Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Close Encounters in the Parking Lot
My daughter is in first grade at the magnet school. Here in Texas, we have our regular, non-superior schools, and then we have our magnet schools. Magnet schools are for people like me who think our children are superior, and belong in a superior school, but we can't afford private school, so we pretend that the magnet school is just the best school ever. The main problem with the magnet school is that there really isn't any bus service, so I drive my daughter to and from school each day, along with 600 other parents.
Which brings us to the Car Pool Lane. The Car Pool Lane is where all of us parents of superior children sit and wait in traffic at our superior school. Every. Single. Day. Every single day, I drive the mini-van with my two preschool children to the Car Pool Lane at 3:15, and I sit in line and occupy myself for 20 minutes by either 1)reading, 2)people-watching, 3)telling the two preschoolers to stop fighting, 4)general musing, or 5)all of the above.
Today, I was doing a little musing, and a little people-watching, and I noticed a lady walking towards my car from the kindergarten carpool area. She was pretty, blonde, and petite, and she had her cute little girl by the hand. She walked over to the front left of my car and stood behind her behemoth SUV with her hands on her hips, surveying the scene. What she saw was wall to wall cars, lined up 20 deep, and no hope of backing her behemoth SUV out of its parking space prison. And mine was the first in the long line of cars blocking her way.
Obviously, this woman made a rookie mistake. I feel her pain, because I did something similar when my child was in kindergarten. She got there early and figured if she parked in this lot, she could avoid the kindergarten car pool lane, and that would enable her to sneak over there and pick up her child, driving away quickly and laughing wildly at all those suckers waiting in line. What she didn't realize was that she was planting herself right in the middle of the First Grade traffic snarl. Tough break, rookie.
So she eyed me warily, turned with a flip of her hair, hefted her child up, up, up, into the behemoth, then proceeded to climb up herself. Then this pretty little lady, I'll call her Ms. I-Have-One-Child-And-I-Need-To-Drive-An-Escalade-To-Keep-Her-Safe, proceeded to slap that car in reverse and start backing up.
Ms. Escalade, why? Where do you think you're going to go? Do you think that you can fit that gigantic thing into the 3 feet of space that you have to back up? I know you saw me here because you gave me the evil eye. Really, Ms. Escalade, this is beneath you.
For the next ten minutes (I'm not exaggerating, I timed it), she sat there with her behemoth in reverse, impatiently tapping those brakes, inching slowly back, coming closer and closer to the minivan.
Now, I want you to know something here. If I could have moved anywhere to let her out, I would have. I have no ill will towards Ms. Escalade. But I was boxed in on all sides, which she clearly saw, and there was nothing I could do but sit there and smirk at her. But I did it in the nicest way, I swear.
Well, finally the line moved, and the Escalade family fell in behind me. I guess she thought she was home free, but then I stopped my car and hopped out to wave Gracie down and help her into the car. Apparently it was too much to ask of Ms. Escalade that I could pick up my kid before exiting the parking lot. The minute I put it in park, she started honking and gesturing wildly. I wonder if she taught that sweet girl any new words. I couldn't read her lips, because the only thing visible above the steering wheel were those perfectly tweezed eyebrows, but I'm sure she had plenty to say.
I couldn't help but laugh at her second rookie mistake: When you have road rage in normal traffic, you are anonymous. When you have road rage in the Car Pool Lane, you have to see that same car every day until June.
Same time tomorrow, sweetie!