For the thousandth time, Friday brought with it the hope and anticipation of a joyful time called the weekend. The promise held good till Saturday morning. Dinner outside with family on Friday evening, watched Netflix till late in the night and woke up late on Saturday morning and enjoyed avalkki breakfast with family. Once Saturday started rolling, doubts started creeping into the mind, not without justification, that this was going to be yet another weekend whose promise was not going to be realized.
But today has been different. So, I just want to make a note of it.
This morning I had the duty of re-proving that we are still residents of San Jose so that my daughter can continue to go to the local school. The school district had sent a letter which listed in clear language all the documents (originals) that I needed to take to prove residency like Driver's Licence, latest Electricity bill, current property tax bill etc. They also had suggested alternatives if you did not have these exact documents.
This task was causing a bit of anxiety because I had to collect all these documents (in the last minute of course) and then there would be long lines. In this frame of mind, I took the documents and went to the school.
But I was very pleased with how it all turned out. As soon as I approached the office, a teacher wearing a bright T-shirt with the school emblems, walked up to me and gave me a small piece of paper and told me "If you organize all your documents in the order shown on this paper, it will make it faster" and then pointed me to the line where I should stand. I stood in the line listening to classical music playing on an IPOD connected to a speaker. As I moved to the head of the line, another teacher showed me to a table where there were 5 teachers, One of them verified all the documents, put them in a packet and on I went to another station where there were two girls (students) doing the next part. One of them took my packet and said in a confident voice "This is how it is going to work. I will send this to the back office where they will make copies of these documents and put them into a file. They will then call your name and give you back the originals. Until then please go and sit where all others are sitting".
I then went and sat in a group of 50 people - all parents, with heads buried in their smart phones. waiting for the originals to come back. I sat there watching with admiration as 4 or 5 young girl students all wearing school t-shirts came out of the back office every couple of minutes and in an authoritative voice called the names of parents to hand back the originals. The girls impressed me with their excitement about what they were doing. They were having fun too. One girl came out of the back office and called "Alex Chen" and immediately four moms walked up to her and the girl started laughing and said "Oh there are four Alex Chens ?" . One of the parents said "there are lot more than four". Then two girls came out together and one of them pointed to the other and said with a big smile "Calling the parent of this beautiful young lady" and a dad came running with a big laughter to collect his originals. In the process "he created a big scene with loud talking" much to the embarrassment of his daughter.
Eventually I got my originals after just 10 minutes. Every document was intact and I walked out feeling a sense of accomplishment.
I thought the whole episode was beautifully managed. It is easy to see how the American system inculcates a system of efficiency and process right from an young age.
Saturday has been - so far so good. I am sure the experience at the school contributed to it. But I am still not able to decide which was more brighter this morning - the sun or the smiles on the young faces.