This administrative heart of our school district features water-free urinals, part of their many million dollar renovation done in an year when finances were so tight that staff positions stood vacant and students left unserved.
While I pee into the egg-like receptacle, I can hear the sound of water flowing continuously.
Some administrator, perhaps the Superintendent himself, has left the faucet running, full blast.
Is that a metaphor for our schools?
Buying high tech, water free urinals, but leaving the old-fashioned analog faucet turned on, letting it dump, letting it waste?
It's just something that happened to me while I was stuck here taking the yearly required class on how to beat up people with Down Syndrome.
Forty educators whirl about the room in waltzes of awkward punches and kicks.
There is so much giggling, you would think that they pump nitrous through the vents, or that everyone just got done finding a surprise book of coupons taped beneath their seats.
The class is Nonviolent Crisis Gurby Jargon Phrff or something, and it is supposed to teach you how to deal with, and in worst cases, physically manage, a student who is acting out.
Years ago, when I first took the class, I thought we were going to learn cool moves.
Instead we got to do this:
In the more enlightened year of 2012, you can no longer do the front punch block.
Students might injure their fists when they punch your block.
To break a choke, you do double dream hands and gracefully spin away.
"One spin only," the instructor gravely warns, "we've had people hurt themselves in this class because they've spun twice."
Later they tell us to never pick up a student who flops to the floor.
"We had a student sit down on us during a fire drill and we picked him up. Was that a mistake?" someone earnestly asks.
"Yes", says the instructor.
Someone else blurts out, obviously concerned, "What if it's a real fire??!?"
Gee, I guess you let the little guy burn.
I guess you live your life letting rules override common sense. You must be a special education teacher.
The class goes on for hours, and you feel yourself rising out of your body and soaring up, hovering over the room.
From this vantage point, you see how often people are nodding their heads while the instructors speak.
So much damn nodding of heads; in consent, in support, in agreement.
A room full of pear-shaped bobbleheads reassuring each other that yes, yes, that is the proper way to run from a kicking child.
Even as a free-floating full torso apparition, the training session is awfully boring, and you decide to move along.
You long to shoot up from the surface of the world like a rocket, like a mouse wheel quickly zooming out on Google Earth if you have a good internet connection.
Our internet is really terrible, though.
When you zoom out on Google Earth, it dissolves into a hundred white squares that say "Loading".
Eventually one blue square of the Pacific pops up.
You squee and clap your hands like a child because you're seeing the ocean for the first time.
My out of body experience cannot pay attention long enough to see the Google Earth tangent to its profound conclusion.
Instead it rockets back to the ground to matters more personal, more intimate.
It propels itself directly into the floating mush of my wife's womb.
A quiet, rythmic beat fills my ear, disrupted only by the occasional burble of indigestion.
My child was very perceptive for being unborn.
Its just...its just...
I'm an introverted, selfish person, OK?
My brain is my cave, the place I crawl to when I am done having to talk to the world around me.
And when I got married, I made the decision to give up some of that brain and share it with someone else.
That was hard, it still is hard.
But then one baby comes, and they are not content with a compromise between me-time, and us-time, and your idea of us-time kind of sucks-time.
Those fat pasty balls of spit and meconium take lots and lots of brain.
They take it and they never give it back.
The next baby arrives, insisting he get the same amount of brain you gave to the first kid.
You start to feel impossibly thin; there is no interior space in your brain left for only you. The outside world stands abruptly up against the inside one you have cultivated and kept to yourself for so long, with only the thinnest of membranes between.
I can feel my physical body tugging at me to come home.
I'm plucked from the womb and planted right back into my meeting, just in time.......
....for my favorite yearly joke.