So I wrote this post for a group blog thingy... I got a lot of good response to it along with multiple suggestions to expound upon the list of "do overs" I'd like to be granted. I think we all have those things we wish we could go back and do right, or at least different. My list, I thought, was nothing too remarkable. I don't really lament the huge mistakes in my life, they contribute to who we are and what we offer to the world and the people we love. I'll grant you it took me a long time to understand that, but now that I do, most things, the big character building events in life, I wouldn't change. Well, I wouldn't eliminate totally... It's the little things, the non-life altering things I'd most like to have an opportunity to rectify or repeat. So with all this in mind I'll be writing about my list. I hope the story is as interesting as the snippets were!
I'd really like to make this post funny, because really it's not. I'd like to say I gained some great wisdom, or character from what happened. I didn't. Well, I have an over developed sense of compassion for people who need to pee, as a nurse I suppose that's a good thing, but really that's about it. So here we go...
When I was 12 and in 6th grade, we moved to a new school. I was pegged as "smart" and given the AWESOME opportunity to take a crappy standardized multiple choice test to determine just how far above the bar I really was. Let me tell you, this backward little school hyped this test like it was your ticket to eternal life. Maybe if you spent your whole life there, it was. I have no clue. We were told future college placement and scholarships could be handed to us for high scores. We were told it was an honor and privilege to take this crappy piece of faulty analysis, in fact, it was all but our moral and civic duty as "smart kids" to take this test. Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration, but not by much.
I was the kid who was most often labeled as "teacher's pet". Hey, I was a good kid, what can I say? I was respectful, obedient, helpful. I was smart, I suppose, and I was always "mature for my age". Really, it all boiled down to I was nice and I did what I was told. I was not the kid who would disobey the teacher, cause a disruption, stand up against authority... in essence I was a smart little sheep.
I tell you all this only to prep you for the dilemma I faced when we finally took the dang assessment...
As 6th graders we never, I repeat NEVER, went to the 2nd floor of our school. I mean seriously that was the 8th grade hall. We had no business up there. I guess being smart, they thought they would treat us with taking our test on the restricted access 2nd level. Of course this means I don't know where anything is, including the bathroom. I decided I'd get to the test room, and ask to go to the bathroom then. You know, when someone could tell me where it was.
I get in the room, set down my stuff, a pencil and jacket I think, the tests were already laid out on the desks for us, we still had a minute or two before we started, and I asked the teacher who was proctoring the test if I could go to the bathroom before we started. Her response (please use your version of the haughty, condescending, teacher voice here...): "You don't have time to go to the bathroom now. We are about to start the test. How do I know you don't have materials to cheat in the bathroom?" Well, that's dumb, I thought. I've never even been on this floor of the building before and don't even know where the bathroom is so how am I going to hide something in there? And what would it be? But, I told myself, I don't want to be accused of cheating sooo... I sat back down. I couple of seconds later I got up and asked again. I told her I really needed to go. Her response: Well, you could go but you'll have to take a zero on the test, and there are no retakes.
A zero?? A ZERO?? No retakes?? My entire future apparently hinges on this test, so of course, I sit back down. The test starts. About 10 questions in, I realize I am not going to make it. I consider asking again. All I can think is "ZERO". Well, that and, "I'm not going to make it... how fast can I take this test??"
A few more questions in and I think, forget it, I'll take the zero... I go up to the desk and tell the teacher I really have to go and she tells me to SIT. BACK. DOWN. What???
I actually made it through the test, I was just about crying when I finished, and I knew if I moved I would wet myself right there in front of everyone. There was no way I could move, much less stand up, and get out of there dry. I waited until most of the other students left and yes, I peed my pants right there in the seat. I was crying and so embarrassed, there were still a couple of kids there. The teacher was so mad at me. She actually had the nerve to yell at me and tell me that if I had to go that bad I should have told her!
I went downstairs to my homeroom teacher, crying, and told her what happened. I had my jacket tied around my waist - humiliated. She was mad on my behalf. I don't really remember if she sent me to the office to call my mom or if she just called her for me while I waited in the bathroom but it wasn't long and my mother was there, dry clothes in her hands and murder in her eyes. I knew someone was going to "get it" I just hoped it wasn't me. (Side note, as a parent I now realize I was never in jeopardy of being punished by my mom, but at the time all I could think was "I'm 12 and I wet my pants. I'm in BIG trouble...")
I wasn't there when my mother "talked" to whoever she spoke with, but I heard about it. When she came back and found me again she told me "If you have to go to the bathroom, GO. You DO NOT have to sit there like that. You have my permission to get up and walk out of any test, any time, if this ever happens again." I believe I heard at some point, maybe in my mother telling the story to a friend or my homeroom teacher telling the story to someone else, I don't know, that my mother threatened to make that teacher sit there until she pissed all over herself to see how she liked it. That part may be my own imagination, a fault of skewed childhood perception and many years gone by, but it wouldn't surprise me one bit if she did say it. You don't mess with Momma Bear's babies. EVER.
So yes, even now, with 6th grade long, LONG past, I would still take a do over and walk out of that test without hesitation today. Or maybe I'd just pee on the teachers feet...