On September 18, 2014, the world was my oyster. We had established a relatively firm date for returning to California, and I was in the process of planning what I wanted for my remaining time here:
I was going to take my French from “I can order at a restaurant,” to “I can order from the French menu at a restaurant.”
I was going to take enough pictures of cool Parisian scenes to fill every room in our house.
I was going to museum the shit out of this town.
Life, however, doesn’t happen in the neat little way you think. Instead of figuring out how to accomplish all these wonderful goals, I did something else. On September 18, 2014, I became president of the PTA of Malcolm’s school.
“Wha?” you ask? Wha, indeed. I never figured I would do anything like this, mostly because I never wanted Malcolm to go to a school where someone like me would run the PTA. Alas, the circumstances were not in my favor.
The school year started and there was no president. People suggested I do it, I demurred, citing my relative newness at the school and my general distaste for both work and large amounts of children. This upset zero people, as there aren’t many people at the school who were thinking, “You know what we need more of around here? Paul Schwartz.” Weeks into the year, I refused to acquiesce. I tried to cement my refusal by acting decidedly un-presidential. I told stories that about taking my pants off, and walked out of the room whenever the check came to the dinner table. When someone gently informed me that this was actually quite presidential, I knew I was sunk.
In the end I agreed to serve as president of the PTA, mostly because no one else would do it. Like a proctologist or the slaughterhouse meat rendering technician, I may not enjoy every aspect of the work. I will, however, concentrate on the positives:
I get to schedule things. I get to deal with crazy parents. I get to ask for money. Yay!
OK, so that may not work. I will, however, have the chance to rejoin the real world. It has been over 9 years since I have had to be part of any real organization. In that time, I have developed some bad habits, like grounding anyone who disagrees with me. I will do my best to overcome my disorganized, disheveled nature, but it isn’t going to be easy. I wonder if the well put together diplomats and executives know that, while I am planning activities for their precious little ones at school, I am wearing a skull hoodie and listening to Weird Al Yankovic. Frankly, I think the reintroduction into civilized society may be good for me.
To be sure, I will take some lumps. I already had a draft of an announcement laced with references to secret PTA missives and Dudley Moore returned for a re-write. Evidently, you can’t write for the real world like I write for this blog. You can’t swear in the PTA newsletter, either, how lame is that? (Fucking lame!) I’ll get there though.
I have 295 days until we go home. The year looks decidedly different than it did on on September 17. I won’t say that one year looks better than the other, much in the same way that parents won’t say that they love kid more than another. (Even though they totally do!) I will meet some new people, hopefully have some fun along the way and do my best to add a skull to the PE uniforms at school. Should be quite a ride, wish me luck!