Before having a child, there are things I had only heard of from people who had kids before me, like bad fairy tales. Things like when their kids smeared poop on the walls or said something embarrassing that was never meant to be repeated. And I smiled, or laughed, but didn’t relate because it had not yet happened to me. I also heard tales of the special hell that is the car line. I never fully appreciated the craptacular experience of the morning car line until I myself experienced it this year.
The horror….the horror….
Sometimes my daughter provides a blissful reprieve from this crucible when she decides to take the bus. Today, she wanted the extra 25 minutes at home before having to go to school. I don’t blame her, but that meant enduring the ultimate test of patience and restraint –the morning school car line. And today was extra gridlocked. Awesome.
Never have I seen such a chaotic melding of irritable people on a daily basis as I experience going through the school car line in the morning. It’s every car for itself, rules of right away be damned. Lots of cars, going slower than grandma with her walker, all trying to get their kid to school before the final bell. Cars full of kids, who probably took too long finding their shoes, or looking for something they had to bring in for school but forgot about until it was time to leave, driven by their parents who are probably late for something, or just mad because they are in the car line, late again. It makes for one fantastic stew of impatience, and immaturity. And that is usually the parents.
This morning, the car line in and out was, literally, not moving. Everyone entered and exited at a snail’s pace. No one was going anywhere, at least not fast. I had the audacity to try and enter into the school and the car line mess, having the right of way. By entering the school, I was moving out of the way of exiting cars, which is why cars coming the other way have a yield sign. However, one highly impatient…woman…(even in writing I edit out the curse words I am thinking) decided that she was only letting the car in front of me in, not both of us, even if it meant continuing to gridlock the line because cars couldn’t get out of the school entrance. She was in such a hurry to not let me in that after she forced her silver Jetta out between me and the car in front of me, she actually had to back up, adjust, and pull forward again, because she pulled in at a bad angle in her useless haste.
I was very glad my daughter does not yet know what the middle finger means. I know what you are thinking and it wasn't me. When Mom of the Year, with three little kids in the car decided that was an appropriate action towards me, I didn’t acknowledge it with a return gesture or by saying anything about it, hoping my daughter just wouldn’t pay much attention to it. Or ask any questions. However, it took all I had not to use the words I really wanted to, or just walk up, pull the woman out and slap her senseless for being a moron who also just flipped me off in front of my daughter for her own impatience (and poor driving).
Instead, being irritated and hitting the limits of my patience and restraint with humanity, I just told my child, “unless it’s pouring rain or freezing cold, I can’t deal with these…(pause for restraint…no cursing, no cursing) horrible car line people.” My daughter stops for a minute and says “She is not on the path with Jesus right now is she?” Ok, that was unexpected, but way more polite than what I had been thinking. I looked at her and said “Nope, no she is definitely not.” My child is so much of better person than I am at the moment.
So, creeping along, I have too much time with my thoughts because, I swear, it has never taken this long to get to the drop off, or at least that’s what it feels like. How did I get to this point in life where I am actually involved in morning car line drama? Oh God, I am one of those moms who complains about the car line and gets involved in car line drama. Ugh, why am I still loathing this woman in front of me? What is wrong with me? Has my life come to this? Car line loathing? I have got to rethink the way I’m living right now.
Deep breath. All is not lost. Trying to not to dwell, at least out loud about it, I tell my daughter “Ok, we aren’t going to talk about this bad person any more.” Not that my child was saying anything about it. Little kids have this awesome way of just moving on from things. I was the one who kept talking about it. It was really more telling myself to get a grip, but if I can make myself feel like it’s a teachable moment for her (yeah, that’s it) instead of me getting a hold of my own frustration and pettiness, well, that makes me feel a little better at least.
At that point, our conversation moves to the awesome weekend ahead, the Saturday daddy-daughter dance, Lego club, seeing her cousins. My daughter gets out of the car and the woman’s three small children get out of her car ahead of us. Then Mom of the Year pulls off…about 10 feet, to sit in line to get out of the school. We creep out and she goes left, just to sit in another line of cars to get to the light. I turn right into my neighborhood with no traffic to be home in about 30 seconds. I know I’ll be upstairs with a fresh cup of coffee before Mom of the Year even hits the traffic light at the end of the road. Once it’s warmer, my daughter and I can just walk most days, and chances are, Mom of the Year will still be in the car line every single miserable day. Who needs the middle finger when you’ve got karma.