Thursday, May 15, 2008

Some Confessions and a Vent

Maybe if I write about this, I can get it out of my brain and then get some work and dinner done!
Confession 1: I have let my children out of the car while double-parked in the school parking lot...on more than one occasion. This happens because there are cars parked in the drop-off area and traffic ahead of me in the "moving" lane is stopped. To wait until the traffic moves and I can make the loop again would cause my children to be tardy. And, if police were on the scene, I would deserve a ticket for it.
Confession 2: Nothing brings me to the point of road rage type frustration more than the school parking lot. I don’t like feeling forced to choose between breaking a rule or having my kids be late. Is it because I'm a stickler for following rules? Probably not. If that were true I wouldn't have had to make confession #1. Perhaps it is the lack of common courtesy that enrages me? Common courtesy says that if you are in the drop-off lane and your child has exited the car, you don't sit there and talk on your cell phone for 5 more minutes while obstructing traffic. Common courtesy parks in the parking lot when you need to go into the school building instead of leaving your car unattended in the drop-off zone. So are the violators those who double park or those who camp out in a No Parking Drop-Off Zone???
Switching gears a bit, common sense (really nothing to do with courtesy) says that you don't put your child in danger just so you can get them picked up from school faster. This isn't a double parking issue but a crossing the street where there is no crossing while parked in a No Parking Zone issue. Which leads to my next confession:
Confession 3: I almost hit a child while driving up the road to school this afternoon. It was a child I know, whose mother I know and dearly love. However, this mother is choosing to park in a No Parking Zone and have her child run (between parked cars) across the street. She darted out from in front of a parked SUV right in front of my van. If I'd have been going the speed limit (I was going slower) I would have smashed her.
Vent: I was upset when I retrieved my children so a teacher came to check on me. I told her what had happened and she suggested that I report it to the principal and also the police. (The road that the child ran across is a city street and under police jurisdiction.) She said that the police had recently been at the school cracking down on the double parking issue. (See Confession #1). I was too upset to talk to the principal - at that moment I would have been sobbing and embarrassing my own children! So I drove home and calmed down and made my call to the police station. Officer So and So could really not have been any more disinterested in what had happened. He even had the audacity to say, "Well, did you hit her?" (I wish I would have said, "Yep, and she is still laying there in the's your sign!!) But I didn't and he could tell by my silence that I was fuming. "Is there anything else I can do for you ma'am?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact, you can not just blow me off!" I really did say that (to a police officer) and then proceeded to tell him how we had meetings with other officers, school crossing guards, the principal, and city planners last year about this very issue and nothing is being done.
Bottom line is, do we really give a flip that our school parking lot is an accident waiting to happen? After all, there are meth labs and presidential elections and gas prices to worry about. Do a few violations in a parking lot really matter in the grand scheme of all there is to be up-in-arms about? To me they do. They matter because today I could have hit a precious child who I adore. A precious child who has been at my house for play dates. (I have sewn patches on this little one's Brownie vest for heaven's sake.) And for the rest of my life I might have had to live with the fact that I injured or even killed a child because a simple parking lot rule was ignored. To me that matters. I hope to her mother it matters. I wish it mattered more to the people who make the rules and now fail to enforce them.

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