You Have 15 Minutes Left

My second day as an invigilator and my first stint as ‘The Patroller’. I wanted a cape and mask but was given a clipboard instead. My job was to patrol; to be there if any of the invigilators in 10 exam rooms needed me. They hang out a big red sign like a bat signal and I respond to their every need. Usually this means escorting students to the bathroom. The Escorter.

If no one else can take you to the bathroom, and if you can find me…

All the exams yesterday were nursing related and in addition to student nurses, there were auxillary and qualified nurses sitting exams as part of their CPD. The first woman I escorted told me she’d had three children so there was no way she could sit for three hours without needing the toilet. ‘My bladder is shot,’ said she. It was a woman to woman comment; obviously I am so old she assumed I had children and would empathise with grim tales of my own battered bladder. I am uncomfortable when strangers decide to share and I barely discuss my bladder with my doctor so I feigned polite interest and tried not to throw up in my mouth.

The next woman, about five minutes after the first, did exactly the same although she upped the ante with five children. I wondered if this was what happened at mother’s coffee mornings, swapping war stories of buggered bladders, hideous trophies that prove how fertile they once were. Five children? That’s just careless.

The third woman didn’t say anything for which I was grateful, but she did look exactly like Count Dracula from Sesame Street for which I was delighted.

I anserrhed wan question; two question…

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