I arrive at the gate slightly out of breath because I'm convinced, no matter what time I leave the house I'll be late. I arrive early as usual, there's another eager beaver already waiting. I’m about to enter the playground when I notice something attached to a branch swinging in the wind. I followed the thread back to the source. The spider is huge! it’s maybe 7 meters up but I can see it’s massive. It’s silk strands caught the wind becoming a sail. I noticed the other woman watching this spider as well, both of us occasionally glancing over to the main gate to see if anyone was approaching and gesturing back at car sized spider in the tree above us. I wondered if the spider had done this trapeze act on purpose and that’s how they travel about, like really tiny Tarzans.
Normally I would be straight on google to find out if this spider was a seasoned voyager or some sort of maverick experimenting with migration but ever weary of the school safe guarding rules I refrained and just stayed with the question. Which then lead me to realise that I didn’t actually know if he was trying to leave or had just sailed in. The spider was in the middle, some thread was attached to the tree while the rest made the sail. Maybe this was all an awful accident unfolding super slowly before our eyes and we just stood watching while it pulled itself from the brink of death. Whatever was happening I was willing the spider to succeed. Eventually more people started arriving and began to get drawn into my spider theory. The spider managed to scramble safely onto the leaves before the kids came out, which came as a relief because I was about to start thinking of ways to explain to Goose why we were hanging around. I don’t think he would have appreciated my spider story and would have run off in search of a wall to climb.
The reason I'm sharing this is because firstly, I look for the spider every school run since. But also because it’s the first time in that playground I felt like me, I wasn’t masking or pretending to be interested in the parental one-up-Manship. It levelled the playing field, it caught people off guard. It's one of my favourite things because our automatic reaction is to join in the small talk even though it's boring as hell and no one likes it. I vow to keep starting conversations I find interesting because I can’t last 6 more years of beige conversations.
so that’s the story of the spider and the small talk. Do you agree, should we keep the small talk or should we feel more comfortable stepping outside social protocol?