The ‘D’ in D-hall stands for ‘delightful’

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Joleigh Underwood

More stories from Joleigh Underwood

The GPA Game
May 30, 2019

Overachiever finds peace in an unexpected place

Identification badges are the bane of my existence. Anyone who knows me knows that I am forgetful and would lose my head if it wasn’t attached to my neck. From wallets to phones to Uggs to lunch kits, I’ve lost it all, and now badges are at the top of that list.

During the first week of school alone I forgot my badge three times, but by the mercy of the ID gods that was a warning week. Inevitably, I lost my badge three more times by the third week of school- an offense punishable by a $3 fine and a straight A’s, class president, type-A overachiever’s worst nightmare- lunch D-hall. Immediately, visions of rowdy kids yelling and throwing food across the room and a cranky teacher (whose alternate career could have easily been a prison warden) came to mind. I would rather spend a week crossing the Sahara desert with no food or water than face the shame and torture that is lunch detention.

The day of the sentence, I spent the period before lunch staring at the clock, watching each second of my freedom tick by. I tried with all my heart to pay attention to the slideshow in Computer Science, but the fear of what was coming hung over me like a thick storm-cloud bursting at the seams with rain. Thirty minutes passed, and I started to plot my epic escape.

Turn on the waterworks and tell the nurse I have a terrible migraine? No, my acting skills aren’t that good.

Hide in a bathroom stall and hope no one finds me? Better not, that would be a VERY awkward conversation with a custodian.

Five minutes left in class. I accepted that I wouldn’t be getting out of this, and prayed that D-hall wouldn’t be TOO bad.

The bell rang, my fate sealed. I dragged my feet down the hallway, taking my time. This was the one thing I didn’t mind being late to.

Once I got to the room, I was surprised to see a familiar face. Instead of the prison warden D-hall teacher I’d been having nightmares about, it was my seventh grade math substitute, Mr. Dana. He said hello with a warm smile and even remembered my NAME, which startled me since he only taught our nightmare class for a few weeks and it was four years ago. It’s always slightly disappointing when someone from my awkward phase recognizes me now, because it means I haven’t changed quite as much as I like to think I have.

I scrawled my signature onto the sign-in sheet and realized I was the only person in there when I went to find a seat and they were all empty. I stared blankly in disbelief. No rowdy kids, no malicious teacher, no food flying across the air, no yelling of any kind. In fact, the only sound was the soft and steady ticking of the clock above the whiteboard. I hadn’t experienced this kind of silence in WEEKS! My heart skipped not one, not two, but what felt like TWELVE beats. While I love talking to people and being around others, nothing relieves my stress more than quiet, which is a rare and valuable treasure nowhere to be found during the normal school day.

I took a deep sigh of relief and opened my backpack. I was almost giddy pulling out my Algebra homework and was beyond thankful for the 30 minutes of homework time D-hall graciously gifted me. This year I’m in World History AP, Chemistry, Physics, and the aforementioned constant thorn in my side: Computer Science. My class load is very involved to say the least, and homework is a three-hour, headache-inducing, uphill-battle every night. Going to bed by 1 a.m. is good for me. This half hour of homework time was more precious to me than my tan Kate Spade crossbody with gold detailing, and that’s SAYING something.

I finished my factoring worksheet and moved onto a Physics lab. The silence and solitude sharpened my focus and my productivity doubled. I worked on problems that would usually take hours to process, yet there I was, flying through them in what I thought would be the worst 30 minutes of my life.

Unfortunately, my time in D-hall came to an end, and the bell rang. I glanced around the room and tried to savor my last moment of peace. On my way out I informed Mr. Dana that I was only in there because of ID badges, nothing too extreme. He laughed and said he figured so, and I said goodbye until another four years.

Since that fateful Tuesday, I haven’t been back to Lunch D-hall, but if my badge loses itself again like we all know it will, I’ll accept my D-hall pass with a smile.