I sit here at my computer writing this article in my office. Just passed where I live are two schools an Infant School and a Junior School. Every day at 8-30am prompt the cars, prams, pushchairs, parents and kids start coming, then again at 2-45pm to pick them up. In the spring and summer months I have the windows open to let in some fresh air and to stop the office from over-heating. I should say at this point, that these are the times all residents avoid either coming home or going out, mainly to do with the intolerant jams of traffic. The dirty looks are glares when you park in your own bay, clearly says, “How dare you!”
With all that said, the residents in the square are quite bemused most of the time with the antics that go on at these particular times. In the mornings, everyone tries to come earlier so as to grab one of the very few parking spaces there are in such a small square. Then when all the spaces are full they double park along side each other, causing havoc when the ones who parked first come back first, after dropping off the kids. Tempers rise, drivers shout at each other, there is a lot of manoeuvring, shunting and revving of engines and then peace once more reigns.
The parents and families that come are of all different guises. Some with red hair, petrol blue hair, lower class, middle class and those who couldn’t care a less class! Tall and thin, short and plump, mops of black fizzy hair, unkempt greasy hair, tied back ponytails, plaits and that’s just the father. In the afternoon the parents all walk pass my office windows, chatting and laughing with one and another in their small groups of two or three. Then the square for a few moments looks abandoned, everyone has gone. Atlas! Not for long, then comes the shouting and squealing of the children (quite pleasant really), let loose from a day of restraint. Running, dragging bags behind them or swinging them in the air, aiming at a brothers or friends back, head, whatever gets in the way! Mothers shouting, “Stop that! Come on, hurry!” kids laughing, sulking, “I didn’t do nothing”.
The daily race for the cars has begun, who will get there first before the driver of the car on the inside of the parking bay starts shouting and complaining. The children get told off for being so slow as to cause mummy or daddy to be back late and get shouted at. I wonder if those parents ever stop and think that maybe in a built up area, some-one may inadvertently over-hear what they are say to their little pride and joys. The over-hearing part certainly would not be difficult with some screaming at the top of their voices, while the little one refuses to move any faster (if they could) or to lift their head up and watch where they are going. I have to endure such torrents of abuse at some of these dear children from some of the parents (thank goodness a small minority), which I find it almost impossible not to get out of my chair and open the door. I have I must admit pretended to close the window noisily so they would look up and see me, that often works. The child however just mooches on oblivious to the emotionally charged inter-change that has just taken place between the window shutter and the parent.
Don’t get me wrong there are many good, tolerant and loving parents that also pass my window and they are a pleasure to watch and hear. They are the ones when the holidays come, are missed. The square becomes so quite that it almost a feeling of loneliness, the sounds echo round our now abandoned little square and you could almost see yourself wishing the holidays to end. Then, the holidays are over and the only emotion or comment we can make is a deep guttural moan