I vaguely recall, a long long time ago, vowing never to blog about school pick up. Evidently… I lied.
The really good thing about school holidays is not having to engage in the daily ritual that is school pick up time.
School pick up is the equivalent to social torture.
I’ve spent hours examining this inside my own head, attempting to figure out what my problem is. I’m still not exactly sure why I hate it so much… but I do. It’s a veritable dip in my daily routine. I spend hours waiting for three o’clock.
It’s not something I consciously worry about. Just a nagging, hot anxiety that brushes against my mind at irregular intervals throughout the day, with an annoying frequency. A combination of ‘Do not forget to pick up your son!’ (which, again, I’m worried about for no good reason I can come up with- it’s not like I’ve ever forgotten him before) mixed with ‘Oh God. I have to go and pick up my son’.
The two or three minutes between arriving at the school and the bell ringing are a compressing, heavy knot of boredom and conspicuousness, mixed with a frustrated disgust at my own inability to care. Mums and occasional token dads stand around, mostly singular but sometimes in isolating groups of twos or threes.
I’m bad at small talk, at chit chat. And I have no desire to engage here. I’m sure these people are all lovely and probably quite interesting, if I just got to know them. But I have absolutely no compulsion to do that.
I know it’s no big deal. School pick up should be on the very outer edge of consciousness and, except for the fact that I can’t quite figure it out, it is.
But I also know I’m not the only mum who equates school pick up with the eighth level of Hell.
It’s the openness of it, perhaps, the feeling of parenting on an visible platter, lashed with large helpings of lingering parental guilt. That persistent thought you probably should engage here, but can’t be bothered, don’t have the tenacity or ability to bullsh*t required.
I’m envious of the mums who revel in the extended opportunities for chatter and casual friendship that kid-centric social activities bring. I think, maybe, I used to be one of them.
For now it’s undefinable, unmitigated torture. And I have no clear idea of exactly why.