It may or may not have come to your attention that my Late Pass Counter has not risen past 004 for a couple of months now. Some might think that finally the NDM has learnt to respect School Policy and is putting in 110% effort to be punctual, which is mathematically impossible, but whatever.
Others might harbour sneaking suspicions that the NDM is not reformed at all, but rather too embarrassed to return to the school office and thus the scene of her public meltdown (see “Sorry, It’s School Policy“).
Whatever the reason, just yesterday I found myself screaming “RUN! RUN! RUN!!!!” at my kids as we all sprinted, with me still in my ugg boots and with my hair distinctly uncombed, from the car to the school gates.
Now, one could argue that if wasn’t for the Late Pass Policy, we would have been walking in a calm, genial fashion, all holding hands, perhaps even singing a little ditty about going to school. Any casual passerby might have exclaimed “What a lovely school!” instead of “Eeeshhhh, that parent is clearly unwashed and unhinged!” before concluding “I’m not sending my child there and/or I’m not approving their grant for funding and/or I’m calling ‘Today Tonight’ to report a sighting of a bona fide ‘Suburban Menace’.”
Those same people may or may not have had similar negative feelings about seeing me and my children parked outside the school 30 minutes before the morning bell, eating our breakfast and listening to Razorlight at full volume. It was raining, okay? And I didn’t want to miss out on a parking spot again, alright?
Still, whatever way you look at it, we have had an unprecedented run of punctuality and I have the support of the community to partially thank for it.
One dad, who we shall call “Mister A”, often meets me on his way back from the school run, while I’m still on my way. One morning, he kindly offered me a”Late Tip” that went something like “Wear headphones so you don’t stop to engage in conversation with Every Single Parent you see on your journey” which of course ignored the fact I had stopped to talk to him. He then signed off with a cheery “Same time, same place tomorrow, for another Late Tip!” and disappeared off into the distance, riding his six year old’s scooter.
The following day, I saw his wife on her return journey, and she told me that Mister A was thinking of standing on their street corner and issuing late passes of his own – to me, only me. “Well, he promised me a daily Late Tip service and he’s late!” was my retort. In truth, I had been interested to hear the next tip in the series, especially since some early experimentation wearing headphones while pushing the pram had almost resulted in me garrotting myself.
Interestingly enough, in the school newsletter yesterday, Brett (the principal) expressed “safety concerns” because of the large number of parents double parking to let their children alight in the middle of the road. Ironically, Brett says that for those parents “being late for work is not an acceptable excuse” for such behaviour.
But what about “avoiding a late pass”, Brett? Let’s face facts: I have run screaming at my kids like a crazy bitch in public, eaten my cereal in the Tarago parked outside the school like some kind of breakfast-eating stalker, and dabbled with self-strangulation by ipod. All to avoid a late pass.
At what price punctuality, Brett? At. What. Price.