We live near a school. In fact, we are surrounded by schools, which is a good thing on the weekend, but not so great if you are looking for a car parking spot around pick up time.
From the warm comfort of my kitchen window, I like to observe the world going about its business. The kids strolling up, timing their entrance — not too early, not too late – chatting, smoking (I know, but what can I do!) and generally being cool (is that still a word that means cool?)
Germans don’t wear school uniforms. They don’t like to be seen as being too conformist. But they are. They have little secret rituals that provide them with the same comfort we Aussies enjoyed during our childhood. The Germans think they are being covert, but more and more, I am discovering their secrets…
If we can’t have school uniforms… then we will conform in every other part of our lives.
All the high school kids wear jeans. Jeans and boots… jeans and boots and short jackets – which in my opinion offer absolutely no protection against the bitter weather we have had lately. The boys all have floppy hair… it looks like The Beatles gone wild. I have visions of the ozone layer getting thinner each morning with the amount of product that is being used to hold those elaborate hair-do’s in place.
Eyeliner is very popular with the girls, and I suspect that there is a local shortage of blonding kits. Contrary to public belief, there are not that many blonde-haired, blue-eyed Germans.
But my favourite part is watching the boys trying do their impression of Ghetto Street Fashion. I love it. They saunter down the road with their freshly, laundered-by-mum, underpants showing, their shoelaces undone and their caps turned sideways. When Miss Eight and I are walking behind a gaggle of these Rapper Replicas, she will whisper to me, “Go on Mum, tell him to pull up his pants and get a job…go on!”
I truly believe she thinks that one day, I will grab one of them by the ear and give him a good wash.