Wednesday, December 02, 2009

School Zones and Lawmen.

Well, NaNoWriMo is officially over, and I'm working on editing the 56000 word pile of steaming crap that sprang from my keyboard into a passable novel.

That's not true, exactly... it's not all steaming crap, and I'm not really working on it at all right now. In fact, what I am doing right now is a blog entry about school zones.

Every morning, I take the boys to school in our SUV (From the french... meaning passes everything but a gas station) and get in line behind the hundred or so other parents trying to drop their kids off at the same time. It tends to be mass chaos, as all the other parents are completely disregarding the laws of physics that prevent objects from being in the same place at the same time, such as a minivan and an SUV.

Every morning, I have seen at least one act of random traffic stupidity. People double park, others leave their car idling in the middle of the street, still others ignore right of way and common sense. To make matters worse, the street the school is on turns one way during peak pick up/drop off hours, and these people that ignore these and other traffic laws for the sake of getting little Johnny to school ten minutes earlier than he needs to be there. The resulting chaos causes a back up that stretches for blocks through the suburb we live in. If you live on any of the streets around the school, and need to go anywhere between the hours of 7:45-8:10, or 2:30-3:30, you're basically stuck in your driveway until traffic clears.

I usually avoid the whole thing by getting there early, finding a nice legal parking spot, and listening to the radio while trading jokes with Short Stuff, but there are those rare mornings where nothing goes quite right, and I patiently sit in traffic with the rest of the parents. I'm beginning to think that the Indian mom in the Minivan that parks according to magnetic north (on a east-west street) is beginning to really resent me for arriving early at this point, as is the WASPy soccer mom in the Jaguar that parks ON THE LAWN OF THE SCHOOL every morning. They know who I am, too... because both have remarked to me how adorable Pint Size is.

Anyhow, the neighbors to the school complained to the police (rightfully so I think) about the horde that besieges their neighborhood every morning and afternoon, and the local constables took action, assigning a detail officer to the school during drive time. This was not received well by the parents that suddenly found themselves on the receiving end of tickets (Watdya mean, double parked? I just pulled up next to the parked cars, got out, and walked my kid to school like I always do! That's not double parked!) or the teachers that have been ignoring the one-way rule for years to make it to the faculty lot on time... which always makes the drop off situation much, much worse. Unlike most parents, I was really happy to see the cop there (and told him so)... I just wish he could give out tickets for outright stupidity.

Last week, Silverfox was talking to one of Pint Size's helpers and heard about the following exchange... during his first day or two on duty, the detail officer pulled over a teacher trying to get to the faculty lot and she protested:

Teacher: But officer, I'm just going to the faculty lot! I work here!
Officer: Really? You're a teacher?
Teacher:(proudly) Yes, I am.
Officer: Then you should have been able to read the sign that says "Do Not Enter". (Hands Ticket)

It's just gone downhill from there. The principal sent a letter home whining that the police have never treated the school this way before, but that parents should comply with all the weird traffic and parking laws that are in effect during pickup/drop off time. It's not that hard... You can park in any legal spot during drop off, or pull up to the main entrance to the school and let your kid out. At pick up, there is no parking on the street leading up to the school, to allow maximum flow of traffic to the main entrance where you pick up your kid. During both of these times, the street is a one way street. Still, every day I watch the cop write a few more tickets in the morning, and again in the afternoon.

This morning, I saw the cop pull over another one of the wrong way drivers, this time a parent. As the Cop wrote the ticket, the parent protested:

Parent: This is ridiculous! I need to drop off my kid so I can get to work!
Officer: Then you need to get behind all the other parents and drop off your kid just like they do, instead of breaking the law.
Parent: But officer, how am I supposed to get here on time when traffic is backed up for blocks?
Officer: Maybe you should get here early like that guy does. (points at me, who is legally parked and waving with a big dopey grin on his face)

Yeah... Maybe I wanna avoid the next few PTA meetings.

1 comment:

Sandi G. said...

ROTFLMFAO!!! I'm sooooo happy I never had to deal with that. Smart thinking too, getting there early. But I agree, you should avoid PTA meetings.
Keep up the good work.
Love ya.