Saturday, 20 June 2009

Curved Air

Since the end of winter term I have had to modify my feelings toward the staff toilet at school. The school is very large: one long narrow (slightly wiggly) building that can house 1750 students and the requisite staff. I'm told it is the longest building in Sussex, but I have absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever. I have worked there now for 7 years, and in that time have not been able to find more than 3 male staff toilets. Essentially they're arranged one at either end and one in the middle where the staffroom is. My classroom is located in the eastern end of the building, therefore the west-end toilet is out of the question. I tend to avoid the staff room toilet as a)I tend to avoid the staffroom: too many teachers, and b)It has one of those formica walled, gap-at-top-and-bottom cubicle type affairs that encourage avoidance due to the inability to discreetly emit noise and smell... Which leaves the toilet in the east. Incidently that makes grand total of 3 proper sit-down loo's for all the male staff on the school, which, frankly, is poo.

So, over the last 7 years the eastern toilet and I have forged a little bond. It is very close to my classroom and has been my saviour and sanctuary. It also proved close enough for me to reach (but sadly not use) when the worst of all things happened to me in school. I will never forget its wonderfully secure brick-built floor-to-ceiling walls on that fateful day, as they hid me and my shame...

But last term 'they' (Damn the 'man') knocked it down, and replaced it, because the schools disabled toilet provision was found wanting. This in itself took an unholy amount of time, but that's another story. It was replaced with a new male loo and the aforementioned disabled loo. Now, the old toilet and cubicle were truly grimy, and many were pleased to see it replaced with something new, but they never knew the sanctity of the claustrophic little shithole as I did. They never knew the safety of thick brick walls over plasterboard, they never felt the safety of a cubicle 2 doors, and one larger toilet-room away from the students, as I did. Yes, the new toilet is not a place of sanctury for me. I cannot sit in quiet (or, indeed, noisy) contemplation or security in the new loo. I have drawn two very basic plans to try to illustrate the difference. I am sure any UC sufferer will appreciate the distinction:

The old 'safe' toilet is above, the evil new one below...
So, now I am seperated from all and sundry by a mere door. And I don't like it. I have sat in there fearfully since January (not literally). And then, this week, just as I have been beginning to relax a little, a silly little incident occurs to ramp up the insecurity again...

I was nipping down to the photocopier with a couple of maps for a lesson on thursday afternoon. I passed the loo, so took the opportunity to pop in and poop. It is a ridiculously small cubicle/room, with little in the way of anything bar a sink, the loo and a hand drier. I opted to balance the maps (the arctic circle, and the entire world) on the hand drier, and sat to contemplate, as it were. Whilst sat, just out of reach of the drier, I noticed the maps slowly slipping forward. I glanced at the floor, mmmm quite damp, small puddles of water... dammit, maps may get ruined. Looked back at the drier, maps about to fall... nothing I can do... and then... Unbelievably the maps fell and, as they fell, curled under the drier passing through the infra-red (or whatever) ignition beam, thus turning the drier on. The blast of air sent them shooting to the floor and then skimming forward and... out under the door!

Now, no-one may have noticed for all I know, I didn't hang around upon exit to find out, but suffice to say for any kids congregating in that area at the time (believe me when I say that this is a popular congregation point) what they just witnessed was Mr rich entering the toilet and then a minute or two later, flicking maps out under the door... Wierdo. Would never have happenied in the old loo I tell you.

Incidently I have been on 10mgs of pred a day for two weeks now.

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