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Excerpt From 'Crayons and Chaos'- Jailhouse Jaunt


26 October 2019


Don’t ask me how I managed to get roped into volunteering as an excursion chaperone. My rostered days off used to consist of staying in my pajamas all day, eating mint choc chip ice-cream, and watching chick flicks. Today, however, I found myself wandering through a museum with fifty eight-year-old kids.

Reese was mortified that I was there, and made absolutely no eye contact with me at all. I felt like the wicked stepmother from Cinderella. The stinky old school bus, was certainly no fancy horse and carriage.

After meeting at the school for an eight thirty bus, the kids were all given a bright pink wrist band, with their first name, and the mobile number of their teacher in case they got lost. It read, ‘If I am lost, please call this number’. I guess the shepherds had to have a plan in place, in case an unruly sheep decided to try and flee from the rest of the flock.

A full roll call was conducted getting on the bus, while on the bus, and again when getting off the bus. Where were they going to go while on the bus exactly? Out the window?

They were not allowed to bring any electronic devices on the excursion, and were told to keep the noise down to a minimum for the duration of the trip into the city. The poor kids were completely lost.

There was one little girl, sitting right down the front, with her head of soft blonde curls, buried in a book. She was the only one reading, but the sheer sight of her, caught up in the story on the pages, made me smile. She reminded me of myself when I was a child.

If I thought everything that had happened so far was odd, it was nothing compared to what happened when we had reached our destination. The children were marched into the big marble front foyer with military style precision. I very nearly jumped to attention myself.

There were two teachers and three parent helpers, one of them being me, of course. The kids were then broken up into five groups of ten. My first thought was one of slight panic when I realised I was being put in charge of ten children. I’m only starting to get my head around two, never mind five times that. All the adults were then handed a very long rope. I stood pondering what this could mean for a good few minutes. A game of tug of war maybe?

Nope, I was instructed to hold the end of said rope, and the children had to follow me, ensuring they kept one hand on the rope at all times. Everybody in the museum stared at us, staff included. I felt like a prison guard leading a bunch of convicts on a chain gang, to work on the railway tracks.

We had to stop every fifteen minutes, so the kids could take a sip of their water bottles. Were they worried about them becoming dehydrated walking around an air-conditioned building?

Most of the kids had no real interest in what we were there to look at. Although, a select few, were excited to see the big T-Rex in the dinosaur hall.

I feel sorry for kids these days, everything is so controlled. Give them a bit of slack in that game of tug of war. How else do they learn to behave and follow instructions, if we simply pull them in the direction, we want them to go.

I’m going to bed, as I’m buggered, but first, I need to find a band-aid for this bloody rope burn.

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