Friday, March 6, 2009

Path of Peril

Page 1

You end the transmission with your team leader, having just confirmed your mission objective; make your way along the "Path of Peril" to all things fun, undetected*. Means: walking. Your receiver displays a map of the path you must travel, you examine it closely.

You note the only apparent difficulty you are sure to encounter is the school you used to teach at - how perilous can this path be?

You then scroll down to the variables your team leader supplied.
  • 7:00- 8:00am Teachers arriving at school
  • 8:00- 9:00am Students arriving at school
  • 8:45- 9:15am Students outside for morning fitness activities
  • 10:45-11:00am Interval
  • 12:25-1:20pm Lunch
  • 1:20-2:55pm Afternoon P.E. sessions outside
  • 2:55-3:35pm Students queue for buses / get picked up / walk down path of peril
  • 4:00-5:30pm Staff leaving school AND ex-students of the school, now at high school, walk path of peril
Reviewing this list, you become aware that perhaps this mission requires more skill in execution than you had at first thought.

There are a number of ways you consider to avoid detection before making your decision.

  • Dress up in disguise - turn to page 2.
  • Walk on the other side of the road and keep your head sharply turned away from the school - turn to page 3.
  • Depart at 9:20am so that you will be entirely pass the school grounds before 9:40am, hope that no classes are outside learning - turn to page 4.
  • Take the 11:00am - 12:25pm window - turn to page 5.
  • Wait until Friday - the whole school will be in assembly from 11:55am - zero risk - turn to page 6.
Page 2
You slide clothing hangers across the rail in the closet until you reach your puffy jacket. Donning this to conceal your burgeoning belly, you also pick up a pair of glasses and a black cap. Checking your reflection in the mirror, you are satisfied with your look.

But as you approach the pedestrian crossing a student cries, "Isn't that Mrs C?" They run up to talk to you about you, your baby, and their current teacher. You feel embarrassed that you look so feral. You hate puff jackets with glasses.

Page 3
You pretend to examine the colour schemes and timber-work of the villas you pass.

"Mrs Cl?! I think that's Mrs C. Why isn't she looking? What a snob!"

You keep your head fixed in the opposite direction, but cringe, because you can just hear the students over their muesli bars at interval; "She's changed - and not just by getting fat!"

Page 4
Things are going well - the school appears to be all inside. You hold your head a little higher as you pass the administration block, you're going to make it!

Drats! You spot the school's office administrator and librarian on the path ahead. They appear to be carrying the day's mail.

While you like both women well enough, the ensuing questions and tummy-rubbing mean you have failed in your mission.

Page 5
As you approach the school grounds you note something is very wrong. Classes are assembled in lines at the gate and buses are pulling up.

You can't believe there is a field trip - that wasn't in the mission specs!

You pick up the pace, and smile weakly as students press their faces up against the interior of the bus windows and pull on classmates' sleeves, pointing. One student's frantic banging even induces a wave.

You have failed today.

Page 6
You are half-way past the school when you are certain this is too easy. You squint as you scan the school for life outside, or in. Sure enough, it appears everyone is in the hall.

Phew! You reach the school field without being seen.

Onward, to all things fun!

*It's not that I hate the school...or even that I don't want to visit. It's that I don't want to be a spectacle every time I want to access all things fun. I am more than happy to pick the perfect pregnant outfit and come right on in - on my terms. I do not enjoy lots of micro-repeat conversations, shrieking, or stopping 4 or 5 times along a stretch that should take 2 minutes to walk, but instead takes 25...I also don't like feeling like I am "hanging around" my old workplace.
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