Thursday, May 31, 2012

Alice Cooper angrily hangs up on his lawyer, again

Today is the last day of school in our district.

It's an odd day. I've mistakenly thought today was Friday five different times today, so aligned was the end of school with the end of the week in my mind. For some reason I was very aware that today was the last "drop the children off on the way to work" morning of the school year.  We'll be doing it all again in September, but I was filled with memories of walking out of my high school on the last day of school and hearing multiple cars blaring "SCHOOL'S OUT FOR THE SUMMER! SCHOOL'S OUT FOR-EVAH!" in what each driver planned for days or weeks in advance to be a clever and witty display of individualism.

"Seriously? No possibility for royalties? Remind me why I have you on retainer again."
There's a giddy energy in the air on the last day of school, seemingly regardless of the fact that I haven't attended school in any capacity in over a decade.

Though I have lingering doubts about its accreditation to this day.
On the drive to the first of the two schools attended by the children, they excitedly detailed their pending day of watching movies and eating snacks.  I could digress here into a lengthy tirade about how this has been true for most of the past month, and how school essentially becomes a glorified daycare facility once the standardized tests are taken in late April and the schools have locked in their funding for the next year, and how there is no homework, little classwork and nary a trace of curricula for the final five weeks of the school year as every evening's "what did you do in Science class today?" meets with a quick "Nothing. We just watch movies every day now," while we all wonder why the American public school system has fallen so far behind an embarrassing (and growing) number of countries around the globe...

 ...but I won't.

I remember that odd dichotomy of knowing how vestigial the last day of school was, how even the teachers had summer vacation on the brain and the building was practically vibrating with eagerness for the final bell to ring so we could all just leave, with no one really able to define the point of even being there... and yet knowing that it was all necessary, in some way. There had to be a last day of school, to punctuate the end of the long sentence we'd just spent the fall and spring composing.

So I made my way through the labyrinthine drop-off lines for the last time this year. This begins with the crossing guard, a kindly older lady who I somewhat naively thought was recognizing and waving at us each morning until I noticed that she waved at everyone who drove past her (very busy, at 7:30 AM) intersection.

I thought I was special, Mavis, you brazen hussy.
We've entered into a bizarre unspoken social contract now, as I remember to wave even if I'm actively swerving to avoid being T-boned by some idiot who has failed to recognize who arrived at the 4-way stop first. Otherwise I imagine she spends the remainder of her day in a despondent funk, wondering if I'm mad at her or if she did something wrong. I can't have that on my conscience, even though I know on a cerebral level that I could drop dead while writing this sentence and she'd never miss me, other than on her days at the salon with her girlfriends when she brags that she's come thisclose to meeting Drew Carey every morning for months.

Whose (Drop-Off) Line Is It, Anyway?

At the elementary school there has been much effort made to avert speeding. For one, the ingress to the school from the street is littered with parking lot curbs made to act as speed bumps, though in my experience they're unnoticeable at any speed below 117 mph.

Me arriving at the elementary school, back in February.
The drop-off lane was also designed to make it impossible to drive faster than about 15 mph for more than a few feet at a time, owing to the bizarrely twisting nature of the lane itself.  Here, courtesy of Google Maps, is said drop-off lane:

Not long after the school year began, complaints began to mount as parents spent precious get-to-work-on-time minutes sitting still in the drop-off line because of slow movement at the head of the line. To combat this, the school erected a sign at the very beginning of the sidewalk bordering the drop-off line, claiming that "STUDENT DROP-OFF BEGINS HERE," which you may have seen in old photos of Harry Truman.  The problem with this is simple: this sidewalk begins so far from the school building that the sign ought to read in full, "STUDENT DROP-OFF BEGINS HERE IF YOU OBVIOUSLY HATE YOUR KIDS." 

You could make your child get out at this sign, then inch past them two or three times as the line of cars creeps forward and lets you awkwardly wave at them each time, though the line certainly slows more as other people hop out of their cars to take photos of The First Person To Ever Drop Their Kid Off At That Sign Ninety Miles From The School's Front Door.

"Okay, hop out here. No, the school's up there, I promise. You just can't see it because of the storm system blowing into that part of town. You'll see when you get there."
Honestly, short of smashing freshly chewed gum into their hair as we pull up, I can think of no more disrespectful way to complete the drop-off at the elementary school. So we either wait our turn at or near the front of the line, or eschew the line altogether and execute the drop-off on the adjacent street, onto a sidewalk leading into the school.

The middle school has fewer concerns about speeding, with gradual turns and angles which invite entering the parking lot at a satisfying speed.

"Be careful, you know how badly you bit your tongue when I did that bitchin' burnout last week."
However, it was a prescient move by the district to cut costs in the speed bump department, since it is rare that I pull into the drop-off line at the middle school without having to veer around some asshole who has invariably pulled into the line and put her minivan in park, hazard lights turned on for minutes at a time while nothing remotely drop-off-a-child related is happening.

The drop-off line at the middle school.

It is always the same fucking woman.  She's made me revisit my views on violence against women on a near-weekly basis.  Her child is never having difficulty gathering things from the car nor exiting the vehicle. Indeed, this moron is sitting in Park in the middle of the drop-off line, carrying on animated discussions with a nearby teacher or faculty member while sticking her arm out of the driver's side window to wave other people around her like she's doing us all a great service by letting us know that she's perfectly aware that she's holding up the whole goddamned IDEA of a quick streamlined pull-up-and-drop-off line in the service of sitting there running her mouth about whatever goddamned thing passes for conversation with a halfwit, and-

Deep breaths. Serenity now.

Were it not for the real likelihood that it'd degenerate into the police telling me I'm not allowed within 500 yards of the school next fall, I would have marched up to this bitch's waving arm and told her to get her corpulent ass out of the way, and maybe think about how her actions affect others instead of devoting the whole of her cognitive abilities to analyzing the results of last night's American Idol episode.

And, with all that waving, maybe consider a part-time crossing guard position.
Though such a public and cathartic rage display, before a phalanx of arriving and mingling students, would guarantee that our middle-schooler never gets picked on by anyone again, lest they summon The Wrath of The Balding Lunatic themselves.

"I suggest biting the head off of a barnyard animal for emphasis. Then again, that's always my suggestion, so take that with a grain of salt and a chicken's skull."
It won't be long before I find out the unique challenges associated with a whole new drop-off line, at the high school in our district. I'm ready for anything. I expect the expected, which was the unexpected but is expected now because I expect it.

"You'd better have your backpack, because I'm not coming back through the line again today."
But for now, it is summer vacation.  Time to settle down and relax with a beverage and a good book.

Or this.

1 comment:

  1. Remember the days when you just had to walk to school (or worse, take a bus), no matter how far away you lived? Oh, and what the hell, why not take a shortcut through these serial killer woods while you're at it??