not directly. I’m sure upon rereading at some point I may see the connection, beyond lockers and bus seats.
In high school I had a whole new locker and a new combination. And for the first week of classes I could not get the damn thing open on my own. I finally enlisted the boy two lockers down, who was happy to help given the numerous locker-kicking freakouts he observed. Eventually this locker assistance turned into a little thing, and he became my first boyfriend. He read my stories, I edited his handmade comic books that were actually pretty good. My best friend was ragingly jealous that I had a boyfriend, although I innocently overlooked the signs. His mother hated me, saying I was too “fast” and we both got mocked by our peers; he was zit faced and I was nerdy with a big butt. Awkward makeout sessions turned into setups where people could “catch” us and build his cred while I got the “easy” label that people had been wanting to give me since my sister hit high school ((One of many reasons sister fantasies piss me off on a very personal level. My only problem with my sister’s sexual activity at any age was that she lied to me about having sex while “advising” me not to have sex until I was 18. This was one of many raging hypocrisies built up among my clan that has over the years almost totally alienated me from my family. This is still not as bad as her expecting me to drop my college plans because she was pregnant. She denies she said this, but crazy hormones and pregnancy hormones look pretty damn similar on her.)) . Bizarrely this label disappeared after our breakup, or, at least, people got to the point where they just didn’t care. I was never on the list of that school’s hot girls, something for which I’m grateful. The ones that turned out “well” have lives I can only describe as insipid.
When I finally got tired of him watching television when I called him, and him informing me I was never allowed to break up with him, I broke up with him. Amidst the drama was a very creepy reality: he still knew my locker combination.
So I had to get it changed. And of course, when it did get changed, I received no notice.
I remember running between the admin office and the janitor’s office twice before the janitor finally gave me the damned combination. When, after I’d been called in the office after one girl felt the need to yell I was easy and kick me in the shins despite never having a real conversation, ever ((and people wonder why I still hate them)) I was asked for feedback. I brought up that the notification about locker maintenance might be improved. I even had a concrete plan that is used in most schools nowadays.
The Vice Principal shot me down. He didn’t really want feedback. He just wanted to feel important, after telling the lawyer’s kid essentially that it was just fine that she physically assaulted me in the hallway because she didn’t like that I had a boyfriend.
Notably, my parents were completely useless in all this.
By the end of my first year of college I could no longer remember the second combination, although I remembered the first one for some incongruous reason. And then today, more than ten years after I graduated from high school, I remembered the stupid combination. Usually when memories get unlocked like that, it’s because my brain is making room for something. I hope, whatever it is, it’s really good. It will have to be amazing to make up for reliving any part of my adolescence at all.