My daughter started at a new school this week. It’s a Catholic school, which seems thrilling and exotic to me, since I never attended one. And it has a long, rich history, having been established in 1906.
As excited as we both are, I haven’t heard a single thing about the school’s long, rich history, nor the various classes she is taking, nor her favorite new classmates, nor the beautiful, expansive campus.
All we’ve discussed, hour after hour, is her locker.
I don’t know what underlies my daughter’s obsession. But I can tell you this, it has no bounds.
This week I learned that she has an upper locker, that it’s blue, that it is Locker No. 150 on the main hallway, and that today it was so full of books, bags, and new-school knickknacks, a teacher had to help Lulu pry open the door.
I learned that other girls were more prepared for their lockers on the first day, having already purchased a free-standing metal “shelf” which doubled the usable space.
I think we discussed the free-standing shelf for a solid 35 minutes at pick-up Monday.
Locker-wise, I learned that her friends Megan and Sarah have lower lockers next to each other, and that today Sarah bumped her head on the open door of her upstairs neighbor.
I learned that Olivia has an upper locker. I learned that Hazel wanted an orange lock for her locker, but couldn’t find one at a store. So she bought a silver one and spray-painted it orange.
I learned that Lulu spent an agonizing 7 minutes trying to open her locker on Monday and was nearly late to class. Hazel of the Orange Lock saved the day by pointing out that Lulu was two doors down from her rightful No. 150, and was inadvertently attempting a B&E at a classmate’s locker.
I learned Lulu has pictures in her locker of singer-songwriter Taylor Swift and Russian ice hockey player Alexander Ovechkin. Tomorrow she will add pictures of Katniss and Peeta, from The Hunger Games.
I learned that Lulu’s locker has a list of Emergency Contacts. Based on the number of books, notebooks, decorations, and bags which she has enumerated, I believe the Emergency Contacts are well hidden from the view of any administrator or paramedic.
If this new school can harness one-tenth of the enthusiasm which Lulu is currently showing for lockers and divert it to, say, math, then I will breathe easier.
If the school can find a play which Shakespeare wrote about lockers, or any other type of personal-storage container, then I am pretty sure Lulu could memorize the entire work.
Before bed, Lulu said she wants to get to school early tomorrow, so that she can practice unlocking her lock.
As utterly entranced and energized as she is by her locker, I am headed the other direction. I’ve had two recent anxiety dreams in which I was back in school and couldn’t remember the combination of my lock.
I don’t know whether Taylor Swift and Alex Ovechkin are inside my dream locker because I can’t get into the damn thing. Nor do I know whether my dream locker has a free-standing shelf, or one of the fake chandeliers which Lulu currently covets. You can buy a fake chandelier for a locker. Lulu found the website which sells them.
This evening I thought the obsession was beginning to subside. I was excited to ask about Religion class. I never took a Religion class in junior high. I had a million questions.
Lulu interrupted with exciting news.
“We got our gym lockers today!”
That really took the wind out of my sails. Even as she built up a whole new head of steam describing the size, layout, and distribution of gym lockers – Megan will be sharing hers with Rajeshwari! – I started picturing my next anxiety dream. There’s a maze of corridors, every one of them lined on both sides by lockers. There are even lockers on the ceiling.
I don’t know what will happen in the dream, but I can tell you one thing with total certainty. I will not remember my combination.