We live down the block from a boys secondary school – the one my boys now attend. Which makes for interesting mornings, noontimes and afternoons.
Imagine all these boys, either in grey sweaters and trousers (the younger set) or black sweaters and trousers (the older ones), swarming about with loaded backpacks and gym bags, some on bikes, a few dropped off by car, but mostly walking – either from their house, the bus, or the train stop. As the start of the day draws nearer, they move faster. At about 8:30 am, the few late ones are running.
The older boys get to leave campus for lunch, so about noon, the ones in the black sweaters and trousers come wandering out in groups, heading in different directions towards one of the corner shops with a deli. What impresses me is how quickly these boys can look disheveled – the sweater disappears, the tie’s askew, the shirttails blowing in the breeze. On a warm day, they’ll even lose the button down shirt to just the t-shirt underneath and then they’ll lounge on the grass in the green across the street from our house.
Come afternoon, they all start to leave – again, sweaters disappearing, shirts untucked, boys laughing, chasing each other, some riding double on a bike. Carrying big backpacks of books. Poor Sean, when he put on his backpack the first day of this school year, he nearly fell backwards from the weight. If he and Collin come out at the same time, they’ll try to beat the other one home, and they too are the boys laughing, chasing one another.
And sometimes, in the sea of tall boys in black and grey sweaters, there will be this tiny girl in her navy and light blue uniform – that would be Miriam walking home as well. But then for a couple hours after school lets out for the day, there will be stragglers, groups who stayed after to study or go to practice. Yes, the school offers an afternoon study group. You’ll see these boys, and other boys in school uniforms and girls in their knee socks and plaid skirts all over – at bus stops, on the train, at the shopping centre, sitting on some wall some where. I find it all really kind of fascinating – it’s still all new to me.
I’m not sure what I expected when we moved almost across from the boys college. I think I expected a lot more swearing. Lots of loud curse words being thrown about. That hasn’t happened – or at least, not in my hearing. Maybe a fist fight or the like. But no – it’s all been quite genial and pretty polite. Granted, it’s in the rule book that as long as you’re in uniform, you will behave properly or else. Hmmm…I wonder if that means at home too?