Mommy makes a racist friend …….

We walked up to the voting station – on voting day (because we are good citizens that way) – we thought we would make it a little family outing and throw in a bit of exercise to boot (as opposed to driving you see – yes, I realised I have worded this entire sentence badly, but any the who….)

<sure we were going  to head to Mike’s Kitchen afterwards and eat our weight in animal fat and sugar-laced drinks, but I felt the walk was a good way to start the day>

After the voting process – which I must confess was very efficient and organized, big thumbs up for IEC – we stopped at a little park and the kids could play around on municipality equipment.

It was a balmy sunny day and all seemed good with the world.

A few moments passed, and a mom came walking up with her daughter to play on the swing set.

My lack of social skills kept me at a distance – but she (the mom) clearly had a better developed personality, and asked Isabelle’s name and introduced her daughter to Isabelle, and was pretty chatty and smiley (which I am always a bit suspicious of.)

In my attempt to be one of the ‘cool kids’ I started chatting back to her.

Her daughter Kaitlyn/Caitlyn/Caitlin was 6 months older than Isabelle, but Isabelle had about 5kg on her (the daughter), so I knew if it turned into a skirmish about the swings, Isabelle would be able to take her without having to stop sucking her thumb.

I asked her whether her daughter was at playschool, and she said she was, and I asked where – as I am always on the scope for a good playschool or crèche. (I am UNABLE to make small talk, I talk for a reason ….. it is an annoying trait at cocktail parties, to which I am no longer invited…..)

Though I do realize that often ‘good’ and ‘creche’ is seldom if ever used in the same sentence, I was willing to ask anyway.

She told me the name of the one she had her daughter was at.

We chatted a bit about that as only mothers with children can – any other time and this subject would have made me shoot myself, but as I have a vested interest in this information I was riveted.

She then started indicating that when Kaitlyn/Caitlyn/Caitlin was ready for Grade R/Grade 1 school she was planning to send Kaitlyn/Caitlyn/Caitlin to a private school.

I decided at this point to interject with my wealth of experience in this regard.

I was all ready to show off, as I have researched this subject extensively.

I explained how I too was (am) a snob, and had my son at a private school before we moved into the area.

How I battled to align my head with the fact that there were no private schools around here and my only option (logistically) was to opt for a government school. (There are private schools but they are a bit of a drive
and trying to get to work in time would require me to leave rather early which is not viable as an every-day event in my world.)

When I stopped rolling around on the floor in agony over my decision to send him to a government school, I was able to find a really good – if not great – government school that suited my needs and I was really happy with the school.  The school was a few suburbs away.

I agreed that it might not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ because we all look for different things in a school.

But I was really happy with the (government) school I had found, and my son had been there for three years and my daughter was due to go there next year.

I was explaining it was in a very conservative suburb, had a very active PTA, and parents were very good at contributing and supporting the school.

We were even more lucky that we were English in a predominantly Afrikaans school so got the benefit of small classes.  My son has less than 20 kids in his class (can I get a holler-holler!!!)

The school managing body was efficient and organized, and I generally was really happy with the situation.

Blah-blah-blah-blah ……gloat gloat.

I explained that I had adjusted my perception of government schools, because like all schools – government or private there are good ones and not so good ones.

So there I was making my little speech about the school and I finished off with a flourish, happy that I had conveyed my message so well and with hand movements and everything.

So new-mom-I-just-met-whose-name-I-never-asked goes: “What is the colour split?”

Me – caught slightly off guard: “Er …….. (penny drops)……it is about 10% non-white, I think, but I really have never really noticed.  It services suburbs that are historically white Afrikaans, but the suburbs are changing, and I would guess around 10% or less is about the non-white break.  I would prefer a bit more of a mix, as I would prefer my kids to have a more healthy mix of kids they interact with, I am hoping it will improve as the years go by and the suburbs change.”

Her: “No, I am just the opposite.”

Me – eyebrow raised, ever so slightly : ”Uh-huh….…”

Her: “Yes I want my child to be safe, so I definitely want a school with fewer non-whites ….it’s important that my child is safe.”

Me: “KIDS, KIDS, LET’S GO, DAD WANTS TO GO HOME NOW, CONNOR,GEORGIA, ISABELLE, LET’S MOVE ….. NOW, KIDS!!!”

I think there is something to be said for NOT SPEAKING to strangers in parks!