I haven’t dropped a kid off at school in more than five years but I remember the agony. Trust me nothing can ruin your morning like a frustrating school drop off.
You can always count on there being at least one mother holding up the line because she thinks she’s a multi-tasking dynamo. And by that I mean maybe you can’t drive a car, apply mascara, tie your kid’s shoes and drink your pumpkin spice latte with milk foam and two shots of espresso roast all at the same time.
Ugh, worse is the parent who exits their vehicle. All hugging and backpack handoffs should be done in the car. And if you have a yearning desire to escort your love bugs inside then you need to drive to the parking lot. Because attention – the school drop off line is not a parking space.
Then you’ve got the V.I.P and not to lean into stereotypes but usually it’s a dad who thinks he’s way too important to wait in a school drop off line and goes rogue on the proper procedure for getting your kids out of the car. Sure, there are time tested rules but VIPs usually think that well, those rules weren’t meant for them because hello, they’re a really big deal.
I recently had a teacher friend tell me that a dad, day three into the new school year, upon getting a “correction” in his school drop off behavior told a school employee, “Did you not notice my Telsa SUV costs twice your annual teaching salary?”
Now, this teacher didn’t see this firsthand, so I don’t know if this actually occurred but based on doing school drop off for almost two decades I’m leaning towards a solid – absolutely happened.
In fact, this story intrigued me and got me wondering what school drop off looks like now. Are there apps for negotiating the lines? Are school’s now texting you when it’s your turn to initiate the drop off sequence? To abate my curiosity, I decided to visit the drop off lines at three separate schools in two different school districts over a three-day period.
If you’re now thinking “woman, get a life” you need to rescind that statement. I consider myself a suburban anthropologist and thus like to adhere to a strict code of research that demands a varied data pool with emphasis on exploratory activity. (Yes, that was some serious world salad but just go with it.)
Armed with only a fresh Diet Coke from McDonald’s I entered the fray of the school drop off. I couldn’t decide if I should actually get in the line or park and observe. I went with park and observe because being in the line without any kids in the car seemed super creepy.
I’m now, at last, ready to report my shocking findings. Nothing, as in zero, has changed. The whole thing was still a hot mess. It was as if I had time traveled back to 2008 when I had two kids in elementary school. I’m talking everything was the same except for the cars. #TelsaDads
There wasn’t any new technology to streamline the drop off or motion activated sensors that blared a recording of “You’re doing it wrong” to any parent trying to freelance on the rules. At the very least I thought there would be some sort of high-tech shaming that immediately sent texts to parents who messed up the drop off line. (I checked and there is not.)
Thus the conclusion from my research is that school drop off buffoonery remains timeless because a certain (growing) subset of humanity will always think they’re above the rules.
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