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The hell and irony of the school drop-off area

Every morning on the way to take my kids to school, there comes a moment about a mile out where I feel a head-to-toe change come over me.

The best way to describe it is like when Sylvester Stallone switches his hat around in “Over the Top” and he goes from being a sensitive, caring father to someone who can take down a man twice his size, no problem. We are approaching the post-apocalyptic, dog-eat-dog, every-man-for-himself war zone:

The school drop-off zone.

It is complete anarchy. People are treating their their vehicles like they are full-artillery tanks up on the sides of canals, even in canals. I saw one mom just open up the door halfway through the water about 50 feet from school, open up the door and told her son to “do what he had to do to make it by the second bell.”

As I am watching the madness, you can’t help but notice the creative licensing people take with where they choose to park. This then leads me to play out the part in “Grease” when the bad guys pull onto the T-Birds turf and they politely give their feedback.

You’re in a no parking zone, creep.

This whole place is a no parking zone, crater face!

But instead of it being in “Grease,” it is Starbucks-toting, yoga-pants-and-aviator wearing, moms dropping off their kids to school going toe-to-toe to make sure their child arrives on time to first grade.

All rules and regulations taught to people 15 years ago in driver’s education are out. People stop whenever the mood strikes. They jack the emergency brake up and take care of business. And this business involves trying to get children to follow directions, which could take anywhere from four seconds (a Christmas miracle) to four minutes, in which amount of time they have managed to completely infuriate everyone behind them to the point of considering getting out and strongly suggesting a meeting at the bike racks to resolve this dispute like two mature adults.

Another thing: I drive a Volkswagen. I am aware that the brand is known for peace, love and daisies on dashboards, but it is in fact made of steel. Or metal. Or whatever it is. It is not a bumper car. We are not playing with Micro Machines.

It will do damage to your minivan. When you completely and totally ignore my presence and turn the other way, avoiding the fact that I am trying to inhabit the same spot as you, it will not make me go away. If you would like to put the theory you clearly employ that my car is made out of marshmallows to the test, bring it. I hope you have insurance and a daisy to add to my dashboard.

I am not innocent in this whole post-apocalyptic scene. I am generally a very laid-back person but once I get in that two mile radius of the drop-off zone, I don’t even recognize the look in my eyes and I am a little afraid of my own self. I have no idea what I am capable of. It is every man for himself. The swear words flow like the kid floating down the canal on his Ninja Turtles backpack paddling like hell to get there before the Pledge of Allegiance.

And the best part about it is, after all of this complete mayhem when I finally pull up and let my daughter out, after I have just had thoughts of what I would like to do to everyone holding up the drop-off line, I take as much time as I like to tell her loving, happy nuggets of positive reinforcement to encourage her to be the best, kindest, most awesome person she can at school today.