Home-time: a two minute walk from the front door to Alex' school.
It's blowy, not quite a gale. The hedge reminds me that it needs cutting back. 'I know, I know', my eyes tell it. Wisps of litter - toffee crisp, regal, lotto - pirouette down the road. This heralds the main act: The Considerate Drivers - the ones who ignore the parking notices. Whirring past, there's good reason in those darkened windows. I ponder the kinds of mindset, lifestyle and plain idiot that will again overlook instructions to not block children's sight-lines. Having passed the turning for the canal, I'm well-placed in today's 3:15 chase. Fat dawdling women lumber up ahead, we call them 'The Coats'. They'll bunch up at the first gate, for single-file procession down the ramp. Better for me to take an outside line - hit the main gate, approach the waiting area from the far side - avoids the crush - social, psychological. The tall thin woman with the pushchair, she takes the same course. I wonder whether the tiredness in her general air - that same tiredness that she's been carrying for at least four years now - is just about the kids. I once asked her about her previous life: 'Scientist'. You could have knocked me down with a chocolate-bar wrapper. Waiting, the Chinese man - older than he looks - is in his usual spot. I like him. He once tried to convince me that everyone should try EuroDisney, 'at least once, just for experience'. I meant to nod - polite, like; but all I could do was crunch my neck in a bit - tortoise-like. Within earshot of the school, the excited clatter of putting-away-time slaps me awake. It's the sound of brace brace for Act I Scene I of the next 12 days. The scientist proffers a smile. I raise a half-smile. I imagine an anthropological study of school drop-off/pick-up times, I see a mainstream film of lives that cross but don't cross - people you know but who you don't know, it all feels so transient. A bell cuts through my reverie.
I just received an e-note to say that my American friend, Gene - OldHorsetailSnake, has died. I never met him. This, I regret. A lady called Vicki writes, '...politics, the environment, his running fashion commentary and his love of dung beetles were regular themes'. A natural born educator exits blogstage right.