Fire and brimstone….AKA The London School Run
London School run…..Hell? OR, a temporary torment that will eventually pass?
When I first did the NW London school run, I was stunned at how unbelievably barbarous this thankless, pugnacious, arduous, cut-throat, bull-shit, bastard of a routine, would be.
Not only is EVERYONE driving around in some confused middle class cantankerous frame of mind, that I genuinely find worrying….but they’re also irascible and keen to kick off over something as simple as a U Turn. A U TURN people.
These women (never men. ever…theyre not that fucking stupid…about cars I mean….everything else is open for female debate) have nothing else to fulfil their mundane, sexless, bitter existence in the mornings, therefore they will kick off, like they’re fighting a huge injustice in the European Courts, over a U TURN….
I’ve had one moment since arriving back in London where road rage got the better of a pompous, hugely affected by her own delusional public persona, while I, like all mortals just living their daily life, was quietly going about my morning school run.
I just want to point out, that this piece is not in any way, anti-animals/pets/school projects, nor is it anti-women, or anti-women drivers, or anti-American (I LOVE Americans as you know….but just covering bases when you read a brief mention below on our Stateside family), nor am I anti- NW London (totally). I’m am, however, and Ive said this numerous times before, ANTI BULLYING. AT ANY AGE.
This beyond unnecessary “incident” took place after 3 whole wonderful, delicious, (Divorce pending/tearful/painful/soul destroying) years back in London. This particular moment, however, outside the twins school in NW London, involved an alleged CELEBRITY. I only discovered she was a Celeb when the School Secretary, whom I love and If I was a lesbian, would be chasing after constantly (imagine “M” from the last James Bond, but about 20 years younger, taller, and mouthier….). Anyhow….she notified me that this Moron was well known on TV and apparently on various poncy programs for the Beeb (whom I ordinarily have HUGE respect for as a Channel), that only an Oxford or Cambridge Grad would actually enjoy, kinda like us mere mortals do with “TOWIE”)…
So this starlet, was gunning for me immediately, being rude, affected, a London wanker, trying her hardest to tear me a new arsehole, in front of my 3 year old (who has special needs), all over my doing a U TURN in a cul de sac. Not a dangerous U Turn involving an out-of-control vehicle, and a woman (me) not knowing how to drive (I CAN DRIVE). This alleged argument instigator was about a U Turn. Not an Illegal U Turn, but a U Turn. A U TURN. A LEGAL U TURN. LEGAL.
My 3 year old’s response after witnessing her Mummy being shouted at repeatedly, over this alleged dangerous “U Turn” said, “She NOT nice Mummy. She MEAN!!!” My response to that? “Baby!!! You said a whole sentence!!!!!! Do it again….!!!!?” We’ve been desperate for my youngest to start talking so anything like that entire sentence is like a bar of gold for me.
Sorry….I digressed…as I do.
Continuing on with this wonderful tale… This dumbass started shouting at me first thing in the morning during the busiest peak time, in front of two very busy schools, that sit right next to each other, with lots of morning activity, and hundreds of small children. Her presence actually rattled my very young daughter, who witnessed it all from her car seat, directly behind mine.
Anyhow….this moron kicked off at me for doing a “U’ie” in a cul de sac….like thousands of other parents before me. What annoyed her about me? Who genuinely knows to be honest? My clothes, my car, my parking, my skin colour, my lack of interest in conforming to anything remotely “Mummy-like” which you can tell is somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea? Maybe its my lack of giving a shit what anyone thinks? I don’t care. I used to live, always making sure, everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) around me was ok. I never liked people feeling hurt, unloved, being treated badly, being bullied….I basically felt exhausted the whole time, as the one person, who never got to live comfortably in their own skin, or freely, was me. Now? Since my Dad died……I have been liberated. I don’t give a shit. Because other people don’t give a shit.
I am kind to strangers, and I genuinely like good people….but those random unkind beings out there, who take it upon themselves to “educate or discipline” me/anyone because they feel they have more knowledge!? Nope. No interest. You ARE bullies. Its as simple that.
After I dropped my twins off on this particular morning, I walked back to my car (the size of a minibus) and I could actually sense/feel, some irritating aura/attitude, sizing me up and staring at me.
I have my own daily uniform of Ray Bans, Flat Cap, Biker Jeans and a T shirt that normally has Sid Vicious on it decapitating a Corgi, or “Fuck You Muthas” or my fave Xmas gift T-shirt last year, “Pls give me a parking space you medicated, affected, Gucci carrying, arsehole”.
Anyone of those obvious Rock N Roll fashion accessories, could have sparked an interest/conversation. It turns out, my clothes were not the issue, it was my Disco’tastic WHITE chav-Mobil (that according to a male friend, “Essex Hairdressers drive”) may have wound her up.
On seeing me, partly do, my excellent and VERY safe U Turn, this lady moves in for the kill. She starts banging on my window. Banging…her lips were folded back so I could see her teeth – Imagine jumping out of an aeroplane for a Skydive, where you cant help but look weird as your mouth & lips totally disappear, revealing skeleton like, dry teeth, as you scream “SHHHHHHHIIIIITTTTT!!!”
So these were my thoughts…until I immediately noticed her mouth frothing, like a smiling, grimacing, Rabid dog (think of the film “Cujo” circa. 1983…) For those 80’s kids who ever saw that disturbing film “Cujo”. I still recall that rabid dog trying to attack the little boy in the car. I was 7 years old and had stayed at a friends house that night (Americans….no PG filter. We also watched the “Exorcist” and Porn….loved that family. I’m a huge fan of anyone Stateside as you know). I also knew, when I opened my car window, mid 3 point turn….something MEAN was about to happen. On a Monday morning, which is already harsh, before 8 am.
This crazy bipolar, sexually frustrated lunatic, with immaculate make-up, brunette hair styled in a slick and smart bob, with a browny/yellow (ghastly) Paisley patterned scarf tied around her neck….well…she started ranting about the rules and regs of driving down this road. * FYI…..if you ever see a woman wearing a scarf similar to the one below, a word of advice. Turn and run. She is WELL mean and I’m certain, menopausal.
I had no idea (nor did many parents as it later turns out) that we shouldn’t drive down this road if we could help it. Not ILLEGAL but “frowned upon”…which in my book means, I can do WHAT THE FUCK I WANT, as long as I’m responsible, safe and considerate…which I ALWAYS am.
When I shared my morning’s joyous encounter with every parent I knew at the school…including the fact that this woman had blatantly lied while screaming at me that I had driven on the pavement (BLATANT BULL SHIT).
I have a camera in my car luv. I’m also a fucking good, point free, 19 years of a “No Claim Bonus“, first time passer of driving test, type of driver. YOU LIED. She claimed I’d gone onto the pavement while doing a 3 point turn. NEVER happened. My cars arse may have hung over the pavement, but tyres? Nope never…..
I was mute throughout most of the altercation with this affected, Middle Class struggling to be Upper, highly self absorbed, opinionated, affected, probably medicated (wearing off before 8.30am clearly), dickheads rant….all out of my own disturbing, curiosity. I sat there, in my car, not uttering a single word, but staring at her.
I said nothing while this stupid cow, who had made me stop all traffic (my car was literally mid U turn and therefore now blocking the entire road) to listen to her bang on about bullshit!?…When I thought she’d finally finished her verbal onslaught, I decided to ask her a very simple, polite (in my opinion) question.
I asked this “Celebrity”, who by this point I thought may genuinely own the entire road, one thing, “Are you done?”….
It was at this point she went insane and started another tirade, quoting school letters and asking me for my “Name, date of birth, National Insurance number, Bank details.. etc…”
To be fair, I think she was just having a Nespresso comedown, probably due to her Maid not bring her Coffee in bed that morning. Who cares? Too early to pick a fight with me. I hate idiots like that, anytime of the day.
The rude, vile, so-called Celebrity, had stood there for approx. 2 mins, frothing at the mouth, steaming the outside of my windows, blatantly bullying and undermining me in front numerous Parents dropping their own kids off outside 2 pre-schools, and screaming abuse, all in front of countless YOUNG children. This was including her own poor child, whose face turned the same colour as her ginger hair. She was holding her daughters wrist the whole time she unleashed her venom onto me. Why? I did a 3 point turn in a narrow road. Did I drive onto the pavement, like she LIED and claimed I did? No. How do I know this?
Because I can (a) Drive a car and have done so, since I Was 17 years old, (b) I NEVER EVER went onto the pavement as I’ve seen some terrible drivers do a U Turn in that road, and almost run pedestrians over. (c) I was aware of my space and also have a CAMERA to see the rear of my vehicle when I reverse.
She openly lied but wanted a fight because she’s a bully. My response? Zero.
I sat there. Flat cap. Ray Bans. Sid Vicious “FUCK YOU” T shirt. Thanks to her, I had no blocked the entire road in my vehicle. Bizarelly….NO ONE was honking their horns, or trying to Shut this moron up. Turns out. Shes “known”…eh!? For what?! Being a cow? I watched her without saying ONE SINGLE WORD to interrupt her clear love for her own voice.
When I did utter those few words of “Are you done?” ….she got angrier, carried on having a go, now through gritted teeth. Something I hate. It demonstrates a bully to the core.
As I mentioned earlier, this concerned-for-peoples-safety (but not emotional) “Parent” also did this in front of my own child who was frightened by this stupid, pointless attempt at asserting some power. This woman then told me to “GO AWAY AND DONT EVER LET ME SEE YOU DRIVE DOWN HERE AGAIN!!!”. Disgusting.
I still didn’t react. Not a grimace, a tear, an apology, a comment, a moan, a burp, a smile, a loud fart, a smack to her fucking head 1980’s style when no one gave a shit about repercussions. Nope…she got nothing from me. It annoyed her. My lack of… well, anything pissed her off. This may explain why she walked away still shouting and telling every single person walking into both schools, that (“SHE WAS ON THE PAVEMENT!!”). A lie. Blatant lie.
Still, as she walked away, disgusting Paisley scarf blowing in the London wind, I said zero. Why?
I had my child in the car. She has special needs and is trying to understand “comprehension”. I’m trying to educate my children about how to treat people, daily, and attempting to explain that people don’t do, or shouldn’t react, like that. And by “that”, I mean, weak. Anyone that comes at you like that is a bully, therefore a coward, hence, weak. I, as in ME, would not DO that to someone. My little entourage (ie. 3 children), shouldn’t do that. People need to be kind. To approach things in a civil, human, way….. I don’t like bullies.
So what do I now do, for school runs after being warned never to drive down that street again? Well, I research who this moron is. Even my kids know her name. We keep Pitch Forks in the boot just in case she attacks. We are ready for the war (I don’t care about winning the battle).
I still openly drive down that road daily, windows wide open, Cafe Del Mar music blaring (unless Kiss or Capital FM play something Beiberish for the kids)….. waiting waiting waiting, for that “woman” to come at me again.
Why? This time, I’m prepared. This time, I will force myself to get out of my car and verbally tear HER a new arsehole for being such a bully. For being so incredibly hypocritical in a space surrounded by young children and parents. A small shared space where children should be free to go to school without witnessing fights amoungst parents (even if it is one sided) as this rattles them before their school day has even started. She went on twitter that very morning commenting on another Mothers parenting for giving their child “chocolate”, yet there she was, arguing with me, and bullying me (trying to, the idiot) in front of numerous children, including her own, and yet, her argument wasnt even real. Her reality was that platform to perform openly for all and sundry, and blatant, obvious, attempt to demonstrate her power/knowledge/vulgar personality. She caught me on the day of my Dads birthday (passed away). I wasn’t in the mood to brush my hair, let alone speak or fight some complete moron about something irrelevant and not real. I was feeling very tearful that morning because of my Dad. I don’t like anyone attempting to benefit from someone else’s, apparent, lack of knowledge.
I mean, this school run business in the morning, it’s absolutely, without a shadow of any doubt, beyond anything Ive ever experienced. ANYTHING. And Ive done some obdurate shit in my time. I actually dread this unthinkable, work-into-my-nightmares, experience, more than anything else in my life. The “women” (I had to quote this as I’m certain some of these ladies are not from Planet Earth) have no idea about the width of their cars, nor road “etiquette”.
Why? Well….lets break this horrible, daily, harsh (beyond belief) routine, down….
- As a single Mum, I’m waking three kids up during the working week, and having to get everyone, sorted, in the correct clothes (is it “Gym day”? or is it “wear-my-favourite-colour-story-family-member” day, into school? With all this going on, Ive also got to manage a 4 year old, who has certain special needs (ie. She cant be arsed with all this crap) and get everyone to their designated destination, before cocktail Mummy hour (10.30am).
- During this school run, you need to ensure, everyone has been fed.
- You need to make sure, all children are IN the vehicle.
- You need to make sure, any casualties, ie. kids fighting, knocked knees etc, have been dealt with (Arnica AKA “Magic Cream Mummy” applied), BEFORE leaving the home.
- You need to remember water and snacks in case theres an end to the world moment before school.
- Remember to set alarms and lock doors.
- Remember that slippers are NOT shoes and to change these BEFORE walking out your front door. I cant tell you how many times ive done this…ok, approx. 8.
- That wearing a Hair roller in your fringe needs to be removed from yours, and your 4 year olds, hair before starting the cars engine.
- Its SHIT. Just so you’re aware. Total and utter, hard-core, relentless, mean, SHIT. Be MENTALLY prepared before you get into your vehicle. Every morning. Check tyres, school bags and swim/football/ballet/dance/science paraphernalia. Make sure all kids are actually strapped inside the car (ideally YOUR car).
- Setting alarms, getting all kids strapped in and driving down the road, thinking you’re en route & survived the morning breakfast/uniform/political management of your children, only to hear; “Mummy, we left Winston (the annoying Gerbil for school), behind!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!! POOOOOR WINSTONNNNNN!!!!!!” Well…it adds at least another 10 minutes to your journey, if you’ve just left and are still on your own road. You need to turn said vehicle around, calm hysterical child by assuring them the Gerbil/Winston will be found (while remembering he was left outside on the Trampoline all night during crazy heavy hailing rain), you need to deactivate the house alarms, locate Winston the annoying fucker you’ve photographed for 2 days at birthdays, the park, in the bath, doing homework, baking cakes, being deliced/made sanitary/washed in antibacterial soap to ensure he’s clean enough for your child to sleep with, and finally a photo of “Winston” enjoying a Cosmo with Mummy once all kids are asleep at night. On a SATURDAY night.
Me, a Gerbil, “Gogglebox” on TV, and an extensive search on Google about how to remain positive, and NOT kill yourself when you discover your date on a Saturday night, is now a furry animal, the size of your hand, called Winston, the Gerbil. FYI…. I AM TALKING ABOUT A GERBIL… some people are just downright ill 🙂
Winston, the class Gerbil. The bain of every parents life for a whole weekend while your allergy suffering twins attempt to sleep with the smelly, ugly, worn, flea infested bugger. So of course, he had to sleep in my room on the first night, to ensure he wasn’t suffocated with kiddie cuddles, or had his nails painted by my 4 year old. Winston….what a bastard…..oh….and its “Jamies turn this week to play with it”, clean it, entertain it with Heavan knows what, and basically, keep that fury fucker alive and breathing.
Could you imagine, the shit you would get, if that friggin Gerbil DIED (somehow) while you had it with you?! I watched that bloody bastard more than my own kids over the weekend while the ugly, scratchy bugger stayed with us. I almost gave him CPR when one of the kids attempted to feed the damn thing some cheese.
” DARLING, its a gerbil…NOT a mouse!!!”
My sons response? ” Are you really sure Mummy? How do you know Winston is not a BIG mouse Mummy!?? He may be trapped inside a gerbil, trapped inside a cage?!”
My answer….? Google. I then had to demonstrate with photos of animal skeletons, anatomies etc that we were looking after a friggin, pain in MY arse, Gerbil. Did Winston say “Thank you my Luv, for looking after me!” When he was gently placed back in my sons classroom, for the next victim to look after it? No OF COURSE IT DIDNT SAY THANK YOU!!! Why?!! Aside from being male?
Because anything under the age of 10 years of age is lacking manners, consideration and general hygiene. Plus, hes an animal…literally. I preferred the bloody stuffed animal we had to entertain and photograph at weekends. Our Class Monkey (not real folks, so relax) went to Mexico with my Mum. This SOB was photographed, by my very creative Mother (I now know where I get it from) having sex with various objects including giant bowls of Chilli Con Carne, in numerous locations. My Mum thought she was helping….she didn’t realise it was for her Grandchildren’s school project, NOT something I had asked her to do FOR ME?!?!
In the day, pre-kids, I worked my arse off at University (kinda…if you consider a “Desmond Tutu” a decent degree), working hard at Law school (while drinking, shagging and popping Pro Plus like they were Smarties), and working all night corporate cases for Magic Circle Firms in the City where you didn’t even sleep before appearing in the High Court.
We’d have meetings involving hours of Mediation, groups of lawyers sat bundled together, couped up for over 9-12 hours daily, trying to negotiate one aspect of a case that could take days, and cost thousands of our clients money. I’ve got some shocking/exceptionally boring stories about Construction Litigation cases involving Mediation/Lawyers/coffee/me/vodka/Senior Equity Partners/Me again/Vodkas …again…..
Thinking back now….I was hungry to succeed in my profession as a Solicitor. I believed in being a Lawyer and the harder one worked, the luckier you were. This theory always seemed to hold true for me. It worked for me. Always. Well….until …..I became a Mum and learnt about parenting. I am STILL learning about parenting daily.
There are days, I go to bed, feeling guilty for doing what I feel is the wrong thing, doing what I suspect is the wrong thing….its the hardest role Ive ever had to fulfil. Being a Mum, a parent. No one is giving you weekly/monthly/yearly appraisals like they do in an office…there no list of objectives, unless youre a complete control freak and do that to yourself, or worse, your Partner has a checklist of YOUR objectives as a Parent. I am however, learning how to be a great Parent thanks to my incredible Mum (AKA “Mafioso Grandma”) who is full of wisdom, giving “advice” about what I can/could be doing. She using her past to help my future. “Learn from my mistakes” is a common sentence uttered by my Mum. And I listen.
This is a hard-core exercise, only a woman, or very capable man (please read about T-Rex/Moses/God in last blog if you need re-educating on why us women give birth) can do this job.
No disrespect, (ok, maybe a little), but a Man, unless they are God, Moses, or Jimmy Saville….would lose their minds within 2 seconds of doing this arduous, treacherous, slightly political (between the kids) daily, horrendous, thankless, arduous, chore.
You have to not only deal with the daily monotony of getting your kids up from a deep sleep (why the fuck cant they sleep like that at weekends is beyond me!?), giving them a hearty breakfast as lets face it…they wont be eating their lunches properly, dressed in Uniform, ready with teeth washed, hair done/brushed, numerous schools bags ready, forms filled in….. If at this point, youre still able to be remotely nice, you keep telling yourself “Keep it together…Keep it together…Don’t go mad, don’t lose it…”
You then have to get in your car (without losing your shit because one of your kids is pissed off, tired, doesn’t like how their sibling “looked” at them, someone is “winding” the other one up, someone touched the others sock, or shoes while eating breakfast, someone smirked/laughed while the other screamed or cried (and screamed and screamed for 55 minutes) over a simple task like putting their school tights on simply because they were not in the “mood” that morning, despite going to bed at 7pm.
Just briefly…. a word on bedtime for the under 6 year olds. I put my 6 year old twins and 4 year old daughter to bed by 7.30pm during the week. You can visibly see them starting to unravel and lose their shit around this time if theyre not already getting preped for bedtime.
I’m mean….these kids get a good 11-12 hours sleep a night. ELEVEN HOURS EVERY NIGHT PARENTS!? I’d look 100 years younger if I got that amount of sleep nightly…..or would at least be smiling and friggin full of beans daily. These kids fight over everything from one of them touching the others sleeve, to breathing in each others space. As a parent, you need to manage everything, calmly, diplomatically, as they struggle getting into the car like its a foreign, never before seen vehicle/vessel, despite doing it a 10000000 times before.
You then have to drive to their school, and usually be prepared to find an alternative route last minute, that will avoid road works, with roads that are sometimes clear, sometimes gridlocked, and all the while, driving a car the size of an ambulance in roads that were made for bicycles or Milk Floats. During this wondrous journey to school, you need to keep your mouth shut and not get pulled into the potential conversation/moaning that occurs in the back seats from your kids (who else?!).
Even though I say this….its still not always easy to get involved in conversations you know you shouldn’t jump into.
Somehow, I get pulled in conversations I dont actually know Ive somehow been pulled into. Even when I hear the discussions brimming from the back seats, I keep telling myself “Don’t say anything….Don’t get sucked in. They WANT you involved. They know how to engage you. Be strong”. Yet there I am….involved, knee deep in why “we couldn’t ride our Persian Rug to school” on that particular morning, and “No” it wasn’t because Monday mornings were particularly bad, due to road works.
These discussions involve things like the followings comments;
“Mummy, what is inside that pond over there?”
“Mummy, what colour is the sky when its rained?”
“Mummy, why is my brother touching my shoe?”
“Mummy, when unicorns were born, who are their family, or are My Little Pony really real?”
“Mummy, when I go to school, will the fish in the pond go to school too?” (my son, of course).
Dont ask me WHY, but I STILL answer these questions.
During this whole time, my youngest child will say the following words approx. every 5 minutes, “Mummy? Mummy?”. No question, just over and over and over again, “Mummy”. When Ive finally managed to arrive at school, I then need to park somewhere that isn’t going to, (a) block a driveway, (b) have restrictions (Ive seen traffic wardens slapping tickets on Permit Holder spaces as these are a NO NO at ANY time apparently, despite signs. Single Yellows are ok if you find a Warden while parking and BEG (we do this often, all four of us while I attempt to somehow park my HUGE car between a tree and driveway), (c) Keep everyone happy with music on the radio while trying not to get wound up by drivers who have ZERO idea on the width of their car and hold up traffic.
I HATE THE SCHOOL RUN.
If I could walk the journey to school (I FRIGGIN LOVE A GOOD WALK), I would. . ..
Anyhowsle….this genius piece of writing is being split into 3 Parts as numerous things to add to this.
To be continued….
Tags: 1983 films, Beeb, big cars in the school run, bullying in london, Capitall Radio, Chelsea school run, Chris Tarrant, Cugo, desmond tutu, doing a You-Turn, driving with kids in school run traffic, gogglebox, is London traffic the worst during mornings?, Kenny Everett, life before kids, London school run, middle class mums london, Mummy coffee mornings, NW London School run, parents bullying parents, parking in London during school runs, political journalist, single parent, single parent in NW London, Solicitor in a magic circle firm, the BBC, The Flying Eye for Capital Radio, TOWIE, twins, U-Turn
About Sharzad MichaelsA food loving, punk (and chef) wannabe, divorced, single parent champion of 3 young children. An ex(ex) pat, ex-wife & ex lawyer. SW15 Londoner, born and raised.
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