19 November, 2009

The dangers of a high-school hallway

The bell rings. One can hear the tide of voices begin to rise, like the first ripples in the middle of the ocean that will eventually turn into a tsunami. A few moments later, students pour out of their classrooms in a tide of jostling, bumping, yelling adolescents. If one does not have a class to get to, it is fascinating to watch the tides; the ebb and flow of the multitudes. I am sure there is a large career to be had in highschool fuel mechanics, in fact. But if there are experts in said field, I am sure they were not called upon to design my school and lay out its classrooms. You see, all the major classes except for science: Math, World Languages, English, and Social Studies, are all situated around one and a half stairwells. Because of this, stairwells B and C, as they are so creatively named, are often the only stairwells used by students during the day. Let me tell you, 2000 angry, rushed adolescents using one stairwell for five minutes is not a happy sight, and many feelings (and ribs, shoulders, and other body parts) have been hurt during the dreaded passing periods.
Now, there are three main ways to deal with this crowd of almost bovine masses. One, and clearly the least efficient, is to simply sit cowering in an unused and out-of-the-way corner waiting for the insanity to end before sprinting to class. As one would expect, this does not often turn out to be very successful and often ends in multitudes of tardies.
The second is the most dangerous method, but one that can be very successful, especially among those blessed with a larger stature and build. It is, namely, to brace oneself and shove through the people, often at a breakneck speed. I call it the snowplow method. As one would expect, this can result in a lot of elbows in the face and bruised ribs, along with the occasional full-body tackle if the snowplow-er happens to run into a football player who has been having a bad day. Despite these cons, however, the snowplow method is one of the most effective means of bypassing the passing-period crowd.
The third, and my personal favorite method is extremely useful for the less timid, but also less extreme in stature of us 9-12 students. This is what I call the train-car method: it is to grab on to the backpack handles of the snowplower mentioned above, and to hold on for dear life as they cut a swath through the crowds. This is almost as effective as the snowplow method, and results in much less minor injuries. Often one will see entire trains of students, one holding on to the backpack of his peer in front of him, all striving simply to get to class on time.