Sleeping in Coffins


This is the comic strip I think of each Friday when I encounter Mia, one of my 4 year old students, in the bathroom right before class. In addition to sharing a 3:30 appointment, Mia and I also apparently share a bathroom schedule, which I think says more about my recent green tea overload than anything else.

Mia and her mother usually storm the bathroom by the time I am washing my hands. The first time our ambling bathroom schedules clashed, Mia cringed in mortification. The second time, she hid her face. By the third, fourth, and fifth time, she had gotten over herself and now delightedly squeaks, “Mada?????” upon catching sight of me hovering over the bathroom’s handy dandy space age electric hand dryer.

“That’s right.” I tell her. “Again!” And her mother and I both laugh awkwardly. It has become something of a challenge for young Mia, but increasingly less amusing for me because I know that one of these days, the timing will be off and they will arrive when I am mid-bathroom break, and I’ll have forgotten to press the flushing sound button on the robo toilet. Furthermore, the last time Mia found me in the bathroom, she was so excited that she swatted me on the bottom, as if to reprimand me for getting the timing right yet again. Or reward me; I’m not sure which. I can’t bear to think of what hearing those telltale toilet flushing sounds would do to undermine her and her classmates’ already dinted concept of Teacher as Divine Law.

Today I defiantly skipped my usual bathroom break. Being spanked by a 4 year old once is more than enough for a lifetime, particularly when you add it to being fondled in a grope-and-run and being ritually flashed en masse. When I saw Mia in class a few minutes later, she made no mention of having missed me in the bathroom and I certainly didn’t mention it to her. I was, however, the one cringing by 4:00 and, naturally, when I got home I raced not for the A/C but for the loo closet, which is graced by the presence of little powder blue plastic slippers; a gift from our landlord, stamped with the white silhouette of a naked little girl sitting on a potty, waving away a naked little boy offering toilet paper. The word “No!” hovers between the pair.

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