I Peed My Pants in 8th Grade
I peed my pants in 8th grade.
I can still see her wavy black hair and the glasses that shielded her malevolent eyes. I can still feel the warm unstoppable hydrant that I couldn’t cap. I can still hear the sound of my corduroys rubbing the skin off of my inner thighs on the walk home.
Millikan Junior High seemed like an unsolvable maze to me. It mirrored a generic housing development with rows of similarity. There were not bathrooms at the end of every row of classrooms. They were every fourth or fifth row and not well marked to the untrained, Brooklynite in L.A. eye.
In the beginning of the year I would often search way too long to get somewhere and end up right where I started. I used to have nightmares about it. Being late for class. Not being able to find the right classroom.
8th grade was awkward enough, I was never going to ask a random stranger where the bathroom was.
I entered Science class with Ms. Kallman that day with the best intentions. “Best intentions” meant that I wasn’t going to ask any questions, pay attention or do anything, in any way, to draw attention to myself. Little did I know I would soon make that impossible.
It was a very hot day in the San Fernando Valley and Science class was dragging like a toddler behind a parent who didn’t get all eight things he wanted in the checkout line at Target. We were about halfway through class when I realized that I had to pee.
I thought I could make it until the end of class, but it crept up on me with fifteen minutes left. I finally raised my hand to ask to go to the bathroom, which was tantamount to pulling down my pants on stage in front of the whole school because I was so shy. And didn’t want to draw attention to myself. Especially about having to pee. Asking any question in class that overtly involves your genitals doing something was worse than another Halloween sequel to me. Ms. Kallman said no.
This is a moment in my life that I have recounted to my children many times. — the balance between listening to your teacher and taking care of yourself. No teacher should ever restrict a child from going to the bathroom. It’s cruel. I didn’t have a history of 20 minute bathroom breaks or a documented resume of in-school pranks. I was a new kid who had to take a piss.
I was unsure exactly which row of classrooms I was on, so finding the bathroom was going to be an issue either way. Even if I got out, could I even find the bathroom? Anxiety set in and the pain in my loins became unbearable. I tried to focus on the clock, anything else besides the impending dam break of urine that was building every second.
Right outside the classroom was a small tree. I fixated on this tree. Should I go right outside and pee on the tree? At least I know where it is. One of the best things to do at a new school would be to expose yourself to the whole class and urinate in full view of them. But I considered it. Because I knew the other option.
Tick, tick, tick. The clock was moving slower than William “Refrigerator” Perry running the 40 with a piano on his back. I never asked to go to the bathroom a second time, as I was already embarrassed about the first rejection.
I writhed back and forth in my blue chair with the three air pockets in the back, for comfort, and hoped that I would make it. The pain was reaching a point I had never felt before. It was unthinkable that I would pee in my pants, in class, in 8th grade.
With about a minute left in class, the dam broke and my body and chair filled with warmth and disgust. Ms. Kallman was still talking while my chances of making friends poured out of me along with the urine.
This was no regular pee, it was a raging river’s worth. It was relentless and I was no match for its fury. I sat there, thinking of any possible scenario where no one would know I peed in my pants in 8th grade Science class.
The bell rang which provided a modicum of relief. But how would I even get up? I wasn’t a little damp. I was sopping in my blue corduroys. I waited until everyone left class and then got up gingerly. Ms. Kallman was gone. She probably realized that she was the reason I would write an angry blog post about her 35 years later.
I turned back to notice that there was a small pool of pee still in my seat. I kept walking without taking note if any had reached the ground. Since it felt like I peed for eight minutes, this was a likely scenario. Great news though — there was still over half the day left.
The Day Goes On
A lucky break for the day was the fact that I still did not know how to dress in the Valley. Complementing my sweet cords was a hooded sweatshirt. I can’t remember the actual temperature that day, but I can say that it was too hot for my outfit.
My inability to dress yielded me the possibility to hide the horror that played out in Science class. I removed my cloak and tied it around my waist. I donned it forward for a time and even backwards for a time. Yes, backwards, meaning I tied the sweatshirt around my waist covering my front. Stylin’.
The bigger problem was that after the school day, I still had to walk home in the hot sun, thirty minutes, with pee cords.
So I started out on my trek, hoping for once that my stepfather did not swing by to pick me up while I was walking home. The sound my legs made as they rubbed against each other was unpleasant to say the least. It was akin to nails on a chalkboard, but if those nails were your thighs dry humping each other with reckless abandon. The sun beat down on me while I struggled to carry my backpack home with the added weight I gave myself during the day.
I made it home and put my clothes in the laundry. No one ever said a word, either at home or at school. I don’t remember the sight or smell being that noticeable, but how could it not have been?
I went the second half of an 8th grade day with pants drowned in urine. I went to the rest of my classes with a sweatshirt covering my crotch. I have no idea if anyone ever knew what happened, but at least I left a puddle of a memory for Ms. Kallman.