I remember this with startling clarity, on account of how absolutely mortified I was.
We were just about to break for Christmas vacation and it was the last day. To get into the festive spirit, our homeroom teacher had suggested that we partake in Secret Santa this year. Naturally, everyone agreed, because who doesn’t like receiving presents?
We’d picked out names from a top-hat on Monday, and come Friday (the last day), there was quite a large pile of sparkly, gift-wrapped presents in all shapes and sizes. I can tell you right now, I was muchos excited. We were already high on the festive mood and add to that the joy of getting presents from a random classmate! Awesomeness!
The teachers handed out the presents. We received them gleefully, and contemplated for a second and wondered who they were from.
Suddenly, amidst the frenzied tearing of wrapping paper, I heard this loud, totally unsophisticated guffaw behind me. I looked up in surprise. Who let animals inside the classroom? It sounded awfully like a donkey…
Nope. It was my friend E. She had just opened up her present, and burst into unladylike laughter at the sight of it. ‘What did she get?’ I wondered, as did half the class who had suddenly spotted E rolling on the classroom floor in great mirth.
She had gotten a box of condoms. And this was obviously from my other friend, V, because she was chortling away guiltily too.
After the laughter at such a ridiculously hilarious present had died down and the bell had rung signalling the start of our Christmas vacation, we went and sat down on a flight of stairs, tired out.
We were sitting there, talking away, as girls are prone to do, when suddenly, I spotted the box of condoms clutched in E’s grasp. I pried it away and stared at it. Since I’d never seen a condom box up close before, I was, naturally, filled with morbid curiosity.
I looked at the back. And what I saw made me open my eyes really wide and I let out the loudest chuckle ever.
From what I remember, certain words and phrases come into mind, including something like, “rose-patterned for extra pleasure” and “XL”, and “lubricated”.
So, obviously I decided to open it all up, and read the instructions. Out loud.
Can I just stress that this was a horribly bad idea, because I had forgotten that we were still in school?
I read in an obnoxiously loud voice, and very soon, I had all my friends giggling away at how I put emphasis on ‘certain’ words and phrases. I tried to keep a straight face, but very soon, I was reading the ‘instructions’ with a huge smile on my face.
Can I also interrupt this anecdote, to mention that I have very bad timing? Of course, I only remember this when I get caught doing something which looks very very wrong to the person who’s just caught me.
So anyway, here I was, merrily playing the fool and reading out condom instructions in an educational institution. Suddenly, I receive a hard nudge from A, who was sitting next to me. E, who was standing in front of me, kicked at my feet. They were apparently trying to draw attention to something, but at that point in time, I didn’t care. I wanted to continue reading out loud how to dispose of a condom properly. My other friend, An, also started coughing loudly. I wondered what was up, but still didn’t stop, because, well, I was having quite a laugh.
I paid no heed to them, which turned out to be a fatally grave mistake, as it seems. Because what had happened was, that someone was coming down the stairs, and my friends had been frantically trying to warn me. That someone turned out to be the school’s academic advisor and the Physics teacher, Mr. B.
I remember, I only noticed him once I sensed a black, ominous, man-sized shoe stepping on the step I was sitting on. I look at it, and suddenly, all is quiet. I continue to look at the shoe for a few seconds, trying to identify its owner, and delaying the inevitable.
The suspense is killing me. I know I shouldn’t, but I have to look up.
I look up, and gasp. Of all the people that could have caught me, it had to be the one with the power to expel me. Oh. My. God
In my panic, I dropped the condom box onto my lap, and the piece of paper I had been reading from fluttered down to my feet. Mr. B, looked at me strangely for a few seconds, with his head cocked to one side, and then gave me a knowing smile, like he knew exactly what I was doing. I gasp again, because how do I tell him that the only reason I was holding onto such an incriminating object was because of my foolish, morbid curiosity, and not because I planned to use it? As I buried my head into my hands, everyone in my vicinity burst into hard, cruel laughter. With my ears burning with humiliation and shock, I could sense Mr. B walking away from the crazy lunatics that were currently rolling on the floor laughing. And me, hunched into a foetal position, quietly praying and hoping that I wouldn’t be expelled.
I was obviously not expelled. Mr. B never even mentioned it to me. But from that day onwards, I knew never to mess with condom boxes.
Of course, that didn’t stop my “friends” from telling everyone what had happened. E, even told Mr. F, my ITGS teacher, who had quite a long, loud laugh at my expense.