POV: On Campus Without a Pandemic (Part 2)
It’s lunch, third and fourth, and you are on campus doing life without a pandemic
March 8, 2021
Disclaimer: This experience is not 100% realistic; this combination of classes is not necessarily possible. It is tailored to highlight some of the universal pleasantries on campus. At the same time, though, a lot of this stuff is pretty spot on and based in reality.
It’s your long-awaited reprieve. If only you could actually relax. Instead, you have to beat the clock, race up to your car, somehow find your two sophomore friends who you promised you would take off, and get all the way to East Coast and back before the bell rings, signaling the start of the third period.
You’re off, like a horse at the races. You can’t run, that would be a little dramatic, but lord knows you are walking as fast as you can walk without calling attention to yourself. You vow to yourself if sophomore #1 and #2 are not waiting at your car when you get to the lot, then you are leaving without them. You are too hungry to miss lunch.
But there they are; youthful speed got them to your car minutes before you. They look eager and ready for an adventure that only a licensed driver can give you.
You all hop into the car; it’s hot inside, the sun cooking away at the leather seats you sit on. Your butt was once wet, and now it is on fire.
“I call aux,” sophomore #1 said.
“Play Mo Bamba,” sophomore #2 said.
“No, no. Sicko Mode.”
You sigh. Here we go. You start the car, air conditioning blasting, and you quite literally skirt out of the parking lot, leaving skid marks behind you. Down the street, through the light, bump, bump, bump, you might have just caught some air on Birmingham. Oh well, who needs a good alignment anyways?
You pull into the very crowded Seaside parking lot, you didn’t think it could be harder to find a parking spot in a lot that wasn’t at school, but you have been proven wrong. Finally, after five to ten to fifteen minutes of circling like a vulture, you find a spot. But those impatient sophomores can’t wait for you to put the car in park and prematurely jump out of the car.
Sophomore #1 runs off to Seaside Market to get some overpriced sushi; the other runs off to East Coast without waiting for you. You yell after the first sophomore, “Get me a Yerb, Mint!” rationalizing with yourself that half of this morning’s caffeine was lost to your pants.
East Coast Pizza is packed. Of course. But you get in line behind your other sophomore friend and wait it out. When you finally get to the front of the line, they are out of Buffalo Chicken, your favorite of course.
You both order two slices each and the accompanying free drink. You know better than to ask for your ranch when you order; if you ask when the pizza comes out, there is a good chance you will get it for free—the tips and tricks of eating East Coast Pizza every other day for a year.
You don’t have time to eat your food. You just run to the car with the pizza in your hands, scared you’re going to drop it off the flimsy plate they give you, and start the car again. At least your pizza made it to the car. Here comes the most overwhelming part of your day; unloading all of your things into your car, finding a place to balance your pizza, and getting back to school and class before the bell rings.
But, as you put the key in the ignition, crack open your second yerb, and start back up the hill going maybe a little (lot) faster than you should be (Mr. Hrzina shudders), you lose one slice of pizza on a sharp turn, it slides off the plate right into your lap. And that’s the last straw.
You start to cry. And then you start to laugh. And then the sophomores are looking at you in horror, and you start to laugh more. This has been a bad day. But hey, the sun is shining, the air is clear, and you know that when you get to your third-period Fashion and Design class, you will be able to see the ocean from the window.
The sophomores leave as you park your car, they need to get to class on time, but you take a minute. Or maybe two. It might have been fifteen. You sit in your marinara and ranch-soaked car, nibble on the remnants of your lunch. You find peace. Then you start your hike to the New New building.
Now you are walking slow. You already lost your battle to the bell, so walk with dignity, with purpose. There is an ocean breeze, a slight wind chill, but the sun is still beating down across the quad.
You make your way up the stairs; they are empty, thank God. In a normal passing period (one where you didn’t have a crisis that kept you confined to your car), these stairs are a battleground. One where you hoped no one could see up your skirt and falls is not uncommon. One time you saw a girl on crutches, who had incidentally injured her foot before the first day of school, come tumbling down, taking several others with her, and ever since, you have been traumatized by what you saw.
You open the door to the Fashion and Design classroom, you are ready to accept the consequences of your pizza debacle breakdown, but when you open the door, the class is alive with students milling around, playing with fabrics and buttons, doing the whole creativity shebang.
You got away with it! No one saw you! Except, when you look at Mr. Wright, he is looking right at you. Upon eye contact, you get the sight of an epic straw hat accompanied by a mocking finger wag.
Mr. Wright embodies the class, his clothes are covered in clay and paints, and the coffee cup in his hand is clearly a product of sculpture class.
You spend this period laughing with your friends and designing a pair of dream cowboy boots at the corner table you have claimed as your own.
When the bell honks again, you are not filled with the immediate panic of needing to speed off to your next class, the fourth period is with Mr. Witt, and he is right down the hall. Oh, the bliss of classes being in the same building.
You decide to take another moment for yourself, heading back down the stairs and finding a group of your friends sitting off to the side of the New New Quad. You layout on a wall, soak in some sun for the few minutes you can, and chatter about what your after school hours will hold.
A couple of minutes later, you are settling into your seat in Mr. Witt’s class. The day is almost over; you made it. The bell honks once more, signaling the start of your last class of the day, and then Mr. Witt starts yelling. It’s not angry yelling; it’s just yelling. Your lunchtime Yerb really hits you now, and Mr. Witt is excitedly yelling, and your hands are shaking, notes write the notes, yelling, Yerb, notes, “SUPPLY AND DEMAND!”.
Needless to say, the period passes in a flurry of passionate lectures full of abbreviations that might be going over your head. It’s 3:08, time to start tallying the last seconds of class, one foot already out the door.
The final bell finally honks, you start to leave class, and you think back on the day you just had, but you wouldn’t have had it any other way. You just love this school.