Monday, August 18, 2014

a chicken flight

Back to school night again. That day when you get to meet your child's new teachers for the first time.  Sounds simple, doesn't it?  It was simple - till high school. Once you are in high school, things get complicated. First,  you cannot get away with sitting in just one classroom. Classes take place in different rooms.  Oh, it's an efficient system, all right. The bell rings at the start of every class. The parents go to the classroom and meet the teacher till another bell after 10 minutes or so. Then they go to the next class. and so on. But the classrooms are scattered all over the building. So we get a taste of what our children have to go through everyday. With a five minute break they have to get to their locker, get their stuff, and reach their classes on time through crowded corridors.

Second, most parents have no idea where the classrooms are, and there is so little time between bells. Sure, we are given maps and schedules. At the beginning of  the freshman year, everything is new to the parent. Armed with that map, and holding onto that schedule for dear life, I rushed through the hallways looking for the rooms. Some rooms seemed to be deliberately hiding from me, in never to be found corners. One classroom would be at  one end of the school, and the next one, at the other. I walked fast, ran, dodged other  rushing parents, stopped, came back, made detours, asked for directions to the students assigned to guide us hapless adults, and on the whole, got some exercise. In the end, after that mad dash, I would reach the intended classroom hot and sweaty and already worried about finding the next room.

When I came home and told my son of this, and asked him for clear directions for the next year's back-to-school night, he laughed, and politely refused. And informed me  that they all made fun of the parents' helplessness and ignorance. They enjoyed our confusion, and had this pact that they will provide no help in this matter - he gave me another laugh. So that was that. And I went through the same agony and ecstasy the next year too.

By the third year, I was prepared. I went 15 minutes early.  I was reluctant , naturally chicken, to do this before -- did not know if parents were allowed to roam around the halls ahead of time. But by then I was desperate (well, sort of - I have a tendency to exaggerate, if you haven't noticed it ) and was determined to do this right. So I ran around and found the whereabouts of all the classrooms. When the first bell rang I was pretty excited . Yep I am that eternal student who likes to be the (invisible) teacher's pet! Not that anyone is going to applaud me here for finding the classroom and turning up on time. hmpf! In other words, I was more interested in congratulating myself on my accomplishment rather than paying attention to what the real teacher was saying. Well, mostly. All in all it went well, but for one little part where I went and sat in one extra class, (which was not for that semester). hehe.

But this year, I was perfect! Again I went early, especially since I knew that construction had been going on during summer, and there were even more corridors, and even whole new floors to get lost in. And this time around, it was a breeze. I flew around as sure as a breeze too. No more the headless chicken! A young lady did help me when I asked her at one point. All this was done way before the bell, and I was ready. I found all the rooms, got inside each on time and did not go in to any unnecessary rooms. But I did laugh at myself when I caught myself always finding a seat near the door, as if ready to flee, the moment the bell rang. And I laughed at my glee when I got to the next one with time to spare. It seemed like a race that I had set against myself, and which I won. I patted myself on the back - not literally. I think there were points in time when listening to the teacher, I almost asked him or her  if I could leave early! So that I could run to the next one. kidding!

Anyway, it is over and done with. By this fourth year, I am an expert at navigating the labyrinthine routes of my son's high school. As I walked out of the building, it struck me that this is the last time I'll do this. This is my son's final year at high school. End of the road here. This has been a sort of learning for me as well. While in the before-high school period, I was a mess of nervous tension regarding the kind of teacher my baby was going to get, I find that now I am not as worried about that. I have learned that there is no point in worrying about something on which I have not much control. And by now my son has grown, and I trust him as an intelligent, well-adjusted human being. Well, he is still a teenager, so fingers crossed! While I won't miss the panic, I realize I will miss the back to school nights. By the time I learned to do it properly, it was time to leave for good. Unbeknownst ( ya, right!) to me, time was passing by, and I will have to do it no more.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

on a lighter note

The local homeowners association annual  meeting announcement -- a couple of days later. thought-provoking.