Every year, for the last 8 years, I have been stopped at least once by an employee of the school wanting to know who I was, what my business at the school was, if I was a parent of a child at the school, yada yada yada.
The first time this occurred was way back at the end of 2001. And I didn’t mind. It was our first year to the school, and I felt good that there was concern for the safety of the children.
The second time it was a different person stopped me, but what bothered me the most about it was that she had followed me through the school and then waited in the hallway while I was talking about something with a teacher. She stopped me when I came out of the classroom and began her interrogation. I copped a little attitude because, c’mon…I was just in there speaking with a teacher for several minutes.
In succeeding years, I’ve displayed more attitude and indignation when asked because, Jesus, I am at the school at least 4 times a week. One particularly bad incident was when I was standing with my daughter looking at a map of the neighborhood on one of the walls. There was a Walk To School program going on, and everyone who typically walked to school had chosen a color to highlight their route on the map. Now, we don’t walk to school. We live too far away. But when I was a kid in the neighborhood, I would walk to school and I was showing my daughter the route that I would walk. Well…apparently someone interpreted this as me trying to get a little girl to show me where on the map she lived. The only information I gave this person was that yes, I was a parent of a child in the school and she just so happened to be the little girl standing right next to me.
When my oldest daughter was in 5th grade, I had taken her to school earlier than normal one day because she had some elective type class. My wife called me and asked me to wait at the school (instead of going to work right away) in order for me to help her carry some stuff from the van up to the second floor. So, I waited outside, leaning up against the school and playing games on my cell phone while I waited. Eventually, she called to let me know she had arrived but was parked on the other side of the school grounds on the opposite side of the building. I put my phone away and headed across the grounds to meet her, passing first through the area of the playground where the intermediate grade kids were, around the corner and then through the section where the primary kids played. Just then, I heard someone yelling, “Sir? Sir! What’s your business here, sir?” I turn to look around and it’s the playground monitor who followed me from the other side of the school. “Yes! You, sir. Don’t move!” Nearby was the primary grade playground monitor…a woman whom my wife and I are familiar with. I said, “Kim, will you handle her for me? L is waiting for me to help carry some stuff.” So I kept walking and I heard, “Sir! I told you not to move and if you don’t stop I’m calling the po…” I looked back to see Kim speaking with this woman explaining that I was not a threat.
So…I’m glad they are on the lookout for dangers to our school children, but after 8 years it gets annoying.
And then there was the time, in my own neighborhood, when I was walking my girls around selling Girl Scout Cookies. We started off going up the street with the girls leap-frogging each other while going house to house. They went to houses 1 and 2, then the girl who went to house 1 went up to 3, the girl who went to house 2 went to house 4, etc etc etc. Well, due to a combination of one girl getting a couple of sales while the other did not, they eventually ended up on opposite ends of the street. So I stood on the sidewalk halfway between each one so I could keep and eye on both. Next thing I know, I hear from behind me, “Can I help you with something buddy?” I turned around to see a guy who had come out of his house and was standing in his yard, his wife behind him in the doorway on the phone.
“Nope.” And I turned back around to keep and eye on my girls. At this point, I had NO IDEA what this guy was thinking.
“What do you mean, ‘nope?’?” He had an indignant tone in his voice. “What are you up to?”
“Just selling some Girl Scout Cookies.” Perfectly logical (and true) explanation.
“Girl Scout–?” I turned back around to face him and he started walking toward me with a scowl on his face and pointing his finger. “You better tell me what the hell you’re doing around here, bud!”
“I told you. Girl Scout Cookies. I’m walking my daughters around the neighborhood.” I indicated my one daughter down the street, and then my other daughter up the street.
That calmed him down. “Oh. Oh. It’s all good. I was just…Hey, honey?” He turned to his wife who was still on the phone in the doorway. “It’s OK, he’s just taking his kids around selling Girl Scout Cookies.” Then his wife said into the phone, “Oh! Oh, it’s ok. It’s just some people selling Girl Scout Cookies. Sorry about that. Thanks.” Then she hung up. The guy explained to me that he was just watching out for things in the neighborhood.
“Yeah, sure. I understand. Did you want to buy some Girl Scout Cookies?”
“Uh, no. No thanks. Have a good day.”
So I’m stunned. This dude tried to interrogate me, got a bit angry with me, had his wife on the phone with what I assume to be the police, and then doesn’t buy a box of cookies???? What a fucker.