One of the highlights of my day is picking up my sons from school and hearing about their day. However, first I must suffer through the wretched car line. Ask any parent today what "car line" is and they will tell you it is the dreaded parade of automobiles driven by those dropping off and picking up their children from school. But, look up the word "carline" in the dictionary and you will discover that this old Scottish word means a hag or a witch.
Anyone see a connection between these two definitions? Having to be subjected to the daily "car line" will turn any person into a "carline!" Sounds too harsh? Read my top ten gripes about this daily ritual and you be the judge!
1. THE RUDENESS: Seventy-five percent of parents have completely and utterly forgotten one basic rule of driving! The MERGE! Let's review, shall we? The word merge means to blend together, to become combined or united. In the driving arena that means alternating one car from this lane with one car from that lane. End of discussion, please be courteous.
2. THE COMPETITION: There are the moms who always get there first. If you're one of these moms, you know what I'm talking about. It doesn't matter how early I might arrive. I am never more than sixth in line. I'm beginning to wonder if these moms even leave campus after drop-off or if they just stay on school grounds all day. I'm convinced that I see a look of smugness on their faces as I drive by to take my place at the back of the line.
3. THE STALKERS: Something about the car line makes many people forget all common civility. Every day there are a couple of parents that arrive seconds before dismissal begins, drive right past those of us patiently waiting on the side of the road, and CUT us - arriving at the entrance just in time for the gates to open. Are you kidding me??
4. THE SWEAT: I live in South Florida - so if I arrive early and need to wait for any length of time, it is going to be HOT! I occasionally give up a prime spot in the car line to park further back in the shade. Which brings me to #5.
5. THE WASTE: There are those who think nothing of waiting in line for 20-30 minutes (or more!) with their cars running and their air conditioner on! Am I the only one who feels this is wasteful? Do you know what you are doing to the environment, not to mention your wallet? I have a two minute rule. If I am going to have to wait more than two minutes for the line to begin moving, I turn my car off!
6. THE HOLDUPS: I finally make it to the front of the line, my sons get in the car, and then - I wait some more!! Why? Because the kid who belongs in the car in front of mine, feels it is okay to dilly-dally, talk to friends a minute longer, or get in one (or two) more throws of the football. Hey, kid! You are holding up the entire process - move it!
7. THE NON-MOVERS: The front of the line starts to move and the car in front of you doesn't. Pay attention, move up before THE STALKERS (see #3) sneak in!
8. THE USERS: I'm referring to devices. Get off your cell phone, please, and stop texting - pay attention to the teachers directing traffic before you run over my kid! Thank you!
9. THE TRAFFIC: Like so many of my friends in the area, my sons go to a school that does not offer transportation. But, many others do have the option of using the buses provided by the district, but opt not to. Is this just a FL thing? Needless to say, with all these extra cars on the road, traffic is atrocious! Every day I need to strategically plan my route avoiding all other school zones and their much larger car lines that spill into the streets. I made the mistake one time (that's all it will take) of going past another school at morning drop-off which took me over 10 minutes to get passed almost making my sons late. (Note: I don't blame these parents, I probably wouldn't want my sons riding the school bus either.)
10. THE INCONSIDERATE: I know you may have a quick question for your teacher or school administrator, but please do not attempt to have an entire Parent-Teacher Conference while in car line. Make an appointment!
I'm not quite sure why the school car line process needs to be as miserable as it is, but for those that have to suffer through it day after day, like I now do, I am sure you can relate to some, if not all, of my list. I am learning to time my arrival perfectly. Yesterday, I arrived AFTER the line had already started moving and I was able to eliminate many of my gripes! Happy Day!
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