Higher and higher...
- They Might Be Giants - How Can I Sing Like A Girl?
On Friday I answered the phone to a man who stammered 'Is that Simon?'
'No,' I replied. 'Who's this?'
'Oh,' said the man. 'Is that you, Ian?'
'No, it isn't,' I said. 'Who is this?'
'Then it must be... um...' The nervous man paused. 'This is Chris McGuire. You sound just like your dad... um...'
It took me a few seconds to recognise the name combined with the unique manner of speech. Chris McGuire... A teacher from our high school... Simon's homeroom teacher one year, I believe. He was famous for wearing a labcoat all the time, and I seem to recall hearing that he is now the school's principal. Apparently he no longer wears the labcoat. Meanwhile, Mr McGuire continued umming and ahhing about my name.
'Dann,' I told him.
'Ah, of course!' he said. 'You sound just like your dad! Is he there?'
I told him that my father wasn't home, and was in fact out of town for most of the weekend. He wanted updates about what I was doing, despite the fact that I don't think I have ever spoken to him, and the rest of the family. He wanted to know what Sim is doing, and why he never visits. He advised me that Sim's friends Igor and Steve visit him once in a while, and I said that this was because they are nerds.
'No!' he exclaimed. 'They're good boys!'
The verbose, and mainly one-sided conversation continued until finally he got to the point - the school have constructed a fantastical new building atop the site of the old (but still less than ten years old) art, graphics and technology building - and it has been proposed that the building be named the 'Gardner Wing.'
'Or maybe a Gardner Garden would be more appropriate?' he giggled nervously.
Once the phone call was finally over, I sent a message to Sim updating him on the situation, and checked the weather forcast for the weekend ahead. You see, the weekend before school went back after Easter Sim and I took Ruja for a walk in the old school grounds, and found a badge for the greatest hits of some punk band neither of us had ever heard of, which I promptly raised to the top of one of the two flag poles I had never seen before. Sim proposed that we should fly a real flag from the pole reading 'Down With Homework,' - apparently a quote from The Simpsons - and a proposition he would later vehemently deny.
He continued to deny it when I arrived home later with a length of white material from Spotlight for the flag:
What we (but predominately I by this point) had planned was to have the flag raised to greet the students on their first day back, but the weather was not encouraging. Since the weather has this weekend been fine, and I was reminded of the school by the ludicrus proposal of the 'Gardner Wing,' I thought the conditions perfect for a flag raising ceremony today. So we saddled up Ruja and drove alfresco to the school, the flag flying gloriously in our wake, like some monster reincarnation of Horatio Alger. Sadly, there was a hitch. I'd figured we'd put the flag up this afternoon, but we were shocked to find the school yard swarming with students. Simon theorised that they, like his own students, were preparing for school production season. His own students are working on a production of Footloose, which I have been forbidden from attending.
'This could work in your favour,' Sim said brightly. 'You can put the flag up and they will get the blame. Just wait until Ruja and I are out of sight...'
'Blame?' I cried perhaps too loudly. 'They needn't think they're taking the credit for my flag. Never!'
So I returned this evening, under cover of darkness, noting how many of the classroom's lights had been left switched on over the weekend, and stealthily moved to the flag pole and raised the flag. I tied it off, and crept quickly back to my awaiting vehicle, disappearing into the night, cackling madly and self-righteously like Jack Skellington, and even utilisting his own expression: 'Won't they be surprised!?'
Unfortunately, there wasn't enough wind for the flag to dance dynamically upon for my picture, but hopefully tomorrow's weather forcast will keep its word and come eight.45 tomorrow morning students will arrive to see the 'Down With Homework' motto flying proudly as they enter the school grounds.