Wigwam in a flap over bare cheek

16th May 2003 at 01:00
A tough week at the chalkface. Threshold rejections, 50 Ofsted lesson plans and hiding Dave Mania from the inspectors. I need a break. The weekend begins here. The wife and I zoom off to our favourite Thai restaurant. A huddle of youths lurk outside. Chillin'.

I recognise them. Eighth-year pupils. I try to duck their gaze.

"Wigwam! Wigwam!"

"Good evening boys." I essay a whey-faced smile. The air turns blue. We go in to join the hushed clientele. One is a pupil's parent. I try to duck her gaze. We tuck into tom yum soup. I hit the Merlot. There's a gasp.

"Just pretend it's not happening," mutters the wife.

"What isn't?" I turn round. There is a a bare bottom outside the window.

Pale and wan in the streetlight, it shimmies and wobbles. It belongs to a hooded youth. Our waiter shoos off the errant arse. It retreats into the murk to return like the creature from the blue lagoon.

The parent squawks: "Do something - you're a teacher!"

I go deaf and guzzle the Merlot.

"He's from your school!" The parent suggests that I am complicit with Wobblebum. That this bulbous atrocity is somehow a consequence of left-wing loony teaching. She shoos it off. It fades again. We tuck into the main course, not teachers but ordinary people who discuss French cinema and Wayne Rooney.

The antic arse returns. It's hopeless. I consider an apology - he's playing charades. He's an avant-garde mime artiste. It's a symbol of working-class oppression. It's a ...

BUM.

"It's still there. You're a teacher - do something!"

We abandon the exquisite Goong Gang Som and pay the bill.

"You must recognise him!" Erm...

"I blame the teachers."

"So do I!" I thunder. We slip out, cursing in the cold night air. What a bummer.

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