Make Way For Canada Geese & Those Darn School Supplies Lists
What to love and loathe about living in East Greenwich this week.
RANT: I know. I can’t get off of the school thing. But here is one more thing I don’t get about schools these days – the supply list.
I am sure these existed back in the dark ages when I went to school. But I am also sure that they did not require breaking into the college savings account in order to fund. I vaguely remember some sort of book bag (translation in today’s language: backpack), a couple of Number 2’s (get your mind out of the toilet – I’m talking pencils), a few pens and lined paper notebooks. We didn’t buy book covers (unless you were Karen Widmeyer whose parents bought her EVERYTHING) – we made them out of brown paper grocery bags and then – this was the fun part – decorated them. That’s it. Some of the cool kids had lunchboxes with Wonderwoman and the Bionic Man (dating myself again), but the rest of us took the brown paper bags we didn’t use for book covers and stuck our sandwiches in them. Everything else was supplied by the school.
Depending on the school, today’s school lists are sometimes ridiculously long and sometimes ridiculously specific. I get that it is all suggested. And I love that some require a smile.
But is Kleenex really better than the generic brand? And is Crayola the only coloring game in town?
Of course we parents all get everything on the list down to the last glue stick (doesn’t this stuff cause more illness or is that just a rumor?). After all, we don’t want our kid being branded “the one that didn’t bring in ...”
Also, it bothers me that we are all buying this stuff individually. I am sure there is some bulk price the schools could get and then we can buy the supplies – Crayola brand and all - from the schools. They can call it a Supplies Fee and we can call it a day rather than waste precious summer hours dragging our kids on a wild goose chase through all the big box stores on Bald Hill Road searching for the right number pencils and where the best deal on notebooks is.
I am also thinking that if the school acts as a middleman, some of those supplies might no longer be so necessary. It is a lot easier to make the list than stock the list. I know when I am shopping for food, if I can’t find something like, say Nutella (which I really can never find consistently – where do they shelve it?), I scratch it off the list and decide we can live without it for another week or two or ten.
I want to make it clear that I in no way blame the teachers for this gripe. I am the child of a teacher. I know that many teachers buy a lot of supplies out of pocket as well. Nor do I claim to be an expert in how many colored pencils (at a friend’s kids school in N.Y., they were specifically banned from getting the Rose Art brand so I guess we have it easy) thirty 5-year-olds can go through in a school year. I am sure there is some kind of new math at work here that I am not getting. But still, perhaps this whole thing needs a recalculation.
One more thing – if you are one of those parents that I saw waaaaaaay back in July stocking up on your supply list, I don’t like you. If there was ever a time for denial, it is now. I know, you are all smug right now and enjoying the fact that you don’t have to wrestle with the rest of us to get that last marbled notebook but really, who thinks about this stuff in July? That’s like buying Christmas cards in October. Oh wait, you probably do that too.
RAVE: Why do Canada geese – I have been corrected and told they are not Canadian as they are not residents of Canada – though I am not totally convinced; I’m on to the Canadians - they are secretly training these birds as part of their “WAMSTABWHHAGH” or “We Are Morally Superior to America Because We Have Healthcare And Great Hockey” campaign to infiltrate the US and mess it up with goose droppings ... anyway, as I was saying, why do these birds cross the road?
To get to the other side, of course. (We know they can fly because they have been spotted flapping as high as Mount Everest yet apparently, because they’re grazers, they prefer to be pedestrians.)
This morning, I was (trying) to turn left at the crowded 401/Route 2 intersection when all traffic stopped. Not because of some – as my friend Joy says, “doomoss” (sound it out) blocking the box - but to let a group of feathered flaneurs head over to ... where? Panera’s for a coffee break? Gold’s Gym for a workout? Dave’s for a little take-out sushi?
At any rate – or rather, at none, because they were in no hurry, it took a good five minute for them to leisurely amble across six lanes of traffic. One spread out its wings and stood in the middle of the road like a school crossing guard until most of the flock was safely across. And not a car honked, inched forward or cut into another lane. Bliss.
And now back to our regularly scheduled programming…