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 7, 2011
Most parents have been new to the car rider pick-up/drop-off line at one time or another, and I’ll be the first to admit that it can be confusing. I mean, who hasn’t found themselves in Jack Butler’s situation (a.k.a. Michael Keaton in Mr. Mom) at some point in her parenting career?
My daughter’s car rider line has its own minor intricacies. You enter the parking lot and loop around the back of the school in order to drop off or pick up your kids on the semi-circular drive in the front. The loop gives everyone room to get in and out without creating a major traffic jam out on the street. Of course, noobs always want to skip the loop and proceed directly to the semi-circle, and they generally have to be redirected by a teacher or other parent– but this is totally understandable.
What’s not so understandable is the fact that quite often, parents want to argue about it.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat behind a parent new to the car rider system who wants it explained in detail why she’s supposed to drive around the loop — like everyone else — in order to collect her child. But the front of the school is RIGHT THERE! But if she follows all the other cars, she’ll be driving BEHIND THE SCHOOL! But why can’t she just skip the loop and get someone to let her in WITHOUT going behind the school?! Don’t we realize how IMPORTANT she is?! Does the word ‘Mercedes’ mean NOTHING anymore?!
The last time this happened, that same parent mysteriously opted to remain in her car once she at last pulled up in front of the school– despite the fact that all of the parents in the cars around her got out, waited for their children to walk out to them, and strapped them into their backseats. When the cars started moving, she stayed put. Unfortunately, I was still behind her. A teacher walked up to her car window while 60 cars waited behind her.
“I don’t have my child,” she announced.
“You didn’t get out of the car and get your child?” the teacher asked.
My husband takes my daughter to school most days, so I’m generally spared the drop-off line, which is a good thing because on the days that I’ve been in it, it’s been even worse.
In the mornings, parents loop around, pull into the semi-circle, and wait for a whistle to blow, indicating that all cars have stopped and its safe for their kids to get out of the car. It’s a little confusing the first time, but pretty self-explanatory if you follow the lead of everyone else around you.
How do you explain, then, the parent last week who pulled up in the line, parked her car among all the others that were idling with parents and children inside, and left to walk her child into the school and onto her classroom?
That was a nice little ten-minute traffic jam.
Or the parent who just this morning waited for the whistle and then did … nothing? Once all the other kids were out and the cars began to move, she… woke up, I guess, and refused to budge until the line was stopped again and her son could get out of the car.
My biggest pet peeve, though, has to be the parents who can’t be bothered to wait in the morning drop-off line. They’re so very busy and so very important that instead, they pull up in a tiny strip mall parking lot across the street from the school and make their kids cross the congested road and hoof it up the broad front lawn– rather than wait the extra two minutes it would take to safely drop off their child right in front of the school’s double doors. My daughter says that the teachers tell the kids this isn’t allowed, but who’s going to stand in the strip mall parking lot and enforce it?
Actually, I have an answer to that. I’ve fantasized about creating a Car Rider Justice Squad. Composed of parents wearing leather jackets and berets adorned with dog ears (our school mascot), we’d teach these errant drivers a thing or two about car rider lines and how they work. Those who insist on Doing It Wrong might think we have no way of making them pay for their hookup line crimes, but I think we could come up with ways to make them squirm, particularly if we can get the experts on parental coercion involved… the PTO.
Who’s with me?
Image via Rachael Voorhees/Flickr