Tuesday, February 13
As I walked Skye down the steps to her school she leaned over the wall and saw the playground. “Oh no, Mummy! What’s happened?” I looked and sighed. The slide and climbing frame had been cleared from the centre and stacked up at the edge. The trikes and cars had been put away and there was a distinct air of abandonment to the play area.
The school caretaker was standing at the bottom of the steps so I asked him when the playground would be back in use.
“Eeh, not for a while,” he replied shaking his head. “It’s winter you see. The mothers wouldn’t like it if the kids were running around outside, they could catch all sorts of illnesses.”
“What a load of rubbish!” I answered indignantly. “Fresh air is much better for them than being cooped up all day in a stuffy classroom.”
“Maybe where you come from, but here it’s different,” the caretaker told me, lighting up a cigarette. “Here the kids need to be kept wrapped up warm, and the teachers can’t be expected to put all those hats and coats on all of them so that they can play outside. The mothers wouldn’t like it anyway.”
“But it’s not cold!” I exclaimed, “it’s 15° outside and sunny! This is Southern Italy, not Greenland! Where I come from kids go outside and play every day, whether its raining or snowing and it doesn’t hurt them one bit. I am convinced that the kids are always so ill here because they don’t get any fresh air.”
The caretaker exhaled a stream of smoke and looked at me. I saw that none of what I said had registered. He thought I was the stupid one, wanting my kid to play outside in the winter. One more try, I thought to myself.
“So, when will the playground be opened then?”
“Aah, well that all depends. After Easter probably, if the weather is OK.”
“After Easter? But that’s in April! And anyway the weather is perfectly OK now, it’s warm, it’s sunny…”
“Eeh, but it’s winter you see. We can’t let the kids out to play, the mothers wouldn’t agree.”
I give up and drop my daughter of in the classroom.
at 1:14 PM