If you were a pre-teen girl living in the US in the 90’s, chances are you read Seventeen Magazine. (Okay, that’s not what one would call a “cold, hard fact,” but let’s go with it.) If you were one of those girls, you probably remember the TraumaRama section that inhabited the first several pages of every issue, featuring readers’ most mortifying anecdotes, which made you think: “Thank God that’s not me!” Or, conversely, as was my usual response: “Um, that’s supposed to be traumatic? Try walking a mile in my chuck taylors.”
But despite all the traumaramatic moments I experienced in my (pre)-adolescent life, what happened to me today is probably the worst.
Let’s back up for a moment, though: I haven’t shared this yet, but last Monday, I got a job. Yay!, right? I’m completely jazzed about it—it’s at a wonderful school (albeit over an hour from our house), and I’m pretty much loving everything about it—from the staff to the mission to the curriculum and flexibility. Awesomeness all around.
This week we’ve got lots of PD (professional development) stuff going on, and today was the first day of new-teacher orientation. Though I’ve been experiencing a lot of anxiety about this school year and how little time I have to get everything sorted for myself (I am ALL about organization and preparedness—like, overly so), I was actually feeling good about the whole day.
(You know it’s coming….)
After we had all of our morning meetings, the time came to go and meet some of our incoming 9th graders and their families at a lunch gathering. So, we filed out of the classroom we had been working in and all took a bathroom break right outside the main office. I was last in line, because I was being a chatty-Cathy, and vowed to rushy-rush so that I wouldn’t keep anyone waiting.
I suppose that was the mistake I made. Because, in my hurry, I apparently didn’t caress the finicky lock to its heart’s content, and as a result, it only half-latched.
I sat down on the toilet, and about 30 seconds later, I heard a voice outside the door and the turning of a knob. I don’t know if I went mute in that moment—either that, or he couldn’t hear me yelling, “no, No, NO! I’m in here!!!!” as I squirmed into a ball to preserve my modesty—but my principal, yes, my principal, was standing at the open door.
Everything moved in slow motion and there was a distinct and harrowing delay between the opening of the door and the moment he realized I was in the bathroom—he was having a conversation with someone in the hall—and perhaps if I had thought more quickly, or, as P. put it a few days ago, if I “actually had reflexes,” I could I have made a jump for it and pulled the door back shut, but I didn’t, and my principal saw me sitting on the toilet on the first official day of my career as a high school English teacher.
I really don’t think it gets much worse than that.
All I could say afterwards was, “I think I want to die,” over and over again. And I did. In fact, I was fairly catatonic for quite some time there. Luckily, however, I didn’t see my principal for the rest of the day, and hopefully by tomorrow we’ll all have been mortified into silence. For now, however, I share with the world the dangers of an improperly locked door, and the calamity that is, and has ever been, my life.