Saturday, June 18, 2011

Overly Sensitive

Now that I think about it, my 7th grade Home Economics teacher was a bit like Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She was one of those adults who was a bit too perfect....and impossible to unnerve.

She taught me and the other 7th grade girls in my class at Edward Town Junior High how to measure flour (don’t pack it) and brown sugar (pack it). We also learned how to use the water displacement method to measure shortening.  By the end of the semester made our own biscuits, which were nearly edible.

Mrs. Foster also taught us about physical hygiene.

Let me describe Mrs. Foster. She had brown curly hair, excellent posture, and red lipstick. And she had the nose of a bloodhound.

It was early in the semester, when she dropped the bomb.
"I know when you have your periods."

I looked at my friend Nancy and shrugged my shoulders. What the heck? Does she have a hidden camera in the bathroom?

"I can smell it on you."

I sat up straighter in my seat (demonstrating my excellent lady-like posture).

Then she slowly walked around the room, stopping in front of each of us, inhaling deeply and seemingly savoring our hygienes (or lack thereof). It was amazing to watch as she was attempting to distinguish between the numerous adolescent scents: sweat, dirty hair, too much perfume, bad breath and MENSTRUATION).

Please forgive me as I take a short detour into nerd world.  What Mrs. Foster was able to do with her nose was the equivalent of a multivariate discriminate analysis confounded by a high degree of multicollinearity between the adolescent scents!

And her R-squared was nearly 100!

Mrs. Foster didn't actually announce if someone had her period. She was subtle.  Her perfectly lipsticked mouth would turn up ever so slightly and she would give an imperceptible nod. The poor menstruating girl would look to the floor in shame.

By the time she got to me I was so scared, I didn't even know if I had my period.

I was waiting for her to tell me.

Mrs. Foster stood above me, closed her eyes and inhaled. She paused for a minute, looked at me with furrowed eyebrows and took another deep breath.

My heart was racing.  

Finally, she shook her head and moved on.

I think she may have been thrown off by my Wine Rack.

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