Oh God, it’s that thing again! Time to roll up your sleeves, peer at your peers, and allow me to make judgmental remarks on some close friends of yours.
The Parents we encounter on the School Run are a strange bunch, each made up of tiny little individual characters with their own little foibles.
This week, we’re looking at five more examples of Parentkind, starting with one of the most difficult species of Parent to observe…
DISCLAIMER: Now, I don’t think I’ve been clear enough on this, but none of the examples in this series are people I know in real life. Not one of these examples are explicitly about any one person, and any similarity is purely coincidental. If you recognise yourself, or others, in any of these descriptions, then you are mistaken and incredibly paranoid. You need to seek help now. Before they get you too.
(Please Note: If you’re reading this anywhere in the world that is not the UK and you’re thinking “By jingo! This chap just doesn’t understand the Parents on the School Run in my locale! I shall write to him on Twitter (@DaddyBurnsSalad) and tell him to kill himself“, then I must urge you to reconsider your actions. This is a guide to the UK species of Parent. You go and write your own entertaining and highly judgmental guide to your country’s own School Run Species if you’re so inclined).
The Quiet One
You need to keep an eye on the Quiet Ones. Quiet People arouse suspicion in any community, so to find a quiet person on a School Run – and they are on every School Run – is usually a sign for everyone else to panic. Quiet Ones in wider society are the most intriguing and can be surprising. After the band splits up, they’re the ones who suddenly emerge with the best solo album. They’re also the ones in the neighbourhood most likely to become serial killers, cannibals, paedophiles, really into kinky sex, or fascist leaders. Or – and this is the most unlikely, to be honest – they’re just quiet people who don’t like making a fuss, and who live quietly, not bothering anyone, and not really wanting to be bothered in return. It’s one of society’s uglier characteristics that Quiet Ones are treated with mistrust and paranoia.
The Quiet Ones on the School Run are usually apart from the rest of the various groups. Not necessarily shy, or anti-social, just less likely to get involved with people in such an exposed, public, social interaction.
Observe the scene on our imaginary November morning: The Gang huddles in shrieking laughter and gossip, being harassed into contributing to a school event by The Organiser, smirking at The Belligerent’s latest crusade against outrage, tutting at the Fighty One’s occasional explosions, and shrugging in solidarity with the Not-Giving-A-Shit. Their gaze falls upon The Quiet One and they pause, confused. The Quiet One will usually nod a hello, occasionally exchanging small-talk pleasantries, they say their farewells to their kids, and then they’re gone. They do not go for an over-priced coffee with the stay-at-home members of The Gang. They do not wish to attend the morning’s parent-forum meeting as nagged to by The Organiser. They do not stick around to watch The Belligerent storm from the school office muttering “for Fuck’s SAKE!”. And they don’t lie in wait for The Fighty One, looking for the opportunity to get the first punch in, and to indulge in a legendary smackdown, which results in Fighty leaving the field with shattered teeth. No. The Quiet One just goes home.
Quiet Ones generally don’t want to get involved in all that bullshit. They arrive, drop the kids, and go after nodding a few hellos. Some Quiet Ones do not want to be approached during the School Run, others are happy to be conversational. Often, Quiet Ones will form genial alliances with only one or two other parents, and be perfectly amiable with everyone, but will generally stand apart from the larger groups. In rare cases, two or three Quiet Ones may form a Gang of their own. A Quiet One may well run a cake stall at a school fete, and may pipe up with an observant and well-thought argument in a meeting, and will often throw imaginative and legendary children’s parties, but overall will not make a huge fuss about anything.
But, just to make sure, keep them in your peripheral vision at all times.
Plus Side: Less likely to be an obnoxious prick
Minus Side: Not always approachable, and may be hard work to talk to. Usually known as _____’s Mum/Dad. Difficult to get to know.
HABITAT: Somewhere quiet