Yesterday I went to help at Belle’s school with their weekly trip to the local swimming pool. I don’t actually swim, my job is just to stand in the middle of the changing rooms, encouraging the girls not to scream or put their pants on their head. I command very little respect or authority, but they seem to like me.
“Mrs Belle’s Mum!” a shrill, nine-year-old voice yelled to me when I got on the coach, “come and sit here, we’ve saved you a seat!”
The seat in question was the middle of the back row.
At last! My time had come.
It would be fair to say I wasn’t really ever ‘popular’ at school. My highly competitive instincts displayed themselves throughout my school life as an unattractive inability to resist putting my hand up whenever I knew the answer to a questions. I knew it wouldn’t win me friends, but I just couldn’t help it. If I knew the answer, my hand went up, driven by a love of praise, a desire to be right.
On coach trips, I never sat on the back seat. I never even sat in the middle of the bus, with the kids who weren’t cool necessarily, but understood the rules at least. No, I would be at the front, near the teachers, possibly offering to do something helpful like hold the sick bucket.
Yesterday though, after all those years of failing miserably to be anything other than a complete square, I achieved that pinnacle of popularity. I sat on the back seat.
Sure, you could argue that it isn’t really the same when you are 32 and the people you’re sat with are all nine years old, but I don’t care. Just let me have my moment.
*pause while I bask in the bright light of popularity*
That is all.