I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
November 4, 2021
I’ve written more than a few posts over the years about a subject that’s near and dear to the hearts of parents everywhere: The car rider pick-up line.
As a work-from-home parent, I’ve never been able to come up with a compelling reason as to why I couldn’t take the kids to and from school every day — Trust me, I’ve tried. So, the line has been unavoidable and the absolute bane of my existence for twenty excruciating years.
I despise everything that comes with a car rider pick-up line: the traffic jams, the long waits, the clueless/entitled parents, the many, many rules, and the purse-lipped teachers and administrators who enforce them. (And I should add here that most of these teachers and administrators are perfectly lovely outside of the line — Something about car rider pick-up, though, seems to call forth even the most benevolent educator’s inner Gargamel.) The day I’m done with school chauffering duties forever, you just might hear through the grapevine that I’ve sent myself to Cancun to celebrate.
For now, though, I have at least another two years of the grind — and for the first time this autumn, I’ve encountered something that’s rocking my world. My son is attending a large public high school where the car rider pick up situation is very different from what I dealt with at the small private school he attended in junior high. Most notably, while there are clearly rules (form two one-way lanes in the loop in front of the school), no one at his new school is actually enforcing them. Not a teacher. Not a crossing guard. Not a parent. No. One. The end result is a sort of car rider pick-up free for all, and y’all?
Most of these high school parents seem to be as over the whole thing as I am and a large number of them will do just about anything to game the system, including parking in the handicap spots, cutting off other cars, driving on the wrong side of the road, and leapfrogging the line whenever possible. To me, these shenanigans seem bizarre and unnecessary since the entire line takes maybe five to ten minutes, max, if you simply get in it and wait your turn. But in the absence of enforcers, the whole thing has turned into one gigantic game of Frogger.
I’ve been trying to remain calm, whisper my mantra of ‘What does not kill me makes me stronger’ over and over again, and avoid making eye contact with the more competitive car rider picker-uppers, some of whom look like they’d be more than happy to take me down in a bar brawl if given the opportunity. And if the story ended here, well, there wouldn’t have been a story because I wouldn’t have bothered writing about it.
But the story doesn’t end here. It merely sets the scene for the man I’ve come to know as KNGCOBRA.
I call him KNGCOBRA because, well, that’s what’s on his license plate. If this particular car rider pick-up line is the Wild West, KNGCOBRA is most definitely its Jesse James. Why, you ask? Picture the following situation: You arrive outside the front doors of your kid’s high school to find two lanes of cars, all filled with parents who are clearly waiting for their teens to get out from school. If you’re a normal person, you’d simply take your place at the end of the shortest line, right?
Not if you’re KNGCOBRA.
KNGCOBRA isn’t going to mess with either lane, because a man with a license plate like that clearly has better things to do than wait in some stupid car rider pick-up line. Instead, KNGCOBRA slowly drives in the very, very narrow space that exists between the two lanes, from the back of the line all the way around to the front, and then proceeds to PARK DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE FIRST CAR IN LINE. He pulls this trick literally every time he comes to pick up his kid. It’s so audacious, so crazy, and so… opposite from everything we thought we knew about car rider lines that I can’t even be mad at him. I’m mute. I’m in awe. I’ll have what he’s having.
KNGCOBRA makes me question all my car rider pick-up choices over the years. How did it never occur to me that instead of getting in the back of the line, I could have simply driven to the parking lot’s exit and backed into a prime spot in front of the first car in the line? I think of all the time I could have saved and just want to weep with regret. Does KNGCOBRA know the secret to better, more efficient living? Because I’m thinking yes. Yes, he does. While I am sitting in the line day after day, KNGCOBRA is out there living his best life and then squeezing his way to the front of the line at the last possible second. It’s a lifestyle, man. Get on board.
Perhaps you think I’m giving KNGCOBRA too much credit. That may be. But I take my turmoil where I can get it, and right now, this is all I’ve got.