Wednesday, December 18, 2019

This is my locker story

Behind every lock...
London, ON
October 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I think we must all have a locker story buried deep in our respective memories. Probably many stories.

One stands out for me. It took place in a community centre. I was just a munchkin when it was built, and I practically grew up there.

The change room was deep underground, below the spanking new pool and gym, at the end of a couple of frighteningly long, steep, and slippery concrete staircases. The orange lockers were scratched and dented before the new-building smell had worn off.

It freaked me out to be alone down there among the adults, and I always picked a locker well away from anyone else's, then rushed myself to get out of there as quickly as possible. I guess I grew up in a different era.

Later I became a lifeguard, and graduated to the private change rooms upstairs. Public locker rooms weird me out to this day, and I studiously avoid them when I'm out and about. But this particular one, so central to my childhood, remains something of an anchor. Funny how that works, isn't it?

I recently came across the lockers you see here in the Costco near our home in London, and it triggered these powerful childhood memories. I stood in the crowded hallway and stared at them for a bit, wondering what was inside them. And who owned, albeit temporarily, each little cube of secured public space. I'm guessing employees.

Behind every locked door is a story, an experience, a future memory for whoever owns the lock. I hope whoever twirls the combinations on these appreciates how the seemingly simple act of stashing stuff away for a bit can plant powerful seeds for decades to come. I hope their memories are as charmed as mine.

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