Back­chat With Cat­boy

What's On (Abu Dhabi) - - CONTENTS -

Our man on the ra­dio is not cool for school.

SSeptem­ber used to be just an­other month to me. It was the month of ‘meh’. Sum­mer is over and Christ­mas is too far away to get ex­cited about. Be­ing forced to en­dure peo­ple’s hol­i­day sto­ries and pre­tend­ing to be in­ter­ested in their travel pho­tos has died down. Septem­ber was lack­ing in get-up-and-go. Then we had kids. Now Septem­ber is Ground Zero. It’s Def Con One. It’s D-Day. It’s lift-off! In fact, I’m pe­ti­tion­ing to have Septem­ber as the new Jan­uary. Like Jan­uary, Septem­ber is a post-hol­i­day month and, as a par­ent, Septem­ber is also a WE­HAVE-NO-MONEY month.

At least in Jan­uary you’ve got a good ex­cuse for be­ing broke. You’ve eaten to ex­cess, par­tied hard and bought loads of fun toys. Septem­ber has none of that.

The rea­son you’re broke in Septem­ber is kids. Let me walk you through the costs.

You’ve paid school fees (roughly the equiv­a­lent of keep­ing a fully state-funded com­pre­hen­sive school afloat for eight years in Eng­land). You’ve bought school uni­forms, which are ridicu­lous th­ese days. The PE kit isn’t just a PE kit any­more. Oh no. Now it’s a spe­cial kit for rugby, whites for cricket, a pair of skis and a ri­fle for the biathlon.

Next comes sta­tion­ary. I was re­cently in the sta­tion­ary aisle of a large su­per­mar­ket for an hour-and-ahalf as my near­est and dear­est filled a trol­ley. With a weary sigh, I joked to my wife that it must be called the sta­tion­ary aisle be­cause I’d been stood mo­tion­less in it for so long. The vir­tual right-hook I got from my wife’s eyes sug­gested she wasn’t in a ban­ter­ing kind of place.

Re­cently there’s been a lot of dis­cus­sion about the use of iPads in schools and I can tell you I was ve­he­mently against it. How­ever, once I re­ceived the ex­ten­sive (and com­pul­sory) list of pens, pen­cils, crayons, felt-tips, char­coals, paint brushes, mark­ers, high­lighters, white­board mark­ers, books, text­books, dic­tio­nar­ies (English, French, Ara­bic, Swahili and Klin­gon), art pads, sketch­books, can­vasses, pro­trac­tors, set squares, com­passes, rulers and sci­en­tific cal­cu­la­tors to be bought, I had a change of heart.

The iPad would cost less than the col­lec­tive sum of the pre­vi­ous para­graph and, more im­por­tantly, it’s a one-off pur­chase that is done in a mat­ter of sec­onds, rather than the slow mo­tion epic that sees 15 min­utes tick by as the choice is made be­tween two types of ball­point pen.

My point is this: if you’re sansen­fants, enjoy the ap­par­ent en­nui of Septem­ber be­cause one day it will no longer be the thumb-twid­dling dod­dle it once was.

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