Monday, 14 November 2011

Village Life - The School Run

So my village, my neurotic, idyllic, quaint, hostile little village, it shimmers with grace and beauty but in equal measure harbours fears, uncertainty and doubt. It's a perfect parodox of life today.. I love and loathe my village in equal measure from the pub to the park, people to the past, daily it tests my strength and rewards my persistence.. but some challanges are harder than others... 

Now the hub of all daily life for a young the school gates! Now this is an evil place if ever there was one, but one which I’m duty bound to frequent twice a day. But not just twice a day, in fact twice a day for 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year for 6 long, long, long years... but for me, seeing as I’ve fallen into the trap of taking my child to school rather than making her walk, it’s one I must continue to endure. It’s not the walking for her that worries me as that would take ten minutes... it’s the day long worry a mum has to face wondering if their little lad or lady actually got there!!

‘So having made my bed, I suppose I have to lie in it... so again it’s time to face the dreaded school run, a time of day that tests the very mettle of my soul and the strength of your character... deciding to chance my arm and look for a car parking space amongst the 4x4’s, sporty numbers and new estate cars, (well you never know your luck in a raffle), I hunt for a space like a hound chasing an elusive hare, then you spot one in the corner and race towards it only to realise that it's not a real space but in fact one where some dozy driver has left their car straddled over two spaces, leaving neither big enough for you.  Finally space secured, you pull up next to shiny cabriolet, clearly a trophy car for a trophy wife, all flash and no substance, a life as fake as her boobs, I get out of my car feeling nervous and very conspicuous.  Those same thoughts run through my head day after day. Am I looking my best? Is my hair, makeup and clothes ‘good enough’?  Oh my god ... what if I see ‘that Mum’ you know the one, the one who always arrives at school looking perfect, is slimmer than me, more expensively dressed and who flounces carefree from her car, little Annabel perfectly ‘at heel’ towards the dreaded school gates... this sight will simply ruin my day and destroy all the self confidence I had!

The thing that puzzles me is, why do the other Mum’s all seem to know each other? How come, how is it they know exactly who is doing what, who’s going where on holiday, whose kids are invited to the latest birthday party? They seem to know all the facts regarding school trips, parents evening and the Xmas fayre first…even before the letters home to parents have even left the school office? Now maybe, the answer is there’s a crack team of MI6 agents that I’m not aware of, could it be that there are ‘spooks’ at the school gates and in the classrooms, could it be that the ‘reading helpers’ are in fact super spies intent on unlocking the secrets of the school yard!! Or could it just be that it all comes from the nosey, busy body helper, who happens to go in and help out with ‘art’ and ‘reading’ for your special ones.. In their world devoid of interest... a role as focal point of the gates or guardian of the gossip, is of prime concern to them and one they take very, very seriously. Now me, I simply have no desire to know half of this gossip or to have the ‘heads up‘ on the rest! Yet, in a contradiction, I also can’t help feeling totally out of the loop precisely because I don’t know! 

Typical of most villages, many of these Mum’s actually went to the same school as the children and so stand about chatting to each other in their own little cliques, reminiscing of times gone by, of that day when someone stole their milk, or the parts they once played in those same school plays being re-hashed even now, of that teacher who’s still there and how they liked to use the 'ruler'. This is a time where much chatting, false smiling and competitive fake interest in others offspring take place, a time where old school yard allegiances are strengthened and ‘outsiders’ feel exactly that, a time to try to establish a hierarchy and for many to ensure that they 'fit in'.  

So in a sad parody of school life, you will always find the parent who is standing to one side, looking for a friendly face to latch onto and praying someone will want to speak to them, for just long enough until their child arrives to save the embarrassment of waiting alone. You could be forgiven for thinking you were in the actual playground itself. 

Roll on high school .... !!!

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