Desperate times call for desperate measures. I wasn’t about to leave my apartment less coffee. Are you kidding me? I’m more prone to stepping out without putting pants on. And I knew it would not be the same as using a traveler mug. Still, I did it anyway. I did what any good caffeine addict would do. I grabbed the whole French press full of coffee and threw it in my school bag.

Sometimes I lose track of time and get out of the shower at 8:37AM when I’m supposed to be at school by 8:40AM. No matter. This morning I was still able to get dressed, ready, and to my office by 8:43AM—tastefully late. All I’d need to do was brush my teeth in the teacher’s washroom before class and I’d be good to go. Or, so I thought...

Soon after celebrating my acceptable tardiness, I noticed a puddle of coffee around my bag on the floor. The brown pool directed my attention to a trail of drips leading out the office door. Quickly, I found a roll of tissue paper and sopped up the mess around the room. My face felt flushed, and I began to nervously sweat. What a hot mess!

Students rushed by as I attempted to soak up each drip, on every stair leading up to the third floor, with squares of toilet paper. I must have looked ridiculous, but I would’ve hated for them to have to clean up after me. In Korean public schools, students tidy the hallways and classrooms during lunchtime. Surely they’d be on their hands and knees for this one.

The coffee trail led right in front of my slipper locker. It’s customary to change from street shoes to slippers upon entrance into the school building. So, I teach in slippers. It’s pretty great. But the puddle of coffee in front of my locker wasn’t great. I was the obvious culprit!

Of course my principal walked through the door at that moment, following my mess with his eyes. I bowed with respect, hiding the wads of toilet paper behind my back. I don’t think he noticed, but it doesn’t matter. I was embarrassed. It probably would’ve been better if I’d forgotten to put pants on.

I really should stop being so tastefully late. Or, maybe I’ll just invest in a traveler mug. Regardless, I need a new bag. Bottoms up!


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