Up until this year, I have only watched from afar as cars and trucks and minivans methodically lined up each day outside schools scattered around town. I’ve watched as cute kids with matching backpacks and lunchboxes and perfectly coiffed hair bounded out of the backseat of their minivans with the automatic sliding doors and up the stairs of their respective schools.
You see, up until this year, we have walked our daughter into school each day, and walked her out each afternoon. I’ve spent those few minutes alone with her reminding her to be good that day, eat her lunch, and play nice with the other kids. We’ve held hands on the way back out to the car while I’ve asked how her day went.
This year is different. This year, she started at a new school… a wonderful new adventure… a big kid school with new teachers and new classmates and new things to get used to… a school with something called “car line”.
… FULL SCREECHING STOP, Y’ALL …
Look, I’m an intelligent human. We’re (mostly) all intelligent humans. I’ve read the “rules” of the car line, but this is some stuff like I’ve never experienced before. These people are SERIOUS. There are people parked in the circle drive of the school at 2:00 pm for a 3:15 pm pickup. Here are a few “rules” I’ve learned about the car line in my short time of participation:
- Don’t take the extra 2 seconds to kiss your child hello or goodbye. Love, encouragement, and reassurance have no place here.
- Don’t talk on your phone, finalize your Shipt order, or play Animal Crossing while you wait. The car in front of you might move up 6″ and if you’re distracted, then everyone else doesn’t get to move up 6″ in a timely fashion.
- Don’t drive around the car line to park in a normal parking spot, unless you are willing to roll your window down and scream out to everyone what your intentions are as you move forward. Oh, it’s raining? Doesn’t matter. Cutter.
- Cars turning into the drive from both directions? You must use what I call the “fake smile zipper” maneuver. One car from the north, one car from the south, everyone fake smiles and waves, and so on.
- Getting out of your car is apparently the cardinal sin of the car line. Our daughter is 6 years old, autistic, and still in a 5-point harness car seat, but it took everyone a cool minute to figure out that I HAVE TO HELP HER. While commiserating with some coworkers about this very thing, I learned that some schools actually direct you to a whole different parking lot to buckle your children up. Bananas.
If 2020 has taught us anything, can it please be to just calm down?? Maybe, next year, think twice before scheduling little Johnny’s tuba lesson for Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:18 pm across town.
Never stop learning, y’all.