When Gillian from "A Daft Scots Lass" talked about what happened with her daughter at school (see the post about that), it triggered a memory in me.
This happened in my first year in a school where everyone was hearing. I went to a deaf school so a new school, filled with strangers who had little or no experience in dealing with a deaf person, was intimidating for me.
I had this teacher who would do double duty as a math teacher and a P.E. teacher. He and his wife, who also worked as a P.E. teacher, were extremely tough to deal with; even for a hearing student. How tough was he? I walked under a volleyball net to get to my assigned spot for the roll call and I was promptly punished with 5 laps around the gym for that infraction. Didn't matter to him that I was new to the school, let alone know I wasn't supposed to go under that.
While in his math class, I felt the need to go to the bathroom and I looked at the clock. Over half an hour left to go. Groans. I tried to hold it in until the class was over...when it was 20 minutes left to go, the wait was too much for me. I got up and walked over to his desk.
I remember seeing a student look at me wide-eyed as I walked by, as if he was questioning my action. I didn't think much of that. When I got to his desk, I waited for him to look at me. He looked at me in a manner that said, "What? You're bothering me!". I politely asked for permission to go to the bathroom.
He looked at the clock on the wall, back at me, at the watch on his wrist, back at me, and said, "Can you wait another twenty minutes? GOOD!" He looked down right away which told me that he didn't want to let me respond.
Suddenly, the room seemed hot and small. I knew everyone was looking at me. I turned around and locked my eyes on my desk, daring not to look at anyone. I sat down and locked my eyes on the teacher. I waited...and waited...I started to squirm more and more with the bladder threatening to burst.
Then, it happened. I could not hold it in anymore, no matter how hard I tried. I panicked a bit, worrying that the students could hear me peeing in my pants or smell that. Felt like I was going to pee for a long time. Finally, I stopped. I moved my butt up and down the chair to try to sop up the pee.
I sat there in silence, waiting for the bell to ring. When it finally rang, I pretended to have trouble getting my stuff together so I would be the last student to leave. The classroom was just 30 yards away from the principal's office, but it may as well be a mile because the students had filled the hallway and I knew that anyone could see that I had peed in my pants.
I breathed in deeply and lowered my head and walked out into the long walk to salvation. Simply told the secretary that I wet my pants. She called my mother. My mom came with pants and underwear. She tried to ask me what happened and I told her I didn't want to talk about it now.
After I finished the day and went home, I told my mother what happened and she blew her top. I learned years later that she threatened to sue the school...and that would have been for the 2nd time - the first time was when they put me in a different class and tried to play that off as "for academic reasons". About that 1st time, I'll save for another post.
The point was, I thought this was the norm for what had happened. I knew so little about the hearing culture. I didn't even know you weren't supposed to walk between two people conversing with each other without saying "excuse me". It was a major transition for me.