Today, made complete ass of myself with a school secretary. Mr. McP and I were waiting for his school bus. And waiting and waiting and waiting. And freezing. J had taken our only car to a meeting. I fumed and fretted and decided I couldn't wait for even one more second, and took Mr. McP back home and called the school.
All the city schools have similar phone numbers. They start with 245 and have 24 as the first two numbers in the second half: 245-2410, 245-2411, 245-2412, etc. Quickly dialing the number, and not even listening to what the secretary said when she answered, I launched into the sad tale of late bus, no car and Mr. McP will not be in this morning. The secretary kept asking who are you? Can you spell his last name? I blathered on about how Slate bus never showed up. I did think it was strange that she didn't know Mr. McP. Usually when I call his school they know exactly who he is. It was a different secretary. “It's not the nice secretary,” I told Mr. McP after getting off the phone. Then I saw the bus, rounding the corner. I shot out of the house like I'd been fired from a cannon, went sprinting up the hill and flagged it down. Our bus driver, bless his heart, came to a grinding halt right at the end of our drive—we are supposed to wait further down the street. I ran back down, wrestled poor Mr. McP back into his coat and dragged him up to the street.
I thought I'd better call the school again, and—you can see where this is going—when I redialed the number, I realized I'd called the wrong school. No wonder she didn't know us. Considering that Slate bus doesn't even go to her school, she behaved with remarkable aplomb.
Slate bus. Here in Ch'ville, all the school buses are given color names to help the children remember which bus they ride. Apparently, last summer they gave the job of naming the buses to the gifted ed coordinator, or an interior decorator, because the buses have color names that are also things : Forest, Bubblegum, Mango, Peach, Rose, Slate, etc. For a day or so, the Slate bus was renamed the Silver bus, and then—get this—they changed it back to Slate. I'm not complaining, I'm just amazed that they gave the matter that much thought. The rest of America's kids ride the red bus or the green bus, but Charlottesville's children are driven in buses named like paint chips. Which is typical of Charlottesville, I must say.