Vivian uses a common sense approach to explore the social issues of today.
If your kids are walkers or bus riders, you may never have experienced the sheer bedlam of the school pick-up line. It is a hornet’s nest, and it can be tricky to avoid getting stung. Having a clear understanding of the parent-types you encounter each day may help you avoid a fracas, curtail the surge of venom through your veins, or safeguard you from making the common blunders.
Pick-up time coincides with grandpa’s nap time, so if you regularly send your dad to pick up the kids, make sure the alarm on his cell phone is set for five minutes ahead of dismissal. Spare him the embarrassment of angry honking horns or the hesitant wake-up tap on his window by the school aide. Avoid over-heating. Warm days coupled with boredom may lull you to sleep, and over-dressing in winter months produces a similar effect. If reading makes you drowsy, try passing the time with a crossword puzzle, word find, or anything that engages your mind to avoid a visit from Mr. Sandman.
The Rock Star
Somewhere in line is the parent who tries to channel Eddie Van Halen. If you are from a culturally diverse neighborhood, blaring music belted out in a foreign language is even worse. Realize everyone has different tastes when it comes to music, and no one wants to hear yours.
The Screen Junkie
Why is there a football field length between your car and the next? You have gotten too enamored with your smart phone. Between Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you have warped from the pick-up line to an alternate pixelated universe. Before someone calls your proctologist to find your head, put down technology and start moving.
The mom with the minivan exits her vehicle to unbuckle her wailing infant from the back car seat and bring him to the front to be cradled and comforted. Despite picking her other children up at the exact same time every day, this mom decides to wait until the pick-up line is in full-swing to return her baby to his car seat. With so many belts, buckles, and gizmos to confuse even the most accomplished engineer, mom can’t safely harness baby for at least 60-seconds, which feels equivalent to ten dog years to those waiting behind her. Disgusted by the mom’s lack of preparedness, the SUV behind her decides to go around and close the gap. Suddenly, sweet, doting baby mom morphs into Beelzebub. Determined to regain her place in the queue, she barrels towards the SUV, Cruella DeVil style, and her nosedive comes one hair away from knocking off its front bumper. SUV parent coolly lowers her window and shouts, You don’t hold up the line for your kid, lady! The menace is forced to fall behind her. A rational person would feel guilty for dawdling and interrupting the line flow, but a menace always justifies her idiocy.
The scaredy-cat never takes chances. If the car parked in front of him is unoccupied, he will still be afraid to sashay around it in the event someone might materialize behind the steering wheel. Getting behind a scaredy-cat means you have time to read a 500-page novel and enjoy a deluxe spa treatment before you can leave the parking lot. Scaredy-cat will linger at the exit, afraid he might run down a crossing guard, loitering student, stray dog, or litter, and he is immobilized by the sight of an oncoming vehicle ten miles down the road pummeling towards him at a wreckless 20 mph.
The Early Bird
It’s important for some people to be first, even if it means arriving for pick up an hour early to save five minutes waiting in line. If that is you, it’s time to get a hobby, a job, or a life.
Aside from announcing whom you are picking up to the aide on the radio, there is no need to engage staff in conversation. Yet, some parents do despite the Grand Canyon sized chasm between them and the next vehicle. Stop talking.
As your kids spring into your vehicle, you should already be moving. If they aren’t toppling over while groping for a seat belt, you are doing it wrong. Lingerers are also too courteous to pedestrians. You can’t politely wave everyone across the street and clog the flow of the line.
The Jedi Master
Unlike all the other padawans in line, the Jedi Master uses the force of linear motion correctly and avoids the dark side of vehicular stupidity.
Set an Example
If the school pick-up line has you screaming, Serenity now! like Seinfeld’s Frank Costanza, do a quick self-assessment. Are you avoiding the common pitfalls yourself? Would ramming the person in front of you help spread the word on good pick-up etiquette? Do your part to end the suffering.
Share Your Story
If you have an amusing vignette to share about your experience in the parent pick-up line, please share in the comments below.