Now we are well over 30 we are definitely grown ups or so you’d think. But to be honest it is all a sham. The vicissitudes of life may make our understanding better but down at the school gates it’s as if we had never left.
The cliques and gangs that were the bane of our lives then are just as much prevalent, if you look hard enough, as they ever were,
And don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because you are older and wiser that you can rise above it – in fact it is just when you think all is OK and you have a good handle on life that you will be felled and felled hard.
You can of course put off the fateful moment by not interacting at all with the school gate posse but let’s face it you tried the anonymous bit at school and you know eventually you will be so stunned and amazed that one of the popular posse speaks to you that before you know it they’ve used and abused you making you feel worse than ever before.
The pecking order is very like that of school there are the popular ones buzzing around a Queen Bee who usually has older children at the school and knows everyone and is on first name terms with the great and the good that make up the School Governors. Then there are a variety of cliques such as the chalet girl types, the horsy ones, those with obviously far too much time and/or too much money on their hands. There are the professional working Mums who are considered scarily clever, and of course there are a variety of second wife bimbettes, wannabes and the odd and peculiar whom everyone looks on with slight alarm.
I fall in the odd and peculiar group for although I don’t consider myself part of any particular set that is not how I am judged. I am plainly not scarily clever for I do not have the VIP hauteur so cultivated by women executives when dealing with mere mothers, nor am I popular for I do not know the right people and nor do I get invited to lots of dinner parties, never mind the right ones. I do not wear the right clothes or even drive the right car so I obviously don’t have the money or the style to be a lady who lunches. I have no idea what spavins are so can’t join the hunt.
And none of that bothered me one iota until of course I had the temerity to start organising the PTA. And it’s not as if I even wanted to – I got lumped with it! Basically I do have office skills of a sort and I am curious by nature so when the PTA was looking for someone to take minutes I thought: “Why not?”
I tell you pure vanity got me into this mess!
Everything was going along nicely, I was able to make a difference get things organised and running smoothly. It seemed a doddle. So when the nominal chair had a fit of the vapours (basically got thwarted) and she said had to resign, I landed up in the chair and everyone was so terribly nice. I almost got carried away with it all suddenly finding myself popular, with people actually listening to what I said rather than doing their best to pretend I wasn’t there. I started to garner a kind f respect and it was all very, very, gratifying.
However, these things end and there was the inevitable coup. It was done beautifully and I applaud the Queen Bee. It was so totally typical and so totally school.
Having finally got everyone thinking about costs and focussing attention on where we could actually raise money all there was to do was sell tickets. But inevitably that did not happen and with two weeks to go not enough were sold. So back from the sidelines the Queen Bee comes into rescue the situation and the whole event lands up back in her capable hands. It’s was amazing how quickly she got her acolytes back on the job and ticket sales soared. It was genius!
Basically I don’t think I am or was ever cut out for the cut and thrust of school gate politics…