Well as a male, it can be quite enlightening on the odd day that I go to the school to see the different protagonists as they take centre stage on the theatre of the school yard. And perhaps in reading you can see who you recognise from your school yard or perhaps you can see if it is you being identified!
More often than not there is a click...a gathering. Like a flock of hens they assemble, like amoeba duplicating and forming as the posse gets larger as the school bell looms near. Now usually in this little group there is the ringleader. The one woman who the rest all flock too. Standing proud eyeing everyone who comes in. The leader of the pack to whom all the rest make their way towards almost rhythmic or zombie like. So used to this daily trawl that their legs automatically head towards her whether their minds want to or not. The Ringleader walks at speed into the yard. Blows a puff of air and throws a strand of hair back. And if she is late she heads straight for the centre and is immediately in charge of the conversation despite what may have been said before her. She will usually let the others know exactly what she said to the butcher in Tesco after he left her two pork chops short when the offer was on since Saturday. The Ringleader soon has the backing of the other mothers who quietly push prams back and forth to shush their babies. A finger will go up to mouths to warn the baby not to be screaming, “Catherine is talking!”
Of course the one to miss out on all of this will be the latecomer. You know the bedraggled looking mother who is always dashing into the yard. Probably has another one or two siblings on her arm but this rare bird usually works alone. She fluctuates between a run and a skip and brushes hair with one hand while fixing a tie with another. All the time with a look of concern on her face. So much to remember in the background apart from all of this and then there is ‘the dinner to get on too.’ The latecomer is late at dropping off time in the morning as well, however. So this class of species is consistent in some form.
Of course the latecomer is much different to the fitness fanatic. You know the one. Blonde species. She comes in, in her tracksuit, tight leggings and expensive trainers with the cerise stripe on the bottom to match the cord on her tracksuit. She can’t stay too long after dropping the kids. Has to run eighty seven miles before getting back to the house for muesli. The fitness fanatic only has one or two friends. A) because she never hangs around long enough to talk to anyone and b) the other women secretly hate her.
Oh they can hate her. But not as much as they hate the other woman. The woman who comes in as if time stands still for her. The glamour woman. The woman who waltzes in alone. Immaculately dressed and made up with perfect hair and makeup even at 8.30 in the morning. The bitch.
The pack and the ringleader go silent as she walks past smiling. They return a watery smile but as soon as she walks past the ringleader eyes her up and down with a look of disgust as if she has dragged in dirt to the school yard. The glamour woman doesn’t care though. She just walks on by smiling, confident in herself and probably in the knowledge that she knows any man there is looking at her.
And if that isn’t enough to annoy the ringleader then she has to contend with the loudmouth. The loudmouth is the one that is constantly heard either telling about the last holiday she has been on or is laughing so loud that she can be heard at the other side of the school. This species refers to everyone as ‘Hon’ or ‘love.’ The loudmouth is every one’s friend but no-one’s at the same time. This particular breed is both friendly and deadly and can have a certain amount of two facedness and can surprise you about some knowledge of some other woman’s husband.
And all of this will go on day after day, week after week until the Summer break and everyone goes off and will not meet again until September.
But when September comes there is a refreshment! An eagerness to start again! The pack will all be rushing in, vying for best position before the ringleader arrives. She will arrive sighing and all other stories from everyone will be banished and rings of
“Hi Catherine!” will ring out from over zealous mothers trying to be the top dog in the click this term and then the Ringleader tells of the drama that unfolded “when Paddy tried to get the mobile home through customs.”
The fitness fanatic jogs in and waves, drops her child and jogs back out. The marathon is coming up and she needs to be ready.
The latecomer...well she isn’t here yet.
The loudmouth is laughing away as she tells her friends about how she didn’t sit out at all in France, it was too hot, yet they all know she positioned herself like a contortionist on a wire to get the colour on her bingo wings.
Unlike the glamour girl who comes in aimlessly, still wearing her Summer dress. Her tan fell naturally and effortlessly on her skin. The ringleader gives a smile and when The glamour girl walks by she dismisses her presence with another tale from her catalogue of Tesco dramas.
Oh here comes the latecomer now....wiping a nose and egging the other child to run before the teacher is gone in!
See you all Monday!