Working title: WELCOME TO THUNDERDOOOOOME.
Three weeks ago, I was on my way to drop my son off at school, then head to my office. While traveling down the highway (three lanes) at my normal 5mph over the posted limit, a silver Volkswagen swoops behind me and proceeds to ride thisclose to my bumper, until the driver has the opportunity to change lanes, drive around me, then get back into my lane, effectively cutting me off. Once I saw the back of the car, I immediately recognized it from my son’s preschool parking lot (your “look at how many marathons I’ve run!” stickers gave you away, Speedy McJerkface).
She continued barreling down the road at an unreasonable rate of speed (runners, psh) with her child in the car, until she arrived at the intersection before school. And guess what? I ended up right behind her.
That’s something I have noticed with you crazy drivers…you juke and jive, blast your horn, frantically flap your hands like a dodo trying to take flight, yet we inevitably end up at the same location within two minutes of each other. Every time I’m nearly run off the road by a maniac, I wonder why they’re in such a hurry to get to a RED LIGHT.
The following week, a similar commute experience occurred with the same driver. This time, she realized I was a fellow preschool mom. We arrived in the parking lot at the same time, and upon exiting my car, I gave her a sweet smile and wave. It was the, “Look, you need to cool it, honey” smile and wave, and she got the hint. No longer does she compete in the Indy 500 during her morning commute; she politely falls in line behind the other parents, and she parks without so much as a scowl or floored gas pedal. Finishing second or third in the Preschool Parking Lot Tri may deflate her ego, but it keeps me from deflating her tires, so she should know it’s actually a big W.
In my months of preschool parking lot experience, I have had parents accelerate to beat me to a parking spot, honk the horn in an effort to encourage me to hurry up and leave so they can have my parking spot, and even speed up while driving through the lot, preventing my son and I from crossing safely. Surprisingly, not all preschool parents yield to pedestrians; in fact, those of us on foot have become mere road cones in the test track of early childhood education.
As understanding as I strive to be, I can’t help but judge you by your terrible driving. The same mom rushing to beat me to a parking spot is almost always the same mom shoving her child through the classroom door, without so much as a hug and kiss goodbye. The dad who refused stop so we could cross safely is the same one who never holds his child’s hand while walking to the car after school, nearly causing a three car pile-up as parents slam on brakes to avoid a serious accident. And the parents who don’t even return a smile or wave or polite, “Good morning!” when crossing paths? Oh, the judgment I pass…
I try not to be the judgey mom, but it’s tough when you almost back over me just to make sure you’re the first person out of the lot in the morning. Running late? LEAVE EARLIER. Stressed out? TAKE A DEEP BREATH. Kid threw a tantrum? SHE’S A TODDLER. Too busy to be polite to your fellow working parents? GET OVER YOURSELF.
People are watching you, even when you’re in your hurricane bubble of parenthood. Maybe you’ve forgotten, but we’re all on the same team, with the same struggles, and also the same joys. I’ve heard it said that happiness breeds happiness; the same goes for being a jerk. The more time you spend looking like you’ve sucked on a lemon, the more sour your day will be. Smiling (and slowing the heck down) is so much easier.
Ten and two,