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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Things I'll Thank You Not to Do in Front of Me in the School Drop-Off & Pick-Up Line

Photo by Rachel Clarke

You’d be forgiven for calling me critical, ‘cause yeah, I am.
Deep down I do recognize that I’m a flawed human being in need of grace as deeply as anyone else. But in my moment-to-moment, workaday life, I also know how everything should go and what everyone should do every moment of every day, and if others would just toe the line I inscribe in the dirt our society would operate more efficiently and joyfully and the people would cry, “Thank you for sharing with us your abundant wisdom, O Woman of Great Understanding!”
I have yet to hear that though. From anyone.
But in an effort to improve the functioning of this chaotic world, I will now gently and humbly rebuke the following offenders of School Pick-Up and Drop-Off Line protocol.
The Lingerer
Oh, fretful, wistful, overprotective Mama or Papa. Once your child has exited the vehicle, PUT YOUR CAR IN GEAR AND DRIVE AWAY!
No cataclysm will befall your baby during the twenty-foot stroll between your van and the school door. See that teacher standing there? She’s not going to let your kid make a break for the 7-11; she won’t high-five a child abductor who pops out of the bushes; nor will she tell your little one to suck it up and get to class if your tot trips and falls on the sidewalk, thereby snapping off a limb or two.
Your child is safe on school property and will return to you in the afternoon.
The Parker
If you successfully procured a driver’s license in the United States, you must already know that a curb painted yellow is not a parking space. Doubly so when signs posted beside it read, “FIRE LANE”, and “SCHOOL PICK-UP AND DROP-OFF ONLY. NO PARKING”.
If business inside the school requires that you exit your vehicle, PUT YOUR STINKIN’ HONDA IN A PROPER PARKING SPOT AND GET IT OUT OF MY WAY!
The Double-Parker
You’re a jerk.
When you pull up on the left and make your kid navigate between the cars in the official line on the right, you are announcing that your time is more valuable than that of anyone who’s waiting in accordance with the established social contract, and also that you don’t really care if your kid ends up a smushy little grease spot between two bumpers.
You’re not that important. Believe it.
The Line-Cutter
You opportunistic little weasel.
My car is ten years old. I will not hesitate to grind its front quarter panel into your passenger side door if you snake up on the left and attempt to force your way in.
There’s a line. Get in it at the back, like the rest of us peasants did.
The Chauffeur
If your kid is older than four years of age and not disabled in any way, s/he can open and close the car door unassisted. This is a simple little exercise toward independence, and should any problems arise, the teacher attending the drop-off/pick-up line is there to help.
I aim for a fifteen-second maximum idle for drop-off: “Go! Go! People are waiting behind us! I’ve got places to be! Out the door! Move it!”
Honestly, it shouldn’t even be necessary to come to a full stop. Kids can hit the ground running. Ever seen one leap off a swing from fifteen feet in the air?
The Left-Exiter
If I were a person who would ever use an uncouth term like “WTF?!?” I’d say WTF?!?
Do you have too many children? Are you trying to prune your family tree? Did that kid really tick you off this morning?
Because have you seen the jerks and weasels who zip along the left lane like near-sighted NASCAR drivers who haven’t won a cup since 1997?
Boot your kids out on the RIGHT side of the car, people! We ditched Great Britain in 1776.
The Cell-Phone Aficionado
When I see someone operating a two-ton vehicle while simultaneously attending to the four-by-six-inch screen of a mobile phone, I am nearly overcome with the urge to pull a Towanda on his multitasking wazoo.
I will grant you a tip-of-the-hat for pulling over and ceasing to drive blind while you are consulting your GPS or checking your email, or talking to the best friend with whom you haven’t chatted in, like, twenty minutes. But I will also thank you to MOVE YOUR VEHICLE OUT OF THE DROP-OFF/PICK-UP LINE WHILE YOU’RE DOING IT!
You’re in my way.
And I don’t like things in my way.

Get more gentle, humble musings.
It’s better reading than the back of a cereal box.
(Well, occasionally. If you eat stuff like granola, Or oatmeal.)


  1. Hahaha. You are spot on! The crazy behavior of adults during morning drop off never ceases to amaze.

    1. Thanks, Laurie! Though I've heard that morning drop-off is nothing compared to the morning commute. Can't we all just get along?