The carpool line at the elementary school is not for the faint of heart. I have seen some very creative driving and parking over the nine years I have had kids at that school. The school passes out diagrams every year to explain how it works, but they are mostly suggestions. I have seen a lot of careless drivers who are in such a big hurry to pick up their kids, they forget about the safety of the other people around them.

There are two long lines that feed into the front driveway. One line is on the same street as the school and the other street is perpendicular to the school. To avoid running into the side pickup lines, the cars leaving the front driveway have to circle back out to the front of the school where the perpendicular street cars are trying to cross. To further add to the chaos, there are cars that park on both streets and pick their kids up as “walkers”. These parents are crossing while cars are coming in three different directions. People dart out between cars all the time and I have seen many cars have to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting someone. There are two crossing guards within a block of the front of the school, but most parents jaywalk because it is faster.

But my story isn’t about the dangerous people. It is about the angry ones. The lines at the school are long, especially in the winter. The people that get there early do so because they want to grab their kids and go. If you are at the end of the line, it can take up to 10 minutes in the winter to clear out those cars ahead of you. So you can imagine how frustrating it is for someone to cut you off after you have waited in line. It’s like when there is road construction and a lane is ending. Instead of merging over in plenty of time, some people ride up the lane that is ending because it is faster and then cut in front (without a thank you wave) of those who rode up the long line.

The dads are the worst. Most of the carpool lane drivers are women who pick up their kids every day. The dads come in once in a while and think their method is better. It is usually them that feel they are too important to wait in line. I have always wanted to approach them like the scene in Mr. Mom –“You are doing it wrong.”

This week, our school carpool line has been patrolled by a police officer on a motorcycle. He has been making people move their cars from no parking zones and re-explaining what the yellow curbs mean. So, to avoid a ticket, I parked behind the yellow lines while waiting in the line yesterday. I got to the school about 15 minutes before school got out and planned to read my book in peace.

Five minutes before the end of the school day, some of the cars in the circle moved closer together, allowing some of us on the street to move up. Unfortunately, I did not fit into the circle and stayed behind the line in case the police came by again. Just then, a car driven by a dad, pulled up and around my car. Minutes ago, he was sitting behind me in line. He was now sitting parked in the yellow curb area. What the hell?!

I guess I had this happen to me one too many times. I should have just prayed for the police to show up and make him move, but instead I got my Irish/Italian up. I pulled my Suburban right up on the back bumper of his Mercedes and slammed the truck into park. I walked up to the car, guns blazing, ready to knock on the window and give that guy a piece of my mind.

He rolled down the window as I approached and I came face to face with my son’s friend’s dad! Minutes ago I left a message on his wife’s voicemail about our sons playing together the next day. I put on the brakes quickly and tried to change my tune. I joked about him cutting in line and warned him about the police patrol before sulking back to my car.

A couple of hours later, his wife returned my call. I asked her if her husband thought I was a raving lunatic and she said that they both had a good laugh about it.

I am sure that we both learned a lesson that day. I am guessing that he will never cut off a mom in the carpool line again. As for me, I have decided that next time it happened (and it will), I will grumble to myself and stay in the car.