By Leslie Postal
One of my friends posted this on Facebook last week: "Love car line on the first day of school....said no mother ever." Granted, the first day is usually the worst, but the school car line seems to be a source of widespread, year-round aggravation for many parents.
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The process itself - idling in your car or inching forward - can make anyone impatient, but what seems to drive most people crazy are other parents, the ones who don't follow the car line rules.
They are parents who stop the car and get out, have their children exit on the wrong side (creating safety hazards as well as traffic snarls) and seem to use the pick up line as the time to search for homework, lunches or shoes. There are also those who don't follow the school's rules, thinking they can enter and exit the line freely when and where they want.
The mother who made an illegal left turn into the parking lot at my daughter's school - and therefore cut into the line ahead of those waiting where they should - earned a special sort of scorn from my on-drop-off-duty husband.
There is no shortage of online outrage about the car line.
One post on "Ten Commandments of Car Line" offered gentle, but pointed reminders on how navigate the weekday hell.
"Thou art not special," it read. "Thy children shall know the word 'hurry' and move accordingly." And also, "Honor thy school rules."
This post on "School Loading and Unloading Etiquette 101" offered its own suggestions: "I realize that some parents may see folks they know while waiting in the school parking lot. That's great. Why don't you guys meet for coffee and play catch up. Let's not do it in the driveway, K?!"
Another post on "student drop-off etiquette" veered into full-on profanity, but I think I can safely share a little of writer's outrage.
"When you pull into the drop-off area, your child should be ready to get the (bleep) out of the car....I'm sure you are very busy. I bet you are even too busy to wait in this stupid car line. Guess what (bleep)? We all are."
Need more proof of car line angst? Try "Why the School Car Line Made Me Lose My Faith in Humanity" or "Navigating the dreaded school car line".
And yesterday I saw this comment on Twitter: "The school car line makes me wanna shoot myself and crash into half of u people."
I wish I had some solution. But the parents who commit car line sins (probably a tiny slice of the idling crowd) already ignore car line information issued by their child's school. So I'm not sure they pay any attention to the frustration, and even bile, sent their way via the Internet.
Still, four years ago, Georgia East, a writer for our sister paper, the Sun Sentinel, made a promise to change her car line behavior.
"I pledge not to hold up the car line at my daughter's school. I will not brush my daughter's hair, search for her socks or sign permission slips while other anxious parents waiting to drop off their kids are behind me," she wrote.
So maybe there is hope. Maybe.
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