I get into the school pickup line 45 minutes before I need to.
Because it’s the calm before the storm.
I can read a book, check emails, or stare at the inside of my eyelids if I want to. I can even do all three.
There are always at least six cars ahead of me in line by the time I pull in. Proof that I’m not the only one who’s crazy, or that there are in fact people who are crazier than I am.
School is dismissed at 3 p.m. By 2:45 the parking lot looks like Walmart on Black Friday. Only instead of sweet deals on flat-screen TVs and Hatchimals, people are desperately jockeying for a spot in line so they can grab their kids and ride off into the sunset to cry over homework and make dinner before soccer practice.
If you didn’t get to the school on time to snag a prime spot in line, then you have to park in the overcrowded parking lot. Before parking, though, you must first circle around several times like a hungry seagull in a McDonald’s parking lot looking for his next french fry fix.
Once you’ve finally found a space and battled another parent for it, you can do the walk of shame as you attempt to traverse the busy car line like you’re in a game of Crossy Road. Once safely on the other side, it’s like a real-life version of Where’s Waldo? as you frantically search for your child in a sea of unfamiliar faces and Pikachu backpacks.
Or you can just get into the car line at the very end — wherever that may be. I don’t actually know where the end is because I’ve never seen it. According to legend, there’s an angry crossing guard there who randomly makes you stop to let squirrels cross. The end is where dreams go to die. Being at the end means you take a chance on your child starting over and finding a new family before you can even reach the front of the line.
So even though I may look like 50 shades of crazy to some, sitting in an almost empty parking lot 45 minutes before I need to, at least I avoid all of the above.
Oh, and if the bus happens to run through your neighborhood, making it unnecessary for you to ever spend a minute of your time in car line, you’re the very definition of #blessed.