I have to think carefully about these episodes. One thing I have realised since ‘taking up the pen’ is that it is a mighty weapon, if there is anyone left to fight.
The first few weeks of the pandemic were good. All the staff in school were smiling more than ever before and these smiles seemed a lot more genuine. The bursar was especially jovial as she was a chubby and had managed to lose a few kilos during lockdown. She did all the Friday workout sessions and spent the rest of her time organising people into queues. She was still quite rotund, but this didn’t stop her from dividing possible social-distancing issues in the corridor. Although she was the bursar, she was probably more important that the head-teacher because she had been there since the start of time. The Head was too nice to tell her to stop, so she didn’t.
Quakers, the ones who founded the school, were very interested in people being equal. My dad calls those types, socialists but Quakers aren’t socialists. They just don’t believe in the importance of money even when they have loads, because they hardly spend anything because life should be lived as simply as is possible. They most certainly did not believe in hierarchies as these gave some people more perceived importance than others. They valued the person within and tried to grow the best out of them. Most other humans love hierarchies even when they find themselves at the bottom of one. It’s like the kids who grow accustomed to always being picked last for the teams in PE. Somehow, I can see that that is comforting as it means that you never have to raise either your hopes or your game – you can just rest at your level without anyone bothering you. But neuros can’t do that for long.
It’s a verb and is also an imperative. It means to push yourself to be better than you already are. To strive to achieve has even become a whole religion that started in the United States and then spread around the world. It’s seen as a positive thing even though, for every striver who achieves, there are bound to be many thousands of ‘backword strivers’ who don’t. It’s like London trying to squeeze into a lift (elevator for patriotic Americans) – only a few will get in whilst millions will be left behind, forever wondering what being in a lift would be like. Most of the staff at Sandham were not strivers and most did not, on the surface believe in hierarchies, but many just turned the other cheek as the strivers sought to seize control. The little round bursar had risen to the top floor and enjoyed the view from there.
There I go again, deviating. Since taking up the pen I have been deviating most of my time. That and possibly sleeping. The truth is that everyone seems now to be sleeping more. There are fewer staff turning up for school and even the dinner ladies are starting to look a little thin on the ground. The Global Perspectives teacher has stopped being so global and now seems to keep himself at home with his wife and growing family. I haven’t seen the design and technology teacher for a while and neither have I seen most of the maths and science teachers. There are still some carers and outward-bound staff, but we are now not allowed to go ‘outward’ or ‘bound’ because of what happened at the seaside.
The Scene by the Sea:
Like the other days at the start of the lockdown and running alongside the deaths in thick irony, the sun was out and the temperatures we high. Although people were meant to stay close to home, outward bounds had a different agenda. The boys needed something to do as walking around on the grounds, no matter how green and calming they were, fell someway short of what a herd of adolescent boys needed to rid themselves of the build-up of energy and the need to exercise. Liam was the one to apply the first pressure when he told staff that he ‘fucking would not be doing anything as fucking stupid as Sandham workouts. Apparently, that was for fat people or those who were incapable or running to the toilet. He had promised that he would not leave his room, or the toilet that he was barricaded in if the “Outward bound boys’ did not get their act together and do their jobs. He swore a little but I decided to leave it out mostly as this reflected the school in a bad light. At this point Dominic (Demonic to readers who have being paying attention) quietly whispered that he would burn the library, in the Great Hall down). I seriously didn’t think that this was a threat to be carried out if the said outdoor activities were not altered, I think that this was just something that he wanted to do. I decided to keep an eye on him.