I’m sure I’m not the first mother to have murderous thoughts in the drop-off lane, confesses Karin Schimke.
There are three drop-off lanes at my daughter’s school in the mornings. The idea with a drop off lane is beautifully simple: you stop your car, your daughter hops out, you leave. Smooth, easy, efficient.
Except this principle is lost on some.
This morning a swanky white, extremely expensive car, happened to be in front of me. The mother hopped out, wearing her riding boots, jodhpurs and enormous sunglasses, and smiling benignly at everyone. She opened the boot, then went around the side and opened the door for two perfectly pretty little girls. As they emerged she checked them, using the maternal spit-on-thumb trick to remove the last traces of breakfast around one’s mouth, and then helping the other into her blazer.
Tick. Tick. Tick. By this time there were about 10 cars backed up behind me, while the other lanes were sliding smoothly along, efficiently popping out girls with their backpacks already slung over their shoulders.
Jodhpur Woman, still smiling the smile of women who ride horses while their daughters are at school, pulled one of the blondies in for a little cuddle and a smiley pep talk
. Then she meandered to the boot. The girls stared vacantly at the melee of noisy girls rushing to class.
Horse Lady removed backpacks and accoutrements from the boot at a leisurely pace, not passing them over to the inert beauties, but physically putting their packs on their backs, their saxophones in their hands and their gym bags
over their delicate shoulders.
Tick. Tick. Tick. Losing patience
I was starting to get edgy and muttered, to my children’s mirth, ‘Hey, lady, why don’t you just pull out your picnic basket and have breakfast?’
One may not be rude in the school drop-off queue. One may not hoot. It’s not done. One does muttering instead.
She kissed her lovelies goodbye, beaming beatifically at them, the sky, her million-rand car, me (she clearly couldn’t read my expression behind my freebie promotional plastic sunnies). She closed the boot (remotely), turned to wave and send a kiss towards her departing passengers and finally, finally, moved towards the passenger door. Yippee.
Then she spotted someone she knew in a car driving in the next lane, where the queue was moving with machine-like efficiency. She walked over to the enormous, glistening four-by-four her friend was in and signalled at the window, but when the window wasn’t opened (her friend clearly has a sense of what’s going on around her) indicated with her thumb and pinkie pointed at her right ear and a mouthed ‘Call me
’ that her friend should phone her.
She must have had the vague insight then – prompted by the snub of the closed window - that this moment, here, now - in the flipping drop-off queue! - was not the place to have catch-up. She walked back to her car, waved to someone crossing in front of her and shouted something.
I am not a tooty kind of a person. Tooters, I believe, are for warning, not for signalling your impatience, but goodness me, it took many, many, many meditative breaths not to lie on it or turn down the window and say ‘Oi! Have you checked out the queue behind you, you stupid, inconsiderate, self-absorbed doll-woman!’
Some of us have more than one child to drop off at exactly the same time in different places. Some of us have to be at appointed places at appointed times as soon after the school bell goes in order get paid at the end of the month.
This is not, it seems, something that enters the minds of certain drop-off lane users.
Do you sometimes lose patience when dropping kids off?Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
Read more by Karin Schimke