The protocols

Monday 19 August, 2013:

I wouldn’t say I spoke too soon, exactly – about the protocols at home. But I’m right about things not suddenly being perfect. This evening I have to go and exercise my authority to a shed full of boys. I give them a growling and tell them to go home.

It starts when I get back from school (after Staff Professional Development) – to find Tau and Leroi are already on the Cody’s. “We’ve only got a 12 pack,” Tau tells me, rather airily. “And no-one else is gonna be drinking.”

Raphael and Michael are the only others there – and are sober. So I go to the gym, a little pissed off that Tau and Leroi haven’t checked with me first about this merry little drinkup, even though it does appear to be a private one.


I come back out into dark and driving rain, have to stop at the supermarket on the way home – getting wet feet – and then arrive home to general drunkenness. To be fair, it’s still only Tau and Leroi that are drinking – but the atmosphere is just a bit too party-central for a Monday night, in my opinion. I’m about to take a shower when I hear cars and bikes in the driveway, and then some exuberant shouting. It seems like half of Municipal has turned up, so I go back out.

“Bloody hell, how many people are here?” I interrogate Tau, who is standing outside the shed with Michael and another boy I don’t know.

“But they’re not drinking,” protests Tau.

“I don’t care – it’s Monday night, and who told them they could all roll up over here?” I say, as a couple of other boys tumble out of the sleepout to see what all the fuss is about. “Who else’s parents let everyone just turn up like this? No-one’s, I bet – and I’m not even his mum!” I gesture towards the shed, where Tau has slipped inside.

“Yeah, you’re right, Miss,” say a few voices, one is Raphael’s, and Michael is also nodding in agreement.

“I’ve got work tomorrow,” I tell them. “I need to get an early night, and there’s too many people here, whether you’re drinking or not. It’s far too loud – and this isn’t a hang out pad. You guys are just taking advantage of Tau being drunk. I don’t even want them to be drinking on a week night, but when I got home it was already too late for that.”

“Fair enough, fair enough,” they mumble, as they begin to make their exit.

“Sorry, Miss,” Raphael says. He sounds genuinely apologetic. “I should have told them to go home.”

“It’s ok Raphael,” I say, wearily. “Tau’s not thinking, cos he’s drunk. It isn’t your fault if boys turn up.”

“We’ll keep it quiet now,” he says. Just me and Michael – I’ll make sure the others go home.

“Good boy,” I tell him.


And then I go back inside. I feel really fucked off. I think if anyone else turns up I’m gonna have to go out there again. Hell, I don’t need this shit on a frickin Monday, and Tau should know it.

But he’s been really good… yeah, Tau has been trying really hard, and like I said, it was never going to be perfect all of a sudden. So I’m ok. Even though I think he should back me up when I tell people off, not just disappear into the shed. But what I think and what Tau does don’t always coincide. He’s got his issues and I’ve got mine. And we do our best, I guess, with it all.


Tuesday 20 August:

9 Social are ok, the nicest class of the day. Deshaun touches my heart by doing all his work (and then losing the plot, but never mind). He’s one of those kids who incurs a slew of pastoral notes from teachers (“teachers” that is – not me) for his every indiscretion – in kind of a Nio-ish way, if we’re talking old-school. But we’re not. I don’t get attached, these days. Slade’s my only attachment, at school.

Then I have 12 History, who kind of suck as an ensemble – really because of that table of prima donnas. I take a laissez-faire approach though. I can’t be bothered making an effort, that’s why.

A few years back, I would have tried to find some way of achieving détente at the very least. I don’t know… maybe even last year. Nowadays, honestly, it doesn’t make the priority list.


I get home and Sheree is there.

We sit and talk a bit, kind of ‘carefully’. I don’t think either of us knows quite what to say, or how to begin saying anything. She tells me she’s looking at houses, she’s going to see one on Thursday. Before she leaves, she asks if I can write her a reference, to show prospective landlords. So I type one up, I’ll print it out tomorrow and give it to Tau.

I wouldn’t say it’s awkward between us, exactly. It’s more… a little bit sad. I guess we can’t go back to how we were. But I miss Sheree, I miss being ‘close’ with her, or at least thinking it could be like that. But you know, it is what it is.  When it comes down to it, it’s Tau I’m here for. And I feel a kind of sensitivity towards Leroi, too, and I’m aware that he’s got very few obvious supports in this whole situation. So I’m ok with him being here as well. But I can’t let Sheree lean on me, or on this place, in the same way. I know if I let her, she’s going to use me, even though it’s not like she means to. It’s just the way she’s used to playing it, that passive, helpless strategy. The boys (on their own) are more… resilient, is how I’d describe them. I can live with that, but I can’t live with passivity and the knowledge that other people’s path of least resistance is my hard road. So I’ve had to make it clear. And yeah, it’s a little bit sad, but that’s the way it is.


Wednesday 21 August:

School’s.. ok. Ish. 12 History doesn’t go great. The ‘mean girls’ get lippy. Nellie swears at me, the silly little bitch, and I march her down to Chloe’s and deposit her there. She tries the “Is it my turn to talk now?” restorative claptrap that they’ve all learned to parrot since primary school, which just makes me pull rank. For fuck’s sake, I think. I’m the adult here. It’s not up to you, little girl. And the thought makes me sigh, because school’s so ridiculous, honestly, it is.

I go back to class without Nellie and try to be calm, but truly – the bullshit attitude that school produces, literally produces.


Thursday 22 August: 

I don’t bring school work home. If I can’t do it at school, it can wait. Even marking. But at the same time, I don’t like being unprepared for class. So I get stuff done fast on site, multi-tasking my way through the day.

Pulling into the driveway, the tired and happy, relieved feeling of it being nearly Friday, becomes slightly tense again, at the sound of ‘boys in the shed’. It doesn’t sound like a lot of people. But even one or two visitors puts me on incipient alert.

Boys in the shed. Fucks me off that they think it’s ‘Cluzo’s place’. Because it is, but only for Tau. What I mean by that is, everything has to come through me, it doesn’t pass down through Tau to anyone else. And so there.




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