You trudge slowly towards your destination, in a throng of people all going the same way.
It’s like a grim, almost funereal procession, as though you are all heading to the worst festival on the planet.
Glum faces are everywhere.
Then you reach your goal, and force you way inside, wishing your pram had spikes on the wheels, like in the good old days of Boadicea.
You fight through the crowd of people, desperately searching for that familiar name tag, that particular hook, so you can divest your child of his clothes, hang them up and get the hell out of here.
Random people are everywhere, who knows what they are doing. There’s a lady with crutches, but no kids.
A bald man in a nice suit says hello, and then hurries past. Who is he?
You find the peg you are after.
You hang up the clothes.
Where are his pumps? WHERE ARE HIS PUMPS??????
He can’t wear his shoes inside. He has to switch them over to plain black pumps.
Logic tells you that they should be under his coat, like everybody else’s.
Logic’s not in today though, he’s gone on holiday and taken Patience and Calm with him. It’s ok though, Stress is minding the shop.
You see his pumps. They are on the opposite side of the room. Of course they are, why wouldn’t they be?
You hurry over, shoving your pram out in front of you, defensively, cutting a swathe through the crowd, as the first tell-tale trickle of panic-sweat slowly dribbles down your back.
You sit your son down, put on his pumps and make to leave.
He starts crying.
You collar a teacher and gently nudge your son towards her, she takes him in her arms and makes cooing noises. ‘The sooner I’m gone, the sooner he’ll be OK’ you say to the teacher, as though in justification for this desertion.
You get out of there, heart-rate subsiding, and breathe in the cool, fresh air.
This is the school run in the morning – welcome to hell.
The worst part?
In just seven short hours, you have to go back…