Monday, January 24, 2011

Carpool Lane Dos and Don'ts: A True Test of Patience

You all know that I am attempting to live in the moment and let the little stuff go.  But before I go and abandon the more “bitter me” altogether, there’s something I need to get off my chest.

The carpool lane.

Now, if you’re lucky, this blog may not apply to you.  Either your kid rides the bus, they’re old enough that the carpool lane is nothing but a painful memory, or you have yet to experience the joys of sitting in your car, breathing in exhaust fumes, twice a day, in multiple lines.

For those of you who might possibly be sitting in one of the 300 cars waiting to pick up 250 know where I’m going with this.

This blog was inspired by a comment I made recently on my personal Facebook  page about a woman who was dropping her kid off in the morning, wearing leggings as pants which, in the bright sunlight, looked a lot sheerer than she probably wanted.  In that status, my recommendation was, that if you’re going to wear leggings, please find a good friend who will walk out into your backyard with you and tell you that she can see everything you have to offer.

And then throw them away.

That one little comment sparked a small discussion on “Carpool Lane Etiquette” that I now feel it is my obligation to write.  My sincere hope is that this blog goes viral, not for my own person fame or fortune...but because there are a lot of stupid people out there who need to know that they are pissing off a lot of other parents. 

Fasten your seatbelts....

  1. When there is a line of 50 cars, waiting to pick up kids...please do NOT pass all of those cars in order to hurry up and get a parking space so you can get out of your car and grab your child.  ESPECIALLY once school has let out.  Did you not notice that you are now driving into oncoming traffic and causing what can best be described as a “clouge” of epic proportions?  Not only that, but if you’re in that much of a damn hurry to get your should have been there 20 minutes ago before the line formed.

  1. I’m going to sound shallow when I say this, but I’m just going to let her rip...because I know all of you are thinking it as well.  Pay a little attention to what you’re wearing if you are actually going to physically get out of the car to drop off or pick up your kid.  You’re walking past a HUGE line of cars with people in them who are bored out of their skulls and have nothing better to do than people watch.  I’m not saying you have to dress for the Miss American pageant.  I’m just saying you should be aware of this fact.

  1. For all of my hard working teachers out there...PLEASE stop frantically waving at us to pull forward.  When the car in front of us moves, we move.  If we’re out of it enough to not pay attention to the car in front of us moving, chances are we are not going to notice that you look like a windmill having an epileptic fit.  I have yet to see a carpool line held up because a teacher wasn’t waving us through.  Trust me...we’ll go when we can.  We’re good.

  1. When the carpool lane is backed up, school is letting out, and there is now traffic leaving the school...please do not choose that moment to show off your amazing parking skills by backing into a compact parking spot in your Ford F350.  You are now blocking incoming and outgoing traffic, you moron. 

  1. All of us waiting in the carpool lane would greatly appreciate it if you would put the child you are picking up in the most convenient seat in your car to be picked up.  Believe me...we are all watching you while you, for some unknown reason, throw your Highlander into park, get out of your car, and open the tailgate to let your child spend 5 minutes trying to climb his way in.  This especially irritates those of us who were practical enough to buy a minivan for carpool lane purposes.  Shoot...with my automatic doors, I don’t even have to stop my car.  One push of a button and the teacher’s aid can just throw my kid in.

  1. Please, on your way out, do not block traffic by stopping your car alongside a car that is coming into the parking lot so that you can roll down your window and catch up with someone you haven’t seen in years...but who lives in the same neighborhood you do.  I have just picked up my kid who, upon strapping himself into his booster seat, has informed me that he has to pee and is not going to make it.  Move your ass.

  1. This is just parking lot etiquette in general:  While walking to your car...please walk to the side.  Don’t walk right smack in the middle of the aisle where 20 other cars are trying desperately to get through so they can miss the train of 30 busses they don’t want to be behind.  I’ve been sitting in this car for 20 minutes, I have a headache from the exhaust fumes, and, kid has to pee.  I’m in a large moving vehicle and you’re not.  Get the hell out of the way.

  1. For the lady in front of me with the bumper sticker “Hang Up and Drive!”...get off the phone.  It annoys me when I glance up from my Pottery Barn catalog. 

  1. Feel free to drop your kid off a little bit away from the door.  You know...back in the day...we actually walked to school.  So it is possible to let them out more than 10 feet away from the handicap button that they’re getting ready to push because they can’t fathom actually opening the door.

  1. As I’m letting my kid out of the car...just be a smidgen more patient.  I realize that “The Today Show” won’t watch itself, but you can wait the 5 seconds it takes my kid to get out of the car.  There is really no need to try and drive around me in a drop-off lane that is only one car wide, thereby really blocking the actual drop off line that’s trying to move.  I guess you need one of those teachers out there waving at you so you know when you can go.

I give you these tips with love in my heart and lead in my foot.  Drive safe everybody and just remember...there are people like me on the road.

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© Catherine Tidd 2011


  1. THANK YOU!!! I have the same frustrations. The carpool lane drives me NUTS at my kids' school. Our school has parents on their phones and not paying attention at all and also those superior to everyone else and therefore, must be first and ahead of everyone else. And let's not forget the parents who PARK and block everyone else in the carpool/drive-thru lanes and get out to get their child instead of, I don't know, driving thru like the rest of us, and of course, the parents who let their kids out and then wait until their precious child is not only in the building but in their class working on their first worksheet of the day before moving. I am amazed that I don't spend all my time in one continuous cycle thru the school parking lot doing drop-off and pick-up all because these parents can't follow the rules. By the way, last week a teacher kept waving frantically for me to start moving after my kids were in the van. She was getting rather ticked but I just couldn't bring myself to mow down a sizable group of kindergarteners and first graders and two teachers IN THE CROSS WALK! I would not have been able to live with myself if I had moved the van any sooner, I just couldn't ruin all those lives to make one teacher happy so she'll just have to be mad at me.

  2. Amen! I was just complaining to myself yesterday about the carpool lane at school!