Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Once a bad girl, Always a bad girl

(but trying to be good!)

I need a lie down. I have just returned from my son's first parents evening at "big" school. I am suddenly older than any teacher I have ever encountered. This is not the way life is supposed to be. All teachers should be old. I don't like it. I'm sure that some of them are only just out of primary school! It's not right. They all have babysmooth line free faces and there is certainly no sign of any of the fusty musties who taught me at school. But then I was at a school where Latin was still an important subject and teachers were allowed to throw board rubbers with all the strength and accuracy of an England bowler (one of them was). Those were the days when even a smattering of eyeliner, the merest hint of lipgloss and a single coat of clear nailvarnish, barely visible to the naked eye - unless you were a teacher ofcourse, would have you sent home in an instant.

I can't say I enjoyed school today any more than I did back then despite the fact that the teachers seem curiously more friendly, more enthusiastic, and more approachable than those I knew in my day. My teachers were a mixed bunch from so ancient that we thought he was probably pickled, to one whom we called "the green dwarf" - green hair, green clothes, green tights, RED lipstick. I'm not joking! She was scary. Another, plump and smirking Mr History, once took great delight in calling in the numbered text books at the end of one term. "Come in number 69" he shouted at me with a wry grin (no it wasn't THAT type of school!). Well I was far more interested in my social life and boys, than any lesson which would constrict my imagination - English and art were the only things I excelled in, even won awards at - and i was a girl whose parents constantly despaired at the ever repeated mantra on my school reports "could do better". My retort then, as it would be now, "would do better if the teachers were more interesting".

Now I'm sure i'm not the only 30 something who feels like a teenager trapped inside an adults body but today I suddenly felt a bit silly at parents evening. I realised that my attire, a t-shirt depicting a "Devililette" clad in latex catsuit and posing sexily on a dice, was not entirely appropriate for the occasion, and in my imagination, feeling weak from the kryptonite of the endless polished linoleum smell of school corridors and the still threatning air disapproval minled with the sound of Pink Floyd's Brick in the Wall - "no dark sarcasm in the classroom" was obviously my favourite line at the time - I buttoned up my cardigan quickly so that only the horns of the devilette were showing. I then realised, that i had been sitting on my fingernails throughout each interview, not because my scarlet painted nails are discracefully chipped, but because I remembered being commanded by my insane and probably quite unhinged physics teacher, nicknamed "ferral", who liked to spend entire lessons teaching us how to open a folder quietly, and who in our previously all boys school (refer to aforementioned "interest in boys" statement!), despised the influx of girls (all jezebels as far as he was concered) to "take your fingernails to see the headmaster". An instruction which I used to find endlessly amusing and so did it all the more just to wind him up. The thought of 10 fingernails trotting along by themselves to reveal their "sins" to the head of school ...

My son is now doing his RP homework very studiously (unlike me), and I am helping him, resisting with every fibre in my body, the urge to take the pen and write it for him. The task is to write "10 commandments for the environment". He is doing pretty well, bless him, and in addition to his "thou shalt not burn plastic" I would add "thou shalt not buy water in plastic bottles, imported from third world countries where the people are dying from cholera", in addition to his "though shalt not waste food" i would add "thou shalt not shop in tesco who get £7.00 from every £10 spent in this country today and who encorage the most obsene consumerism", and in addition to his "though shalt not eat meat" I would add "though shalt not grow genetically modified crops because they destroy native crops and indigenous wildlife species and that includes oil seed rape however nicely you want to package it".

Call me rebellious, call me passionate, angry, wild, extreme, mad, bad or just "too much" - none of these labels are strangers to me. I was expelled from school when I was 15 years old for all of these things and more. I think if I was at school now, I might still be expelled, for the same reasons, but in quite a different context.


Joleo said...

A bad girl perhaps, but an excellent role model :)

kathi d said...

I'm a 50-something who hasn't progressed beyond 14ish. My mom lived to nearly 90 without growing up, so I had a good role model.