Friday, 14 December 2012
Away in a Straight Jacket
Today was the school Christmas play.
I had a warm, fuzzy glow of love and pride as my beaming angels sang their hearts out and recited well rehearsed lines about sweet baby Jesus.
And as I waved at my boy at the front and my boy at the back of 180 youngsters, I knew it was worth the sweat it had taken to reach that stage of blissful contentment.
The truth is, that I find attending school performances - especially the golden gift of the Christmas play - a stressful experience.
“Mommy, can you sit in the front row?” the boys ask.
No pressure then.
“We’ll do our best,” I say, diplomatically.
In reception, I naively rolled up at the gates about ten minutes before curtains up, behind scores of frozen Christmas play goers in a queue longer than the post office on payment day.
While I bagged an acceptable second row left seat, behind a Peter Crouch impersonator in a comedy Santa hat, I won‘t make that mistake again.
What a performance
I’ve joined the competitive parents vying for a front row view.
So we arrive ridiculously early. I had considered camping out Wimbledon style, in a waterproof onesie and an umbrella hat.
Whatever the extreme weather conditions - from arctic blizzards to two by two style rain - you will endure the pain of frost bite and bad hair to guarantee a prime position.
Doors open. Pulse raising, heart thumping, perspiration. The goal is in site, and the Olympic stampede to the hall makes the Next sale look like a group of pensioners wandering around the set of Midsomer Murders.
But just incase you find that front row already filled by a visiting convent, your backup plan includes a child’s booster seat, binoculars and a final failsafe: announcing your inability to shake Norovirus. It can clear a row in seconds flat.
Sharpen your elbows in preparation to oust anyone who gets in your way on your quest to the front. Sorry Mother Mary, these sisters are doing it for themselves.
It’s a survival of the fittest as civilised grown women wrestle like something out of a Ken Russell film, for that last coveted spot.
Summed up in Ben Elton’s ‘double seat’ gag: Ben Elton’s ‘Gotta get a double seat’. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPUjjhO_DpU
Never attempt to reserve seats for others - who will invariably turn up late, huffing and puffing their way through Jingle Bells - or you will feel the full wrath of scary Mom in row three.
The performance is nigh. You’re forced into banal chit chat, but couldn’t give a rats that little Maggie is halfway through the works of Tolkien; because you haven’t gone through all of the above to miss the sight of your children performing all the actions to Little Donkey.
Hush! Could somebody please escort that wayward toddler off the stage? I mean premises? Teething or no teething, he’s really distracting me.
The clicking of smart phones as rebellious parents ‘secretly’ sneak a blurry picture of their offspring. It’s a covert operation that flouts the rules. I bet Sister Bernadette has a secret camera hidden in her Habit.
Finally, the opening act. I can relax fully and “Ahhhh” and clap as my cute boys remind me about the true spirit of Christmas.
Talking of which, I really need a whiskey chaser after all of that.