Because of a few incidents at my son’s school over the years, my eleven-year-old daughter made me promise not to do anything that would embarrass her. This was last Saturday and we were on our way to the pre-HLC (Hornswood Ladies College), so us parents could get debriefed and shown around, while the girls sat exams to decide their classes for next year.
So my daughter goes off with the rest of the kids and I desperately needed a coffee. We had half an hour before the Head Mistress kicked things off, so with my wife and a mate of mine who we’ll call “Sam” (because like the Cowardly Lion, he has chosen not to be identified), we left the big group of new parents and headed to the cafeteria.
On the way back we peered in to the new, amazing, pool-centre, that we hadn’t seen from the inside before. Being a Saturday, Pool Closed (and no food or drink) signs were numerous and all the doors were locked. Except one, which was fully open.
Sam and I snuck in for a look, my wife (who has never broken a rule in her life) refused and went back to all the other parents.
After checking the place out, I had made my way to the doorways at the other end of the pool. Of course they were locked. I was going to have to walk all the way back to the door through which we had entered. Or…
Sam noticed me standing in front of the one door marked –
Sam – “DON’T DO IT.”
He had to raise his voice for me to hear, because he was still over feeling the pool temperature.
Me – “YOU KNOW MOST THE TIME SAM THEY’RE NOT ACTUALLY ALARMED. THEY JUST WRITE THAT SO PEOPLE DON’T GO THROUGH THEM.”
I opened the door.
WAAAARP, WAAAARP, WAAAARP, WAAAARP…
The loudest, sharpest, most earsplitting siren you’ve ever heard. I freaked out.
Me – “SAM!!! HELP!!!”
WAAAARP, WAAAARP, WAAAARP…
I can see Sam yelling and gesticulating wildly. I couldn’t make out what he’s saying.
WAAAARP, WAAAARP, WAAAARP…
Me – “SAM!!! THE KIDS!!! THEIR EXAMS!!!”.
Sam is yelling and running over to me. I was confident he’d have a solution.
WAAAARP, WAAAARP, WAAAARP…
Sam – “SHUT THE F*CKING DOOR”.
I let the door go. The alarm immediately stopped.
Now, it’s not like we’re kids anymore. We did what we had to do. We legged-it!
Sam is a svelte, fleet-of-foot, 78kg, marathon runner. He takes off smoothly and gracefully with the speed of a startled gazelle. His coffee barely even moved in its cup and in just a few short moments, he’s back at the door waiting for me.
I on the other hand am not designed for sprinting. I am a 112.3kg, beer-drinking, blogging, man of girth.
I legged-it into a slow jog, but my coffee started to splash around everywhere, so I fast-walked it the rest of the way.
Half an hour later, I was sitting next to Sam in the big hall, with our wives and about 250 parents. The Head Mistress was in the middle of a wonderful, welcoming and informative speech about what we as new parents could expect next year. She was, as were all the staff I met to be honest, as impressive as the school.
Sam (whispering) – “I still can’t believe you opened that door Cool Hand.” Most of my mates call me by this self-ascribed poker call-sign.
Me (also whispering) – “Mate hindsight is 20/20! Of course it’s obvious now, but I was in the hot seat and had to make the call one way or the other.”
Sam shook his head.
Me – “But its ok. All the other parents saw us running out after the alarm yes, but… they… don’t… know… our… names. We are anonymous! Phantoms! The ghosts who walk. They’ll forget our faces by the time our kids school starts.”
I had my phone on silent, my wife had reminded me a number of times. I suddenly remembered I had to check out Scotland’s price in the Rugby League Four Nations, so I picked my phone up and whispered in it.
Here’s an interesting fact. On an iPhone, even though it’s on silent, Siri still answers… AT FULL VOLUME.
The Head Mistress had paused her speech for a second to draw breath. The entire hall was dead silent. You could hear a pin drop. But you didn’t hear a pin drop, you heard my Siri –
I’M SORRY JASON, I DIDN’T QUITE GET THAT. DID YOU SAY OPEN T.A.B APP?
Every head within Siri-shot spun around to look at me. To look at JASON, who’s opening his T.A.B APP during the Head Mistress’ speech. I slowly lowered my phone from my mouth guiltily.
Why didn’t I just open the App manually?
Sam and his wife Di, burst out laughing. As did the hundred or so people sitting around me. They laughed loud. They laughed long. Now they knew my name!
I heard my wife say, oh my God.
After all the induction was done, my wife and I were chatting to one of the teachers. She was telling us about the school, how they empower all the girls to make decisions themselves and of course how important rules are. I was nodding.
Teacher – “Yep, rules around here are pretty important.”
Was she on to us? If she knew, then I’d have to cop to it and say I was embarrassed that I must have missed the pool closed and door alarmed signs… and that Sam was there too! But I didn’t want to confess, if we’d gotten away with it.
Teacher (looking directly at me) – “Yep… rules! Anyway, I’d best go meet a few other parents. Have a good day… Nice pool isn’t it?”
It’s good to see a teacher with a sense of humour.
My daughter was not happy. My wife told her at the earliest opportunity, that within the first hour, her father had been pegged as a sign-ignoring, siren-fleeing, exam-interrupting, Head-Mistress-unheeding, punting, responsibility-denier.
My daughter – “You can’t go back to the school again dad, for six years!”
Here’s the link to one of my previous blogs, which illustrates how my son was equally mortified when I had a chat to the Shore headmaster. Check it out – https://writehandman.com.au/2016/02/22/an-awkward-moment-with-the-shore-headmaster-a-blog-by-jase-gram/
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