L.A. Woman, late again: Precious Tries to Make It To School On Time
I’m not the most punctual person. I try. I do try. But it doesn’t come easy to me. Like math — or packing — I have to really work hard at it. At being on time.
I have Jack all week during the next while because Wes is directing a show in Niagara Falls. This means I have five more opportunities to be late again getting Jack to school, instead of just the usual two or three. I don’t know about you, but I find it really disheartening when my bad habits start to reflect on my kid. I hate it.
Ideally, we should be there at 8:45am. That’s when the first bell rings and there is a teacher standing by the side door to let the kids in. But they only hold that door open for about 55 seconds. We don’t live close enough to his school to walk, so we need to drive. And let’s be real: even if I did live close enough, I’d probably drive. Go ahead judge me, I grew up in Los Angeles.
There is a parking lot adjacent to the school but it’s a mess by that time. First bell is a five minute window of utter chaos and potential destruction.
All of this is directed by our trusty crossing guard. He’s like a musical conductor. Letting cars pass, stopping cars to let kids cross, stopping cars to let other cars pull out. And he’s nice, too.
I like him. I’d like to think the feelings are mutual.
So, back to the parking lot. For some reason there is a gate that separates the school from the lot. And they keep the entrance locked. To avoid walking all the way around, people jump over the fence. Why do they lock it? Security? It doesn’t really add to security. Maybe from very, very short pedophiles. It’s just tiresome. You have to lift your kid up over this gate in one particular spot where they’ve filed the spikes down (for this purpose?). And then hand over your kid’s backpack. When I go to pick up my son, I jump over it myself. And if I’m wearing a dress, I flash the daycare in portable one. Good times.
If we miss first bell and the side door closes, we have to go through the front. And if we miss the second bell at 8:50am, we need a note at the office. At first this was a novelty. Getting a little slip of paper from the attractive school secretary who always has a tan. Walking Jack to his classroom. Being a part of this whole other life my son has! A brief whiff of his day job.
But now the secretary knows Jack by name. “Hi Jack!” she says, and then she glances up at me. Is that a reproachful look?
Once we arrived just as “Oh Canada” was playing and everyone had to stand still. As a child I always went to weird foreign or alternative schools, and I never had to pledge allegiance, so this is all faintly embarrassing to me.
I’m such a fake Canadian. At least I’m early for my 9:15 a.m. boot camp at Extreme Fitness.
Ugh. Tomorrow is another day. We WILL leave the house at 8:25am. We WILL be on time. Hope springs eternal.
Precious Chong is a writer, actor and comedian who grew up in L.A. and lives in Toronto. She’s a professional stilt walker and the daughter of cult movie hero Tommy Chong. She writes about co-parenting for Bunch.