I’m all for putting some fun into daily life, making stuff into a game, like Mary Poppins and her spoonful of sugary crap. Though doesn’t she know her spoonful of sugar is rewarding kids with food, contributing to childhood obesity rates, giving them diabetes and rotting their teeth?! Seriously woman, read the newspapers!
Anyway, I digress. I turn stuff into a bit of a game sometimes, if you’ve never played fridge Tetris with your Christmas food shop, you don’t know what you’re missing! One game I’m not so keen on is school run dodgems. If you’ve done some of these then you’ve played it too
1. Get the kids into the car, belts on, ready for the scariest dodgem ride in fairground history. Meanwhile ticking off a mental checklist, “have I got book bags, PE bags, water bottles, lunch boxes?”, you start to wonder if it’d be easier to pack the whole house.
2. Off you go, driving to school, with a hundred other cars doing the same. You eye up the competition for parking spaces on the way. Muttering swear words under your breath when you spot several 4×4’s that’ll take up two spaces each.
3. Getting near the school now and you start bumping into people going the other way to get to work. Almost literally, as they speed round a blind bend in the middle of the road. You win extra points if you negotiate the bend and idiot driver without teaching your youngest child colourful language at the same time.
4. You’re near the school now and you keep edging along the road, wondering just how close to the school gates you can park. Beware! Many have fallen at the point of no return in school run dodgems. There’s no turning back if you get too far down the road and all the spaces are taken. The people behind will have either nabbed the spaces you passed or be irate if you three point turn. You’ll have to keep driving and do another loop.
5. Fantastic. You’ve found a space close to the school but another parent coming the other way has spotted it too. Who spotted it first? Only a staring competition will decide who wins the prized piece of empty Tarmac.
6. They’ve backed down and driven off in a huff. As they pass, your heart skips a beat as you think you recognise the driver as the mum of the boy with a broken leg.
7. You pull out past the space to reverse in and hope no one behind you pushes in. You reverse back and notice the tired, grumpy faces of the drivers behind, all eyes on you, wishing you’d hurry up and judging your parking. You felt less nervous than this on your driving test.
8. Finally, you’re in. The cars parked on the wonk but it’ll do. Time to get out of the car and unstrap the kids whilst someone, whose fallen foul of the point of no return, zooms past to do another loop and nearly takes your door with them.
9. Now on foot the dodgems doesn’t stop. You wish you were still inside a metal box as you, laden with aforementioned book bags and lunch boxes, dodge an array of buggies and a kid on a micro scooter nearly flattens you.
10. You vow to leave earlier tomorrow to avoid all the rush but, deep down, you know that there’s more chance of a cold day in hell than getting your kids out the door earlier.
Don’t you just hate school run dodgems?