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The Uniform Room Sophmore

It was sometime in Early August during Marching Band Practice Season...

For the past couple of days, I was not expecting marching band camp to be so taxing on my strength and sanity. I was already miserable from my awful experience in STEM summer camp and now that I am doing marching band practice as a freshman, it feels like I’m overwhelmed by so much. This morning, we were out doing laps in the heat and humidity and I wanted to faint. My body stank like sweat. Everyone was sweating. Well everyone except the pit. I should had done percussion in middle school but that’s probably too late at this point. I’m the only freshman Alto-Saxophonist in my group so it’s not like I can call it quits without the band director giving me trouble over it. All of the other Saxophonist in my section were upper classmen and though they never really bothered me as much as the other band dorks, they barely noticed I was even there sometimes. That was probably for the best as freshmen were always an easy target for picking. There were already plenty of cases of Freshmen being tripped, pushed, and pantsed during practice. I was lucky enough to be so dorky as to wear cargo shorts and a belt unlike everyone else who was dumb enough to wear basketball shorts. So when one of the upperclassmen tried to get me, they couldn’t do it and ended up hurting their fingers when they tried to pants me. Served them right. Suffice to say, I’m not happy with band camp so far. I kind of regret being here.

Somehow, I was able to survive up to this point where they are now letting us put on the marching band uniform. For many, this is kind of like right of passage. I saw is a point of no return. They had us all waiting in line outside of the uniform room. My feet are killing me. The band director had us outside all morning running and doing marching drills. It was so hot outside. I feel like I am going to die if I stand up any longer. Some band dweebs waiting in line were sitting down so I do the same for a while until the line moves forward and I have to get up again only to sit back down again over and over, so I end up standing up the entire time. Besides, it seems like they aren’t taking that long to get us fitted with our marching band uniforms as I see some of my fellow freshmen go in and come out all done within a couple of minutes. There were some freshmen trying to fool around and pants each other because they are freaking idiots. As if that’s going to impress the upperclassmen. Morons. I don’t even know their name but we are being called in by alphabetical order so I’m stuck next to these idiots.

I can’t help but worry about how dorky the uniforms might look, especially on me. I am not physically attractive by any means. I’m so short and thin, even more so now that I’m doing all of this exercise and marching in the hot sun. My skin looks pretty dark now just from being outside all the time. Normally I get these sort of tans from the beach when I was little but now I’m completely toasted. I can’t stand my own stench when I am sweating. I feel disgusted when I sweat and the smell from me along with everyone else doesn’t do me any favors. I want to go home already. Why do my parents insist on me doing this?

At last, it’s finally my turn to get my uniformed sized. I wait until the previous freshmen walks out with a bag containing his uniform to leave and I walk right in. The room is filled with nothing but uniforms, boxes with shoes, shakos, and some more boxes with white gloves wrapped in plastic wrapping. From what I know, these uniforms haven’t been changed in the past 10 years so they are quite old at this point. I guess the school orders new gloves from time to time but everything else was worn by many former band dorks from years past. As I walk in, a small, thin but fairly fit girl approaches me with a paper tablet and pen. She asks me for my name and date of birth as she goes down the list. She’s wearing athletic clothing like everyone else: a dark blue tank top with khaki shorts that go above her knees. She’s also sweating like everyone else since she’s one of the flute players in our marching band. She’s a grade older than me from the look of it since I doubt freshmen are even allowed to work as volunteers for the uniform crew. She has her brownish hair in a ponytail but it’s kind of done in a messy way. Still, she’s the only one in this room and I guess if there was another volunteer, they were out doing something else. I am a little nervous but I give her my name and date of birth. It just so happens my birthday was fairly recent and she even gives me a late happy birthday when she’s hears me state my birth date. “Thanks…” I mutter to her quietly.

”Could you come here for a second little one...don’t worry I don’t bite.” She tells me as she motions me to follow her to the back of the uniform room where she has a measuring tape. “Go ahead and stand up straight for me as I get your measurements please.” I do what she tells me without making a fuss about it even though I am kind of uncomfortable with the idea of knowing my measurements. She goes ahead and starts moving the tape measure around me, starting from my head, to my shoulders, to my waist. “Good boy. You can relax now.” She then writes down the measurements on her paper tablet. “You’re a bit on the small side...I’m sure I can find something that be a good fit for you.” She starts going through the uniforms on the far end of the hangers as those are the smallest sizes this room has. She takes a few out and then tell me to stand up still again for a second as she lifts up the different uniforms to see if they would even fit me without looking too loose. “No...too big….no...that one is too big too...Jesus’re so little.”She had no choice but to start looking through some boxes for some smaller sizes. I feel embarrassed about the whole situation. Everyone else seemed to gone through and got their uniforms within a few minutes but it seems like she’s taking her time measuring me and looking through uniforms. I wonder if I am really that troublesome to find a uniform size that’s small enough for me or is there something else to all this I am not aware of. But at last, she does get something from one of the boxes: the suspender pants, marching jacket, the arm bands that go over the jacket, and a pair of black shiny dress shoes. “Putting on these uniforms can be a little tricky sometimes so you can always ask somebody to help you out if you need to. Let me show you how it’s done. The suspender pants go on first.” *I slip my legs into the pants and lift the suspenders over my shirt. She takes the zipper from behind and zips it up. “Now you can put on the jacket like this…” She instructs me as I put the jacket on and she too, zips the zipper behind the jacket up for me. “The arm bands go onto your jacket’s sleeves, the golden accents pointed outward.” I put them on as she instructs me to. “And finally, you’ll put on your shako...right here.” She places the shako over my head and adjusts the neck-strap for me in addition to placing the feather plum on top of my shako. Lastly, she picks out my shoes and lets me put them on. They are these black dressy sort of shoes made of leather. They do look a little worn from the bottom but they are pretty old anyways. I am now wearing the uniform complete and the fit is just perfect. She spins me around as she checks around me to see how the uniform fits before letting me go and looking at me smiling. “Perfect. You look so handsome now.” Did she just call me handsome? Was she serious about that? I want to blush so badly but all I can do is look away in embarrassment. “You can take it off now. Do you need help with that?” I shake my head as I am able to reach behind my jacket and suspender pants zipper and take them off easily. “Just make sure you put it away neatly or you’re going to have a bad time with the uniform crew. Here. You want it to look like this over here.” She directs my attention to an open uniform bag to show me how the uniform is supposed to look when it’s in the bag. I put my uniform away in that exact manner. It’s not terribly difficult and now I have everything except my shako which is kept in this uniform room. “See...nothing to be afraid of. You’re all done now. Thank you!” She smiles at me as I am finally allowed to leave the uniform room.

As I walk out with my uniform bag, I can’t help but feel my heart rate had accelerated ever since I left that room. Was that girl just teasing me? I didn’t know what to think right now...but she was kind of cute for an upperclassman. Why did she take so long with me?

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