Walking Home from School
I had a bad-luck schedule when I was a freshman in high school. My afternoon classes were all bunched up in one hall, and that hall was at the far end of the school from my locker — too far to go between classes — so I had to carry all those books with me till end of day.
Which wasn’t that bad. It was a big pile of textbooks, but I could manage.
The problem, though, was that the hall with my classes was near where the school buses pulled up, and my locker was, again, at the far end of the school — as far away from the buses as it could be.
I couldn’t skip going to my locker before catching my bus, since I might have books from morning classes that I needed to take home but that I couldn’t carry all afternoon.
So, at the end of the day, I’d go, with all those books, from near the buses, to far away from the buses (where my locker was), to back to where the buses were.
But not always in time. In fact, often not in time, and I’d watch bus 62B pull away.
* * *
This was a small town high school in the very northeast corner of Maryland, far away from Baltimore and D.C. The distance from school to my home was — I just checked — 7.4 miles.
I had no option but to walk. There was nobody with a car available to come get me, and if there were, they wouldn’t have done it. So instead of getting home around 3:30, I got home around 5:15.
* * *
Though I wasn’t eager to, I did ask the vice principal — who happened to live in my development — about moving my locker so I wouldn’t have to walk home. He told me there was nothing that could be done, and that I should just bring, to my afternoon classes, whatever I need to take home.
Which would have been okay advice, but my load really was excessive, and this wasn’t going to work.
* * *
Pretty soon I got smart: instead of walking home at the end of the day, I’d start walking home right after lunch, and I’d get home even before the other neighborhood kids got home.
The walk was long — it must have been around two-and-a-half hours — but I didn’t mind. I was all alone and happy, at least in a way, walking on those empty roads.
Eventually I got in more trouble for cutting classes, but what did that mean to me? I had been in nearly constant trouble at school since kindergarten.
* * *
I envy the people who had a nice time at school. For me it was a struggle against stupid, unfeeling power the entire time. I truly hated it. When I wasn’t in trouble, when I was actually sitting in class, I was just watching the minute hand on the clock, begging it to speed up, minute by minute.
By my senior year I was the person in the school who skipped entire days the most. I stayed up late and slept way in lots of mornings.
Eventually I got suspended for smoking a cigarette without having filled out the paperwork.
* * *
Well. This is just to say that I preferred being at home, where I was reading and writing and writing computer programs. Like now. 🐥