I don’t usually walk my son to school but I had an appointment with the school psychologist this morning. We were going to hash out my son’s relations with his new home-class teacher. Besides, I think we like talking to each other, so we have these occasional conversations.
The streets were surprisingly empty. I thought maybe they changed from winter-time to summer-time and no one bothered to tell me. But this is heavy winter. It’s raining, it’s cold. Then I thought that maybe that is the reason. Less kids go to school when it rains. Then I stopped thinking about it.
My son was in a hurry. He doesn’t like being late, so he galloped along before me and disappeared from view. Then, at the school gates, I remembered the real reason there were so few kids, parents, etc. The gunner was still on the loose. It clear escaped my memory. The one that killed two and wounded several two days ago, was lurking somewhere.
Later a friend called and tried to say this was difficult, that these were ‘difficult times’ but I just couldn’t continue with that sort of conversation. I love her dearly but one never talks this way in real time. You wait till later, till the crazy with the gun has been found. You definitely don’t talk about it with your son nearby.
The school psychologist was of the same mind. It never occurred to her to talk about the gunman. We enjoyed ourselves a little, each of us playing her usual role. She is the school official who can afford to have the widest perspective possible of what my son’s school life should look like. I play, as usual, the subversive who is trying to make her, the figure of authority, loosen up a little. Then there was a phone call.
I took the call despite it being impolite. I said something about my mother having problems with her eye but that wasn’t it. It was more to do with curiosity. There is a terrorist on the loose: bring on the bad news! But the call was from the room next door. The new home class teacher said my son was reluctant to stay in school. We brought the kid into the room with us.
He loves the attention. The psychologist focused on him and he loved it. It turned out half the kids never arrived and they put the remnants of two classes together, all this without explaining. He couldn’t figure out why he was supposed to be at school if the others weren’t. None of the kids he likes came.
There is this girl I hear of, who has semi-mythical powers. She is, if I got my facts correct, building a super-computer. On the sly. At home. My son communicates with her telepathically. According to his report she says she is using the loose terrorist as an excuse to stay at home and work on her masterpiece.
I never know if to believe what I hear about this girl, I don’t know if to believe the telepathy either, but we are careful to hide the incriminating evidence from the psychologist. While in front of this very amiable school official we refer to this girl and others by their regular names and keep out all the suspicious evidence. We are on a mission to seem absolutely normal, and we do!
Another mission is to make my son appear to have many friendships and friends. The new, notorious, home class teacher says he is alone most of the time, talking only to adult staff. It goes like this: she tells me he doesn’t have friends. Then he starts a campaign to appear very sociable and nice, approaching school staff at random, talking to them about this and that.
“Very charming kid,” the educational consultant said. “Definitely has a lot to say!” Then the new teacher is even more justified in thinking he doesn’t have friends.
Later on it appears the new teacher dislikes my son’s telepathic girl friend as well. She too, says the new teacher, doesn’t have any friends. This is complete nonsense. Last year I accompanied the class to a special activity they had outside the school, to do with learning how to be careful on the road. At lunch break this ultra-intelligent girl sat down with about 10 others girls, who were careful to follow her every cue. Not only is she not friendless, she is a leader.
But my son says she too is now on a mission to prove to the new teacher she has friends, taking selfies with all and sundry. He even heard, he says, the new teacher tell the headmistress this girl doesn’t belong at the school since she has no friends there. This is so infuriatingly stupid I am upset.
“Well, it’s better than her telling the headmistress it is I who doesn’t belong at school,” he consoles me.