Step 1– Encounter an inconvenience. Anything will do. Long line, slow traffic, etc.
Step 2– Come up with a clever way to avoid it because you are soooooo smart and lines are for SUCKAS.
My son started going to a new pre-k this week, and it’s a much bigger school than the part-time playschool he attended at our church for the first 4 years of his life. I’m always running late, so until today I’ve joined the carpool pick-up line 10 to 15 minutes after dismissal and only had to wait a couple of minutes to get up to the loading area. Today I was patting myself on the back as I drove up right on time. Yay me! I’m an adult and I sometimes have my shit together!
I approached the car line from the usual direction, but that landed me in the middle of the line. Turning there would’ve meant skipping ahead of dozens and dozens of waiting parents. Parents I have to face again. I have enough problems without creating bad car line karma, so I needed to go back another block to find the end of the line. I made a turn and went up one block, then two, then three. Finally the road ended and the line of waiting vehicles continued around a corner and up another street where it finally ended– half a mile from the school.
I looked at the clock. Classes probably hadn’t even been dismissed yet. My 1-year-old had been crying in the back seat since we left the house. What’s guaranteed to make a car crier cry louder? A car that’s not moving. All moms know that. I decided to drive around for 15 minutes. After all, I am clever, and waiting in line is for suckas.
Since 3:00 traffic is insane for the first few weeks of a school year (and because I had guaranteed myself more stress by trying to avoid a minor inconvenience), I arrived back at the car line not 15 but 20 minutes later. There were no cars… No line… No car line. I drove up to the loading area. No kids. All the pride I’d felt earlier about actually being on time sank into my stomach. The teachers had successfully loaded kids into at least 100 cars and then disappeared in less than twenty minutes.
Did you know that chagrin is sometimes audible? It sounds like someone mumbling, “Oh, hell.”
I circled back around to find a parking spot. Then it began to rain. Hard.
I didn’t even know where to find my kid, so I parked as close to the main entrance as possible, grabbed my umbrella (it’s raining and I have my umbrella! Partial redemption?) and went to get my still-fussy toddler out of the back seat. Annnnnd he was barefoot. Not because I don’t put shoes on my child before we leave the house, mind you, but because he takes great joy in pulling them off and throwing them.
I might be the mom who shows up late and misses the carpool pick-up, but I will not be the mom who shows up late and comes inside with a barefoot child. I have standards, you know. So I closed the umbrella and climbed into the back seat of the van to find the shoes, which were conveniently located behind the second row seats. I fumbled with the little feet and worried that my 4-year-old would be anxious about why I hadn’t picked him up as normal. By the time I got the shoe situation resolved, I was so soaked there was almost no point in picking the umbrella back up, but I did, because if anything’s worse than picking your kid up late, it’s picking him up late and then forcing him to walk in the pouring rain with no umbrella. I crossed the street through ankle-deep water with a child on one side and an umbrella on the other, and I spotted my son skipping alongside a teacher into a doorway at the front of the school. I got her attention and said I was there to check him out. “You have to go to the main office and sign.” Main office. Right. It was down the sidewalk about 100 feet, in the opposite direction of where my child was headed. Makes sense.
We finally climbed into the van 30 minutes after dismissal time– that’s half an hour after I had the genius idea to make things easier on myself and drive around instead of waiting. My shoes were soaked through, my socks were squishing, and my jeans were wet all the way up to my knees.
But I avoided waiting in line, and that is the important thing.