I have been reminded that I owe you a story, and now that I’ve totally fucked up the SEO for my site for the rest of time I may as well tell it. I have two Honors Algebra classes, one first thing in the morning and one in the afternoon. This is a high school class that they’re getting actual high school credits for. My morning class is quite possibly the most chill group of kids I have ever encountered. I’ve never seen anything like them. No drama. They come in, they do their work, they ask questions if they have them, and when they’re done they just sit and relax and chat. They’re one of those classes where if I needed to I could just leave and everybody would still be in their seats doing whatever they were doing when I left when I came back. I love them.
I’m at my desk doing something or another and the kids are working at their seats. The word panties floats into my ears, and I hear what sounds like vaguely horrified noises and some relatively uncharacteristic teenage giggling. I look up.
Now, I am perhaps twenty feet away, but it is still fairly clear that there is a pair of pink panties on the floor next to one of my boys.
“Please do not tell me there is underwear on the floor in my classroom right now,” I say.
“There’s underwear on the floor, Mr. Siler,” they say.
I stand up to go look closer. There is indeed a pair of lace pink panties on the fucking floor in my fucking middle school math classroom. There should not be panties on the floor. I take a moment to regret every decision that I have ever made in my life that led me to the point where I had to ask a room of thirteen- and fourteen-year-old children “Does anyone want to claim the mystery underwear before I throw it away?”
(Fun fact about me: I detest the word “panties” for no reason I have ever been able to enunciate, and I have already used it far too many times in this post. I do not say it out loud unless I absolutely have to, and that is not a condition that occurs often.)
I look around at my girls. Roughly half of the kids in the room, maybe a little bit more. I note two things: first, they are all wearing pants, and second, none of them appears to suddenly be having the worst day of her entire life. Most of them appear entertained; a couple look scandalized, but not in an oh my god those are mine sort of way.
No one wants to claim the underwear. Someone suggests that the boy it is sitting next to is responsible for them. This would not be enormously surprising, to be honest. I give him my firmest Teacher Look, and he fails to wither under my glare. I think there’s no earthly way he could keep a straight face right now and go to get a pencil, which I use to pick up the underwear.
At which point something equally horrible becomes clear: there is not just a pair of lacy pink women’s underwear on the floor in my classroom. There is a pair of lacy pink women’s underwear on the floor in my classroom and it has been worn. Several days in a row, from the look of it. Soiled would perhaps give the wrong impression, but … crusty? We can go with crusty. There are no obvious signs of blood on them; with girls this age the immediate suspicion would be some sort of menstrual disaster but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
I look around again. Each of my girls makes eye contact. There’s no way they would be willing to make eye contact with a male teacher holding their underwear by a pencil in the middle of math class. There’s just no way, right? That’s a literal nightmare.
I throw the underwear in the trash and forbid any of my students to ever speak of this again, a promise that all of them make and I’m absolutely certain that not one of them intends to keep. Two minutes later, my boss wanders by, because of course she does, and I tell her the story, mostly to gauge her reaction. She is horrified but thinks it’s hilarious, and having been a middle school principal for more than ten minutes, volunteers to take my trash bag out of my room so that the boys in the next class don’t go digging to find anything, no doubt to start throwing them around the room.
As of this moment, several days later, I still have no suspects.
It was a weird day.