Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Japanese Love Proctor Tendencies

I learned a new feeling of pain at the Test on Sunday and it wasn't located in my head. I mistakenly thought I didn't need to use the bathroom before the listening test and figured that even if I ended up having to go, it was only a 45-minute test. Kind of like holding it at the movie theatre right? Wrong. As soon as the stupid recorded Japanese woman's voice started droning on about not chewing gum or leaving the classroom, I felt like a faucet had been turned on inside me and rather than a gradual feeling of having to go, I had to go right. then. and. there. But this being the Test, one cannot leave the classroom until every last answer sheet and test booklet has been collected, counted, recounted and shuffled around a bit by the proctors at the front for good measure. Imagine a time that you have really had to pee but haven't been able to. Then multiple that by about a thousand and try holding it for OVER AN HOUR.

The listening test is my strongest one and I suppose that makes it a good time to have to go so bad you feel like you're drifting in and out on consciousness, but I spaced out on a couple questions because I couldn't focus due to the stomach cramps and innate fear that at 25 I was going to go and pee my pants. Not such a hot situation when I had planned for my listening test to tilt the scales in my favour. I don't know if anyone else noticed that I was constantly moving around in my seat, scratching a scab on my hand until it bled and finally, peeling off my pretty sparkling nails, just to keep me moving in a way that didn't trigger the flood gates so to speak. I am such an idiot for not going to the bathroom before the test I know, but hasn't this happened to anyone else? I kept glancing around the room to see if anyone else looked as distracted and distraught as I but everyone was calmly listening to a man and woman discuss a painting of an ogre. I was so afraid I was going to get distracted and stop squeezing my bladder closed for just a moment, that I seriously considered calling over a proctor and forfeiting the entire Test. Somehow I managed to hold it together and almost body checked a fellow Test-taker trying to get out of that classroom at the end.

The rest of the Test was fairly uneventful, obviously it would have gone better if I had actually studied before going, but I think the fact that I didn't blast my pants makes it a smashing success. This year the proctors' explanation of the yellow and red cards felt a bit like airplane safety instructions and I was half-expecting them to point out the exits to us using their index and middle fingers. And I forgot how ridiculous they all look. There is always the proctor who doesn't care about following the rules and then the one who is holding the rule book the whole time, making sure he is doing everything exactly according to plan. And then there is of course the fact that all the Tests at one level must be synchronized to the minute so you actually end up waiting about 10 minutes after the test instructions for the test to begin and then another 10 or 15 minutes once the test has finished, for the proctors to get their shit together and count every last piece of paper to make sure it is all accounted for before letting us leave the room for a break. Not the best 6000 yen I've ever spent but.

2 comments:

Nate Wendt said...

I felt bad for the women at our test site. I had to go also and knew that I had better go before the listening test started. The men's room had hardly anyone in it but the women's bathroom had a line of about 100 people, seriously. I don't think the break time was long enough for them to all go.

Jellybeanzkelley said...

It happened to me in the last test. I had drunk a coffee during lunch break and it hit me during the last section of the grammar exam. Gah.
And yes, I loved how they held up the yellow and red cards EVERY time they listed something against the rules. Chewing gum (yellow card is raised), speaking (red card is raised). The kid behind me was sleeping and snored through the whole thing. It was hilarious.