Wednesday, 10 October 2012

My daily walk of shame

From Monday to Friday each week, I accompany Guthlac on his five-minute walk to school, where he is currently in 'Foundation 2' (or 'Reception' as it was until recently. Or 'infants' as it was back in my day.) I then depart for work.

Guthlac and his classmates are not allowed to bring toys into school. However, they all interpret this rule to mean that they can bring toys to the playground and then hand them over to their accompanying parent or carer when summoned inside.

Thus it is that from Monday to Friday each week, I am compelled to walk though the streets of my neighbourhood, a solitary middle-aged man dressed more-or-less respectably for work, trying to look normal while carrying in his hand a bizarre toy of some description. As many of those who will see me are similarly encumbered parents I know I have some degree of understanding. But there are always non-parents about who will notice and start constructing narratives inside their own heads as to how this state of affairs has come to pass. I imagine, in my more paranoid moments, that many of these narratives feature phrases like "care in the community" or "predatory".

I now have, in my head, an elaborate hieararchy of toys categorised by public shame coefficient, running something like this:

Category one: Small transformers, toy cars, superhero figurines: Fine for cold weather as they can be concealed inside a coat pocket. In warm weather, can be largely hidden with sleight of hand.

Category two: Scooter or bicycle. Awkward to carry and impossible to conceal about one's person, but obviously the burden of a school run and therefore no cause for public shame.

Category three: Marvel comics. Hard to conceal other than during overcoat weather, and open to non-school run interpretations from passers-by including sad geek's reading material and child-molestor's conversation starter.

Category four: Light-sabres, game consoles etc. Too large to conceal, too embarrassing to carry openly, these are the stuff of overly self-conscious adult nightmares. Only this morning, a request to take one of these and the inevitable response led to a toddler-like temper tantrum, with screams, flailing fists and hot salty tears. But after a while I calmed down and took Guthlac to school anyway.


Pat said...

As someone said recently: 'Livin' the dream!,

savannah said...

hold on to the "walk of shame" feeling, sugar. in 20+ years, you can get back at him by buying massively insane baby toys and clothing for your grandchild!! i know it's what i'm doing now1 xoxox

No Good Boyo said...

Deep joy. My major source of school walk woe is noticing only on the return stretch that my clothes are covered in breakfast.