by , under life

Walking home from swimming I passed a woman sitting on a street corner with a clipboard. Ooh, traffic counting, I thought– that’s on my list of Strange Jobs I’ve Had. I said hi to her and asked “do you count pedestrians, too?” but while she was perfectly willing to count me that wasn’t what she was sitting there for: she was a judge for the practical traffic exam for top-of-elementary-school students.

As we were talking a girl in a fluorescent yellow jacket cycled by, stopped, and the woman complimented and hugged her: it was her own daughter. Shortly afterwards, a boy in a fluorescent jacket came round the corner, put out a hand in a hurry, shouted “I’ve made only one mistake yet!” and went on.

“If you walk that way you’ll probably see the next judge too,” the woman said, and indeed, at the roundabout there was another woman with a clipboard. I asked her “do you mind if I take a picture for my blog?” and she said she didn’t but she couldn’t speak for the candidate or the candidate’s parents (that’s why I took him from the back; if you are the candidate, or the candidate’s parent, and you object, please communicate and I’ll blur him or remove the picture altogether).

traffic exam candidate and judge

I remember my own traffic exam, fortymumble years ago in Utrecht, then already larger and busier than this provincial town is now. I was one of three candidates who had the maximum points and each of us got a mug and a scarf from the local Red Cross. For this exam, the first judge told me, a uniformed traffic police officer will come to the school to present the certificates.

Prima tells me that she missed the practical exam because it was Holy Thursday and she was in church; not implausible because it’s likely to have been in a year with 4 or 5 weeks’ difference. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing made Secunda and Tertia miss it.

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