Daddy Talk: Beware the Car-Rider Line
One of the major adjustments of the last two months has been enduring the car-rider line when dropping off my three kids at school. This trek is not for the faint of heart. It requires courage, acumen, and the nerve not to lash out at any crossing guard or six-year old who happens to be in front of your vehicle at the wrong time.
When preparing to leave home for the car-rider line, the first thing you have to do is throw out all your basic knowledge of math and time. For example, at our house, my family lounges around from around 6:15 to 7:00 watching TV and nibbling at oatmeal until someone looks at the clock and screams, “Oh, no! We’re going to be late again!” At that time, we smear hair gel indiscriminately into kids’ hair, toss water bottles and sippy cups into the car, and pour all the oatmeal we were eating onto the carpet. Ready to leave the driveway. So, the lounging around takes 45 minutes, but the getting ready to leave only takes three and a half.
A similar misconception about time is that leaving your house two minutes late will only make you two minutes later going through the car-rider line. Wrong! Two minutes late equals getting to work twenty minutes late. This is because the car-rider line disrupts the space-time continuum. When you finally pull out of the elementary school parking lot, you feel like Rip Van Winkle coming out of the Catskills. What happened? How long have I been out?
Passing the time with kids in the car presents problems for many. I’ve heard that many families listen to certain music on the way; my wife, in fact, uses her iPod and lets each kid choose a song before getting dropped off. However, all of this just sounds like too much trouble for me because there’s never agreement about music and someone is bound to complain about another person’s choice. I solve this problem by putting on news radio or nothing. This allows me to enter enlightened political discourse with my two-year old. She believes that the Bubble Guppies should be running our nation rather than current slate of leadership that we have, and I can’t fault her reasoning.
Another good thing to remember while you’re sitting in traffic is that there is appropriate behavior—and no matter how annoyed you are with the situation, you’d better behave properly. One day early in the year, a frustrated driver decided to bypass a bunch of waiting cars by dangerously speeding along the shoulder of the road near the school. About a zillion cell phone cameras shot out of car windows, and videos of the guy hit Facebook before he even left the scene. We think the offender is still detained and awaiting trial. He’ll eventually be found guilty by a jury of car-rider parents and have to serve multiple life sentences.
An upside to the communal element of waiting endlessly in these lines of cars is that you’re bound to see people you know…and it really ticks them off if you look happy while they’re in misery. Whenever I see my friends looking forlorn or about to burst with road rage, I wave really big and dopey and act like car-rider lines are the best thing since the guillotine. Another fun activity is catching people not paying attention while driving—putting on their make-up or singing obnoxiously—and then staring angrily at them until they look your direction and wet their pants out of fear or embarrassment. We’re all in this together, after all.
Tim Krason lives in a local municipality that he will not name so that no one in the car-rider lines will recognize him as the writer of this article.