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So what is a newyorksubalien...

I’m a New York subalien. Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly legal – it’s just my loving other half, official alien that he is, comes with a so-called “supermodel” visa that apparently denotes him as one possessing extraordinary abilities (falling asleep within 5 minutes of sitting down in front of the TV, remembering only 2 of the 3 items on a mental shopping list and not knowing where the dishwasher tablets live after 2 years in our apartment are just some of his many talents).

The same visa leaves me extraordinarily unable to possess that most American of entities - a “social” i.e. a Social Security Number. Calling it a “social” makes it sound like the password to some party-filled, fun-packed lifestyle. That’s not far wrong as without these all-important 9 numbers, you pretty much can’t have a lifestyle at all - no bank account, no credit card, not even a driver’s license.

So what does a subalien do? Well, like over sub life forms waiting for evolution to give them a leg up on the ladder of existence, I have plenty of time to observe and these, dear reader, are my observations…..

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Street-walking and soliciting: getting involved in your kid’s school New York-style

It’s the start of the New Year and I’m bracing myself for my annual January regime that involves mental anguish, physical exertion but which hopefully will lead to gains rather losses – it’s soliciting time!

No, I’m not switching professions so to speak. I’m just being an active parent in my children’s school (bet that’s confused you even further). One of the quaint customs of New York private schools is that while you obviously pay no mean sum for your darlings’ education, you obviously don’t pay enough as during the year you are also asked by doting school volunteers like me not to be mean and to give a further donation to the school foundation.

Where I grew up, the only thing I understood by foundation was the ubiquitous cosmetic slapstick, preferably in bright orange, which they may still be wearing today on the streets of my home town. My current understanding of foundation isn’t that different ie it’s still of the “make up” variety – only this time making up the gap between tuition fee revenues and ideal targeted school expenditure.

To most terrestrials, the obvious answer would be to either raise school fees or spend less. But as with eye-boggling garage fees, life-shortening street-cleaning parking shuffles and Hallowe’en doggy parades, what to us aliens, sub or otherwise, appears to be beyond belief is seen as totally normal to New Yorkers.

Still at least I’ve got the street-walking out of the way for this year. This other admirable tradition is designed for the safety of our children and involves parents from two families patrolling the streets around the school at going-home time looking out for “incidents”.

Given the number of things you cannot do specified in the release form you sign before you head out (eg tell anyone when to cross the road, direct ambulances to the nearest hospital), the most likely incident is your own anguish when your child looks the other way as you walk by in your nifty, bright yellow “Security” tabard.

The sacrifices we make for our children's education -  if my mother only knew...

Creative Commons License by Caroline Eagles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.