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.
September 26, 2012
My suburban neighborhood has a few hot spots– places where you’re guaranteed to know pretty much everyone. They include the local pub, the Kroger, the YMCA, the Dollar Tree (yes, we’re highbrow), and the car rider pick-up line at my kids’ elementary school.
Generally, I consider this small-town atmosphere to be a good thing– an ‘I’m-raising-my-kids-in-the-right-place’ thing. But like anyone else, I have moments when I’d rather not see a bunch of people I know. Luckily, Nashville is a big enough town that I can drive ten minutes outside my comfort zone and shop and eat at the same types of places with a greater degree of anonymity. Except when it comes to the car rider pick-up line, anyway.
No matter how antisocial I’m feeling, I can’t avoid the line. The kids. must. be. picked. up. Trust me, I’ve tested this theory and faced some very cranky teachers as a result. And so I endure this daily gauntlet of meet-and-greets, cringing all the while.
What makes the line so excruciatingly social is that it’s a lasso-shaped loop that forces you to pass every other car in line at close range before taking your place in a vast circle of vehicles. I know most of the people inside these minivans and SUVs. They include neighbors, church members, media colleagues, acquaintances and good friends. But I can’t always see their faces through the windshield. Sometimes, I can make out a disembodied hand frantically waving at me through the glass. I wave back, having no idea who the person is, or if it’s actually me they’re waving at. And since one of my great downfalls is that whatever I’m thinking/feeling is undeniably stamped across my face, here is what the other person sees…
If this doesn’t say “Hey! I’m so very, VERY happy to see you!” I don’t know what does.
I’ve been on the receiving end of this experience as well. I’ll see a friend, a pretty good friend, drive by. I’ll wave. She’ll look at me. SHE’LL LOOK RIGHT THROUGH ME. She’ll keep on driving. As she passes me, I’ll sit in my car, stung, trying desperately to figure out what I’ve done to deserve her cold shoulder. Did I write something offensive on Facebook? Did she hear something bad about me? Did she simply sit up in bed this morning and realize with utmost certainty that Lindsay Ferrier is a total loser? COULD SHE NOT SEE ME THROUGH MY WINDSHIELD?
This final, most obvious possibility generally doesn’t occur to me for several days.
Now you understand why I hate the line so much.
And the social gauntlet is just part of the problem. Since I usually spend 20-30 minutes sitting in the line, I often use the time to read or work on a Bible study. Over the last few years, as many of you know, I’ve done several Beth Moore studies. And they are INTENSE. The car rider line is when I do the study’s homework, which sometimes makes me cry. Like, hard.
In my car.
In the line.
While everyone watches.
And that makes me the unaccountably bitchy, crazy crying woman in the car rider pick-up line.
BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE.
Yesterday, I was running a bit late, and ended up taking my spot farther back in the line, beside a shady grove of trees. As I always do, I rolled down all my windows and turned off my car. I checked my e-mail on my phone, then glanced up to find that a swarm of mosquitoes had joined me. Apparently, the grove of trees beside my car was a popular West Nile gathering spot. Frantically, I batted at the mosquitoes, forcing as many of them outside as I could. Then I rolled up all my windows to keep more mosquitoes from getting in.
This left me with about a dozen mosquitoes trapped inside my car, feasting on me. And I have to tell you, next to ticks, hornets, roaches, bedbugs, wasps, tsetse flies, and scorpions, there’s NOTHING I hate more than mosquitoes. I spent the next ten minutes swatting them and slapping them and squealing and stomping.
And then I happened to look up and see a sea of faces in the car rider pick-up line, all staring blankly at me.
Known hereafter at my kids’ school as the unaccountably bitchy, crazy crying, slapping, shrieking, squealing, stomping woman.
Did I mention I hate the car rider pick-up line?