Cold Water Wash

When it’s ten twenty-nine at night and I am finally sitting down to write today’s post, all signs point (with wailing sirens, tinkly bells and flashing pink lights) to a very full day. While I waited at Wal-Mart in the line of the slowest cashier in the history of discount stores, I drew a (rare) blank about what I should address here today at Blue Speckled Pup. Please be warned that I’m feeling extra super sarcastic today, which is usually what readers should expect when I’m rocking parentheses to the fullest extent of grammatical law.

Teaching has many perks, but there are tradeoffs that most people working normal other jobs might take for granted. For example, my work comes home with me (whether I want it to or not) pretty much every night and weekend. You should see Mt. Must-score on my kitchen table, which will take me all weekend to make a dent in at best. There are also no coffee breaks for teachers. Several days each week, there’s really no lunch break either. Also, there’s teenagers: lots and lots of teenagers, but they’re not so bad once you’ve adjusted to them (except for the ones wearing very cheap cologne).

It’s been years since I had a job with an actual coffee break (and coffee is one of the nastiest things on the planet) so I don’t really miss them. What I could really use, though, is a pee break. Since my hysterectomy, my bladder has become amazingly finicky: when I have to go, I have to go right now. 

Currently, there are five minute course change times between the three blocks of the morning and two blocks of the afternooon. If I navigate the very crowded hallways successfully, and don’t have to intervene in a discipline issue or stop to answer a question from a kid who missed yesterday’s class because of a field trip or bubonic plague, I can make the mad dash to the washroom, do what I need to do, and be back in my room in time for my next block. Technically, I’m supposed to be on hallway supervision during those five minutes, but I figure I supervise the walk each direction, and those 47 seconds in the washroom are mine. As long as I’m wearing flat shoes, and don’t pause for anything (walk and talk kids, walk and talk) I can make the round trip in time. There is zero room for error, however. This is an operation that requires precision, folks.

Today, with just enough Advil Cold and Sinus in my bloodstream to take my head to a dull throb instead of the random thrash of recent days, I hurried to the nearest staff restroom. I had been forced to wait through the earlier class change minutes because a unit exam ran over time, so I was in dire straits. I wonder if the kid who stopped me to ask a question noticed my frantic expression. There is a distinct possibility my eyeballs were floating, but we clarified my expectations for today’s essay, and I escaped with all bodily fluids contained. Because I’d been waiting so long, I had that very attractive March of the Penguins stride.

Success! You don’t need the details, but mission control achieved splashdown according to protocol. Knowing I had a less than ideal time frame to make my return dash to my classroom, I flushed, then flipped on the taps and started scrubbing my hands. This would be the time to share that my school was built when school buses were pulled by horses (a task now reserved for those Budweiser clydesdales) and the plumbing around the place can be rather unpredictable). Because I was rushed to return to my kids and my whiteboard, and my reaction time was significantly dulled by the sinus medication, I forgot to watch the toilet.

With a mighty sploooooorrrrsh, (yes, that was the actual sound) a geyser of water erupted from the toilet, reaching well over the seat. As quickly as it rose, the porcelain fountain emitted a great gurble and burped a substantial air bubble from the middle of the water plume. Excellent. The effect of this (not at all like the Bellagio) water show was a very cold, very unpleasant dousing of toilet water over my left foot. My sandals may never be the same.

I will say this though: toilet water is cold. A person might even describe it as bracing. I was certainly wide awake for the rest of the morning.

copyright 2011:

4 Comments Add yours

  1. AntNin says:

    Oh, I so get it! We have 3 minutes of passing time at my school – with middle schoolers to navigate through in the mad rush to the restroom. That’s just one of the things I wish people understood about teaching! I may direct them to this post the next time they whine about my “three months off in the summer.”

    1. I don’t think I could make it in three minutes! I hope for your sake you have longer legs than mine. Canadian schools are only off July and August, so we only get the griping from non teachers about our two month holiday, but I just look at it as all my unpaid overtime. I think the province still owes me a few days when I add it all up, though.

  2. I love the way you describe in this post. As a fellow teacher, I feel your pain. I have been fortunate enough for the last few years to be situated right across the hall from a staff bathroom. There may be some disadvantages to my location, but I’m willing to overlook all of them for this prime piece of property.

    1. How did you land that excellent location? I thought I was lucky that I am pretty much as close as possible to my parking stall, but I’d much rather be close to a bathroom stall!

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