The first few weeks of the school year; early morning routines, strict bedtimes and stress that comes out your ears, for no real known reason. What can I say, it’s a tough period. You know you’ve done it before, but still each time it rolls around, it hits you like a tonne of bricks. And boy does it tickle our ‘touchy’ buttons – everything seems to make us cranky. Here’s how I reflect on snippets (only the best) morning school runs when this, the most stressful time of the year rears its head.
Screeching and ranting, foam coming from your mouth. Your feet aimlessly palpate the surface beneath it. The veins on your hand protrude with a mind of their own. Your knuckles rise and fall like magma brewing from its chamber. There must be a reason for this despondent shower of sweat, right?. You look left and see clarity, a free utopian oasis; your eyes grow like dinner plates and pupils open an orb of bliss. At last, you’ve made it.
What is going on? Let’s take it back about ten minutes.
You race through the corridor a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business, but there’s no time for old Time Rock by Bob Segar. You’ve an important event (some would say) to attend. The door closes and time slows down to a halt. Just as the door clicks shut in high tension, you squirm for the handle in a last gasp effort to keep the door from securing. In a split second, before the swipe of the hand is complete, your brain acknowledges you’ve not only left the keys inside, sitting on the table beside the door, it also admits defeat in that you are too late to save the door. Like a remote control’s slow motion mode, your hand continues its follow through, catching the handle, quite clearly too late. Time catches up and you let an instinctual and primal grunt. “Stupid” you reverberate in sync with a nasty slap upon your poor forehead. This can only mean one thing; Tardy Tim will continue his never-ending parade at work.
As if a light bulb suddenly appeared, assuming a halo, you remember the balcony door is left ajar. A quick glance at your time piece and it’s go time. You can still make this on time, you think as you collate all the things that would need to go right to forecast an arrival of punctual procession. You race around to the shed to arm yourself with the necessary tools for the forthcoming and swift break in. You reach for the ladder, unbeknownst to the hardnosed spider whose web you’ve just made a candy floss cone upon your arm with. You panic and spiral into a frenzy of aggression, dancing and prancing as if this sticky twine will somehow release itself with thanks to your sheer dazzle. Your cheeks are scorching red and your ears burn like sunburn. This little critter has feasted upon your skin, sending your immune system, along with your adrenalin into meltdown.
The surge passes, it was only an Australian native, lacking one red or white rear. The ladder plays its role and, like a cat burglar in his prime, you’re in. You collect your missing items and proceed, albeit ten minutes later than anticipated, to your car. Now on the road, what could possibly go wrong?
The car starts, little nervy, mirroring the owner yourself. Onto the road and the streets are busier than you remember last time you voyaged along these parts. You tap the top of the steering wheel in sync with the music. But like the song coming to an end, so to your patience. This may have been easier walking, you think. And quicker! Not much time, you imagine a game show watching your every move and the embarrassment of making one wrong move flutters around you like butterflies. You make your next move; a rash and abrasive one. You have never turned right on this journey before. It’s bold but it seems to be paying off. A short cut- designed to cut off part of the way and shorten the time of a particular trek, it's genius. Cruising along a side street, when you realise that red light, causing the back-up may have subsided by now, but you quickly erase the thought. You squash it with a motivating and reassuring, ‘you’ve made the right choice’ you nod your head in self approval and continue, ‘definitely quicker’. That’s when you see it, a red light ahead and you have to take a left to head back in the direction from before. You inhale not once but twice through your nostrils and then purse your lips. ‘It’ll be green shortly, I’m only third in line.’ The hardest part of this is the gap the minivan in front has left between them and the car in front. Although it makes no difference, the lights are censored and will most definitely change soon, you urge to sneak right up to the line, ready to pounce, yearning for poll position at the first flicker of green. To your shock, amazement and pure bewilderment, the arrow light does not change to green with the overhanging traffic light signalling forward only. The rage boils to your eyebrows; they furrow with angst and one single bed of sweat trickles down your forehead onto your cheek. This cannot be happening! It goes orange, then red, and again the cars flow from left to right and right to left. ‘Not long now’, you try calm yourself. Finally, the flow comes to halt and, at long last, a green arrow is coming my way… What the F#@K is going on?! There is a long, uninterrupted bleeping of the horn from your behalf! Inexplicitly, the arrow is not turning green. Infuriating heat radiates from your temples and you give up. You decide to just go around the turning van in front and head straight, you can always make a u-turn or left on the next street. Without having wriggled out two metres, you can see, bewilderingly, a space the size of a small farm truck in front of the van, ‘that incessant peasant!’, you think and let out an internal roar from within safety of your car.
You now slam your foot down on the accelerator and let your presence known. The jerk wasn’t even over the sensor – that whole time! Doesn’t he realise I am in a rush?
Finally, you wheel around the corner into the haven of, ‘I’m here’ to a surprisingly quiet and barely populated space. You pull into the carpark but find merely a handful of vehicles. You turn on your radio and hear a weirdly unfamiliar voice. The radio host finalises his segment and cuts to the ‘Sunday Morning Show’… Wait, “Sunday”?!
Our inner Demon wins again. Pathetic!