Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"But you have to park properly:" Battlestar Galactica at the Kindy

At the weekend my husband showed me the first episode of Battlestar Galactica. I lasted for about twenty minutes, until it became obvious that the entire human race was about to be wiped out in a nuclear attack. I decided from behind my cushion that there were better ways to spend an evening. Because I am a wimp, I spent the next twelve hours waking fitfully, looking at my husband lying beside me and wondering if possibly he was a well-designed robot from another hostile civilisation, which would at least explain his telly addiction, possibly these robots need to remain constantly attached to remote controls to survive. These robots look like people, but underneath they are all machine and no heart. (That's the first episode at least, Wikipedia tells me it gets more complex later, after a sleepless night I am in no mood to find out more)
I am glad I didn't have today's kindy conversation straight after viewing Battleship Galactica, because if so I might have just run screaming into the road shouting "They ARE coming to get us! Save yourselves! The nuclear holocaust is coming! Do not listen to a word they say, they are inhuman machines!" and other sentiments that do not tend to help maintain a constructive working relationship.

Thing is, my boys are not terribly safe round traffic, and as I drove up to the Kindy this morning I looked at the crowded roads around, sighed a little, and wondered how we would manage. Then it started to rain. After several minutes of trying to wrestle one child into an unfamiliar and thus deeply sinister raincoat, whilst persuading the other two that they didn't want to get out of the car and play jumping-off-the-pavement-whilst-Mummy-is-busy games (I failed in this)...I looked around for a kindy member of staff and asked for permission to park in one of the school staff and community centre staff spaces, so I could drop my sons safely to school.

The thing is, there is NO ONE who has ever refused this request before. Even the dodgy school in the UK who neglected to tell me that my son had left the school grounds was happy for me to use the staff carpark. No one wants to risk a child being killed. I thought it was the one request no one would ever, ever have a problem with. Until today.

"No, you have to park properly," she said. This was one of the junior members of staff, my mistake was not speaking to the lovely manager.
"Yes, I know I have to park properly, but I want to use one of these spaces."
"Oh no, you can't do that. You have to park properly."
"Yes, but you see, they are not safe near traffic, and I have three of them to manage, so I wondered if just possibly, you know, if it is no problem..." I could feel myself starting to construct complex sentence clauses like Jane Austen. I always go terribly overpolite and English and convoluted when I am absolutely hopping mad.
"Oh no, well you see, some of the parents have to park out on the road."
"But I can't do that, because it's a DISABILITY issue.."
"Yeah, you have to park properly."

I gave up. You would have got more sense out of a parking meter. And probably more sympathy from a traffic warden.

It's sorted now, obviously. I say obviously, because once I found a real human being, as opposed to this alien robot inhabiting a kindy teacher's frame (the receptionist at the community centre) permission was immediately given for me to park as close to the school gates as I needed. No problem.

So why have I not pulled my son out of this dire kindy already? Well, the only upside is that he seems to adore going there, he cries for only a minute or two when I leave (as opposed to half an hour daily when he started school in the UK) - so I am reluctant to unsettle him by a move until I have clear evidence that it isn't working for him (as opposed to me). and when Mr Cumulus dropped him off in my place and had a chat with the staff he agreed with me that the manager was excellent. So - we are sticking with it for now. Lesson learnt, do not communicate AT ALL with the junior staff.

It is strange to be in a kindergarten that seems staffed entirely by automatons, who have not been programmed to accept the word "disability." Maybe I should just ask to be put on hold. I just hope my whole relationship with the place doesn't implode drastically and dramatically, leaving us scuttling like the survivors of the human colonies in Battlestar Galactica to look for somewhere safe.


  1. Yeah I'd definitely say Battlestar Galactica is not the series for you. It gets even more dire, and darker. Not really the sort of escapism you need at the end of a long day dealing with junior members of staff. Why is it that the less experience and knowledge someone has the more they're likely to tell you complete bollocks authoriatively and in a patronising & are you stupid tone of voice? Oh and they always work in schools. I actually found myself other week (after having had to deal with and listen to a larger than normal number of incredibly ignorant people) answering with 'do you actually know that for a fact or are you simply taking a guess and acting as if it is a fact? It might be best if I talked to someone else'. Which was dreadfully rude of me and I shouldn't have done it, and felt awful afterwards, but they had been just simply the last straw.

    And I don't have three kids with additional needs to try and navigate through the world.

  2. Oh I think you have immense patience to have lasted as long as you did before snapping!

    And of course at lunchtime I spoke to the manager and dropped into conversation that the CC were happy for me to use their parking space until I got something sorted, she said "oh, what a good idea, that's great." Honestly, it is like dealing with two different institutions.

  3. " I always go terribly overpolite and English and convoluted when I am absolutely hopping mad."

    Me too. It's one of the perks of being English Abroad, IYSWIM. I use it to great effect on Americans occasionally; they are always completely out of their depth when I do it.

  4. C I wonder if the staff there have been foisted on the manager? Perhaps she's inherited them from a previous manager? I can't imagine how someone so competant could hire incompetent people.

    I get more Kiwi, upbeat, smiley, I can hear the ends of my sentances going up. I also hide behind the 'just little ole colonial me' thing quite a bit too. Very handy.

  5. Yes you are right, GG, the manager is new and the staff have been there forever - I think that one of them was the acting manager too so there are "ishoos" with authority going on

  6. It's a bit by-the-by and probably the least of your worries but I do recomend giving Battlestar another go. I have always actively disliked sci-fi but found it fascinating, well plotted, brilliantly acted (and only dark if you take it seriously). Like I say, just by-the-by. Glad you got the parking sorted!

  7. That's very interesting. I have actually been mulling it over, because the frustrating thing is it was very well-written and I was really interested in how it was going to work out, etc. So I am wondering if the way forward - don't laugh - is to use an Aspie strategy of minimising the stress by making sure that I read a synopsis of each episode, so I have some idea of what will happen in it - I think it was the unexpected quality of the collapse of civilisation that threw me!