What Really Grinds My Gears: The RFH Stairs

by Alyson Raywood

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It doesn’t get much worse than the main stairwells of RFH.  From the two longest ones on each side of the school to the third in the middle, all can immediately dictate the course of your day.

Just the sight makes the heart palpitations begin...

The bell rings after one of lengthy forty-two minute periods comes to an end and students fill the halls and pour into the stairs.  They rush…well, some rush, to get to their next class. It’s a time to walk with your friends, write random answers on a homework sheet you forgot to do the night before, eat snacks, text without teachers taking your phone; and during a bad day, rushing through the commotion and getting to your next class as soon as possible. The ability to maneuver yourself in these stairs takes quick adaptation, impeccable reflexes, and ridiculous concentration, as the echos of everyone trying to talk over each other is at its peak.  Your ability to develop these skills is vital; otherwise, you’re in for a long day/week/year/high school career.

The happenings within the stairs vary, but here are the most typical:

I’ll start with the individuals who push everyone else just to get out first, despite the fact that we’re all trying to get to a common destination. Usually the upperclassmen dominate this issue, but what else is a new-to-the-school freshman to do when a senior yells ‘excuse me,’ or more-likely ‘MOVE?’   Unfortunately, nothing. So, the best way to handle that issue is to dive out of the way and not take it personally.

Next, there’s the oh-so-typical clumsy herd. These are the people (who travel in packs) with their books and papers falling out of their hands.  Why?  Because they don’t use a backpack.  Unfortunately, with this cluster of supplies and lack of coordination, they spend most of their stair-climbing career tripping up every step. It’s something to point and laugh at, but also something to take into consideration when walking behind or in front of one.  So a word to the wise: watch out.

Alongside the clumsy herd are the big backpack owners who take up an insane amount of space.  Their massive backpacks resemble black holes that swallow entire textbooks and forgotten (or lost) lunches from two weeks ago. This is probably the most annoying of all stair-climbing concerns because the backpack hits everything in its way, making it that much harder to walk behind a person while resisting the urge e to knock the backpack off of their back.

Following are the lethargic walkers who seem too tired to move more quickly. The consequences are simple: it backs up all stair traffic, and makes everyone mad. Whether it’s because they’re too distracted by the gossip discussed behind them or they just feel like holding everyone up, these slow walkers are a major source of stairwell problems.

And let’s not forget the innocent crowd of people standing outside, hoping that one of the hundreds of people passing by will open the door for them. Handing this is tricky.  On one hand, opening the door is the nice thing to do.  After all, we all hope that someone would do the same for us.  However, opening the door for a group of people also means letting that many more individuals into the already-teeming stairwell. So, I get those who act like they don’t see the people waiting, pass right by the door, and make it down the stairs; they just don’t feel like waiting or making the effort. King of mean, but understandable.

So, the next time you need to take one of the three infamous stairs at RFH, consider these likely experiences, and prepare yourself to ‘move’ on demand, to see books and papers flying all over the place, to be tackled by obnoxious backpacks, blocked by lethargic walkers, and lost amongst clumsy herd.

In fact, don’t just prepare yourself; avoid being one of them!

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Images from: Facebook group: “I hate the stairs at RFH!”

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