Monday, April 12, 2010
Julie D. from Kansas City writes:
Dear Mr. Sunshine,
I have four kids who have all received Navy-SEAL-like training on how to exit a car quickly and efficiently at the carpool drop-off line at school. They know the time for hugs, kisses, second-guessing what's in their backpacks, and unbuckling their seat belts is NOT when the car is in park and the pressure is on them to move, move, MOVE!, but rather when we are in the ready position, next in the queue for the final dropping point.
Unfortunately there are a number of parents at their school who prefer to wipe noses, tie shoes, open car doors, and hold spelling bees for their kids in the car while in park at the final dropping point. As a result, everyone behind them is delayed beyond measurable reason for school while little Johnny and little Dolly get extra pats on the head and hand-blown kisses during their valet service.
Aside from posting "Keep The Line Moving, You Wussy Parent" signs along the drop-off line, what other helpful hints do you have for encouraging parents to limit their time at the final dropping point to the very attainable seven-second maximum?
Your fan from the Midwest who, in spite of the way it might have just sounded, loves children very much,
Unfortunately, you have come across one of the few problems in this world that simply does not have a solution. As long as there are schools, there will be idiot parents who clog up the drop-off and pick-up lines. That's because every time a school principal (God's favorite creatures, by the way) devises a way to idiot-proof the process, a more logic-resistant species of idiot seems to evolve. The circle of life gone haywire, if you will.
The thing is, as a loving parent who genuinely thinks about other people once in a while, you are the exception rather than the rule. Most parents of elementary school children care about nothing beyond their own immediate needs. If Johnny needs to finish gluing 500 sugar cubes onto his Alamo project, well, he's going to do it right there in the back of the minivan while everyone waits. If little Susie hasn't quite finished her strawberry Poptarts and Go-gurt, she's not getting out of the car till she's done. If that sends the rest of the drop-off line into a tizzy, well, tough patootie.
So, Jules, it's up to you and your friends to take charge and bring about positive change in the drop-off line.
First, never underestimate the power of your vehicle's horn. Pull up behind the offending parent, and let them have it. And don't forget, if they turn around and flip you the bird, you can then report them to the school administration for obscene gestures in the presence of children. Or, if you're even more daring, go out and get yourself an industrial grade bullhorn, walk up to the driver's window and yell, "TIME TO MOVE ALONG! GET THE KIDS OUT OF THE CAR AND BE ON YOUR WAY!"
If you're not the assertive or aggressive type, though, you'll just have to figure out a way to make the most of the hours you're going to spend in the drop-off line. You might try creating a "DROP-OFF LINE BINGO" card for you and your kids to play while you wait (no point sending your kids to class when everyone else is just sitting around, right?). Some things to put on your Bingo card are:
A goofy kid with glasses
A kid crying because he forgot his homework
An overprotective parent
An overweight teacher
A fight between students
A fight between parents
Use your imagination. As an incentive, maybe the winner of your Bingo game would get to use the bullhorn.
Sorry I can't be more helpful here, Jules, but asinine parents are a breed apart from normal human beings. Aside from just shooting them, there's not a lot that can be done.
Hey, now THERE'S a thought . . .