Welcome to the Slant, where you'll find reviews and original writings by the members of Martin Library's Teen Advisory Board.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Destination: Unknown

By TJ R.

Loading… loading… loading… loading process complete. Systems now online. Conducting task assessment: You are: TJ Matrix Location: Dallastown Area High School Items: packed school lunch in plastic grocery bag, an Ultimate Spiderman comic book, a black Nintendo DS, keys to house, chap stick, gum, wallet, headphones for the DS, and thoughts Objectives (must be completed in this order): 1.) go to cafeteria 2.) grab napkins 3.) find empty table to sit at 4.) read book while eating lunch 5.) when finished eating, throw away trash and exit cafeteria 6.) find comfortable place to sit and play DS until it is time to return to class. Allies or acquaintances: None Potential adversaries and enemies: everyone
Begin task: That’s what my mind feels like during the lunch period at school, a friggin computer listing instructions for me like a military operation. I begin my mission by walking down the draining school hallway. From either end, the hallways look like you’ll never reach the opposite side like in that of sci-fi horror movies. The beige and white colors of the hallway walls try to make me fall asleep as I continue my walk to the cafeteria. My stride pushes me into the lobby. Even though the lobby is the same color as the hallway, it’s not as depressing. However the vastness of it makes a person like me feel even more lonely than I already am. It’s just a large empty place that tears off any armor of independence that you have. The only way to defend yourself or be immune to it’s leeching effect is to walk with a friend and they will act as a shield. Defenseless, I fight my way through the leech lobby and enter the battlefield. I’m immediately surrounded by more white but it appears to be less powerful. It turns out that luminescent heat beams are putting the white in its’ place. Before I continued the mission, I gave the beams my appreciation by admiring their lovely show of force. I snapped myself out of a daze and instantly my enemy radar turned on. As always, the enemies were all around me in little clusters, but they weren’t in endangering mode. There are various sounds encircling me: Conversations on the fighting grounds that acted like background music; and the scrape of chairs across the floor. There was even a slight hum sound that aroused from all the noise. Using my radar as a map, I bobbed and weaved my way through the clusters and made it to the neutral supply and rations stations. I nabbed some thin white napkins and searched for a table where I could set up a temporary base. I spot a table in a corner of the battlefield; it is deep within a section that is controlled by jocks. On my way to the table, I pass through Stoner Lane; this is one of the aisles in between the tables, where typically 2-8 of the tables are occupied by druggies, jokesters, or bad girls, but not all the time. Stoner Lane leads into Jock Corner. Stoner Lane soldiers are less dangerous than the soldiers of Jock Corner. So when I come into Jock Corner, my radar alerts me to the increased danger risk of stepping in this territory. After another round of chair dodging, I reach the table and plop into the seat that gives me the greatest view of the entire battlefield. I set up the base by placing my food and comic book on the table. I quickly assess my food and choose to eat the hand cooked chips first. I rip open the crinkly bag of chips. Using experience from familiar process, two of my fingers lunge after a chip. The chip is rough and bumpy. The salt crystals feel like big pieces of sand. Like a crane, my fingers move the sandy chip in front of my mouth. The crane opens and I win the prize. The chip is a little salty and bursts with scrumptious bland flavor. As I twist and chew the chip in my mouth, it softens and it continues to soften until it is no more. I pop open my comic book and I am captivated by the intense emotion and action of the Ultimate Spiderman comic book. I continue reading as I robotically eat the chips using the radar and not my vision. Once I finish the rest of the lunch, I grab my bottle of orange juice. I am forced to liberate my eyes from the comic book for the first time in 15 minutes. I twist off the cap of the bottle; pull my head back so it’s facing the ceiling; and chug the orange juice. As the orange river flows into my mouth, I keep my eyes focused on the ceiling so I don’t have to look at the enemies. After air is the only thing left in the bottle: I wipe my mouth free of any crumbs; I gather up my remaining items and trash; rise from my seat at the base and start heading towards the battlefield exit. Since Jock Corner’s chairs are usually cluttered, I once again mindlessly evade the little death traps; but making sure that I keep my eyes on the current goal and never on an enemy. When I reach the trash can vibrating winds from a fan, in tray drop-off center, surround me. I quickly dump my trash and exit the battlefield, afraid that the winds might blow me off my feet. After exiting the cafeteria, the loud conversation sound lower in volume and I am once again hit with the depressing loneliness of the hallway. Social deprivation overcomes me like a cold gust of wind. This time, I protect myself with a shield of my own. I unfold the shield and pop in its sound deflectors as well. I put the shield in max protection mode by turning it on. Its two screens light up and grab me from this dreadful reality. As my feet carry me down the hallway, the screens take me to a place where I am loved as a hero and a friend. I stay in the false reality; because, honestly where else can I go?

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