Mamacita says: I don’t know why I’ve been wallowing in nostalgia lately, but I might as well go the whole route and talk about the day I became an adult. This has nothing to do with the day I grew up, because I’m still waiting on that ship, but I can tell you quite specifically – and, unfortunately, quite graphically, about the day I became an adult. Well, sort of.
Fresh out of college, and still believing all the malarky that was in my textbooks, I entered the high school feeling like a grown-up. This lasted until all my old teachers started greeting me, and, oh my gosh, asking me to call them by their first names now that we were colleagues.
“Call me Helen.” “Call me Valera.” “You can call me Byron now.” “Please, call me Pat.”
I couldn’t. The level of fear respect was still so high that to call these people anything that didn’t include a title was beyond my comprehension. These nice people had been my teachers. When I saw them, I turned into that little shy student who was afraid to go to class without my homework completed finished. These people were the bosses of me. To have them suddenly become colleagues and want to eat lunch with me and ask my opinion about curriculum was mind-boggling.
I did get duty on THAT hall – the one that housed THAT staircase. You know, the staircase that led up to a stairwell and nothing else. The one that always smelled like pot. Not that I would know. But the thing was, my old teachers didn’t know, and they assumed I would. I am still not sure how I feel about that.
But I did it. I did everything I was told to do, and by golly, I did it well. But call these nice people by their first names? I was still getting used to them HAVING first names.
Also, whenever a student called ME by a title, I got the giggles. I hadn’t yet made the big crossover, you know, to the OTHER SIDE OF THE DESK. That took several years. I mean, the first time I chaperoned a dance, students asked me to dance and I DID. Mistake. But I digress.
Still on that first day of official adulthood, I was trying to navigate the huge new building my old high school was now using. Schedules be damned, the brand new building still wasn’t quite ready to be populated, but that never deters school corporations from opening right up anyway; after all, it’s just kids, not voters PEOPLE.
In other words, the stairs had no banisters and the restrooms were not labeled yet.
I could deal with the banisters, but the restrooms were important; when I have to really, really “go,” I look pregnant. By mid-afternoon, any stranger would have taken me for eight-and-a-half-months, so I decided to take my chances and run for the nearest one before someone called an ambulance and rushed me to obstetrics.
I peeked inside the unlabeled room and the coast was clear. I went into a stall and did my bidness. When I emerged, ten pounds lighter and with a flat stomach (which I really miss. . . .) I noticed for the first time that one wall was covered with urinals. Standing at two of the urinals were two of my former teachers. Two of my former male teachers.
I was in the wrong restroom.
“You might as WELL call us by our first names, now, Janie,” said one of them.
I ran away and sucked my thumb in the corner for a while, and then I emerged, all grown up and unafraid. Absolutely an adult, and unafraid of the world.
Here’s why, and I’ve never confessed this to a living soul until now.
Anyone with a penis that little was not to be feared.