Did you happen to catch that episode of NBC's new prime-time
show "The Parenthood" where Julia, a working mom in a rush to get
to a meeting, endures the brazenness of another mom who sneaks in
front of her in the car drop-off lane at her daughter's elementary
school? The brazen one then gets out of her car, unloads her trunk
and then exchanges witty repartee with another mom, blissfully
unconcerned about the other parents patiently waiting for her to
get out of the way.
If you've ever dared to enter the drop-off / pick-up zone at an
elementary school, you know that this is pretty reckless
For the record, I can only give "The Parenthood" a lukewarm
review. I don't know about you, but when I turn on the tube it's
escape I'm after, not an infusion of angst-ridden family
I have plenty of my own to contend with, thank you very
That said, this little drop-off lane 'episode' is a classic. I
howled with laughter.
But make no mistake people, this drop-off / pick-up lane
business is no laughing matter.
One afternoon several months ago, I drove west on Illinois
Street in Batavia toward H.C. Storm Elementary School to pick up my
daughter from school, just like I always do. Right outside the
school, at the four-way stop with Van Nortwick, I waited my turn to
cross Van Nortwick and enter the school circle. People usually play
nice and take turns, but not this time. A woman driving a minivan
(oh alright, I'll resist the urge to be catty and name the color,
make and model, but you know who you are), apparently completely
oblivious about my existence, turned into the circle when it was my
turn. I was floored.
Whatever. So what.
But the following week, same thing. She budged. Cut in front of
Given the location of my house, it makes absolutely no sense for
me to drive out of my way so I can idle on Van Nortwick and wait
for the bell to ring.
Now, I realize that with major earthquakes occurring every other
day and fires and other tragic goings-on, my little drama is small
potatoes - it really is - but in my little corner of the world it's
become almost newsworthy.
If Batavia really were Mayberry perhaps Sheriff Andy Taylor
would step in and give this woman the 'what for.'
Her behavior persisted for several weeks. I didn't challenge her
(it wouldn't be cool for me to inch forward and block the
intersection or even beep). But then another woman cut me off a few
After one of them actually wagged a finger at me (really?) I
finally wondered, did I 'miss the memo?' Am I out of the 'loop,' so
to speak? What rule, or - God forbid - law, am I breaking that I
need to wise up to?
After a few more baffling episodes of
someone-missed-the-taking-turns-lesson-in-kindergarten I figured it
had to be me. I broke down and called the Batavia police
department, figuring someone there could enlighten me. I explained
the situation, confessed my crime and asked for insight.
No crime committed, apparently.
Then I called the school. Surely they must have issued some
directive that all drivers wishing to enter the school circle must
do so only by turning right into the circle from Van Nortwick
Street, or these women wouldn't work so hard to pretend I'm not
Oh, but no, according to Debbie.
Huh. Really? So what gives?
Doesn't this just sound just a little bit ridiculous?
I can see the police report now:
"Two women were arrested following a scuffle at the intersection
of Illinois and Van Nortwick Streets in Batavia, over a dispute
about whose turn it was to enter the circle at H.C. Storm
Elementary School Wednesday afternoon. Charges pending."
Yeah, that would be ugly.
Good thing it's balmy enough to skip the dicey mind games in the
pick-up lane and simply walk.
Those hardy souls who love the environment and walk to school no
matter the weather may be on to something. Walking keeps your blood
pressure down - and keeps your name out of the police
At first glance they appear to be sweet, cookie-baking moms, but
don't let some of those minivan- wielding women fool you, folks.
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.
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