grayscale photo of wooden restroom on dock
Photo by David McElwee on

I’ve been on my Spring Break this week. In teacher life, this is a week to catch up on the ever-snowballing list of things that need to be done at home, in my other work for Learning Without Scars, as well as a tiny bit of time for self-care. As the first year back in person after our stay-at-home zoom learning, things have been stressful for everyone: students, teachers, families. As a teacher, I’ve had to make sure to avoid any social media “news” sites, since we have gone from being hailed as heroes to being torn down as the anti-Christ in a very quick turnaround. It’s discouraging, to say the least.

Now that the week is nearly over, I thought I’d abandon poetry today and relay to you the exciting and hilarious story of what happened to me at school a few weeks ago.

To set the scene, I’m at a rural school in the California desert. In other words, full sun all the time!

Being a teacher, I don’t necessarily have a great deal of free time during the school day, so I utilize those between-class minutes like most of my colleagues do: I sprint to the restroom.

On this particular day, one of the staff restrooms was occupied, so I used the other one. They are single stall bathrooms – one is marked “women,” the other “men,” but there isn’t any difference in the bathrooms themselves. As teachers, we just use the first available since there really isn’t much time for waiting.

There WAS (no longer) one small problem with the restroom that day: the sun (hi, desert life!) had been beating on the door for hours. It was 1 in the afternoon, and I had just my sixth period class remaining that day. I had four total minutes before that class started, and I was doing alright on my timeline. I dread being late for anything, and that dread is magnified during the school day. Students should never be left outside waiting around on me, you know?

So, after washing my hands, I went to open the door.

But I couldn’t…

The door wouldn’t unlock all of the way.

I tried to wrestle with the bolt to manually force it to open – no luck! I tried what any skilled handyperson (hahaha) would do – I jiggled the handle, tried to pull the door in, tried to lift the door a little… I was totally trapped in the bathroom.

My family likes to laugh at me for being obsessive about pockets. I want regular, useful pockets in my pants, shorts, skirts, dresses. I use pockets!

My pocket demands were handy, since I had my phone in one pocket (keys in the other, ChapStick in another, etc.). I texted a colleague who has a 6th period prep, but then relented a put a text for assistance in the large group text for all of my middle school team:

“Hi, guys. Could someone please help me? I’m trapped in the men’s room.”

Within two minutes a fellow teacher wrestled the door from the outside while I wrestled from the inside and we managed to manhandle it open.

I was one minute late to class, and I was laughing so hard.

My students were giving me grief about being tardy (as they should) and I apologized and let them know I had been stuck in the bathroom. They thought I was kidding. When they realized I was serious, we all laughed together before we got into the work for the day.

It had been a tough day in a hectic week, and my request for rescue brought everyone the moment of comedy they didn’t know they needed.

You have to take the laughter where you find it.

I hope all of you are well, and enjoying some quiet and peaceful time.

Blessings to you all.

A Silly Story for a Saturday

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