I never figured out the wisdom of building Happyland Elementary on a county highway, far off the beaten path of sidewalks and 25 m.p.h. speed limits, but I'm guessing it had something to do with cheap farmland for sale. Because of where it's situated, every single one of the 800 kids attending get driven to school--except for mine, who get to walk across the field. Trust me, the 45 m.p.h. traffic on a county highway linking Happyland to All Major Thoroughfares is not for the fainthearted. Traffic is heavy, usually impatient and careless of others.
Yesterday I had to deliver Team Testosterone via Momvan because I had a huge load of donated paper for the classrooms. Moments after I turned onto the highway, an SUV (isn't it always?) came speeding up behind me and sat on my rear bumper. I hate tailgaters and vandals--but I grit my teeth and didn't hit my brakes because I was hauling children. In my dented and tan Momvan. Lay off, big, shiny, show-offy SUV. Suck it.
I kept glancing in my rear view window and thinking, "Lady, it's a school zone--traffic is slow. You're probably new here, or unfamiliar with this road so I'll cut you a break. But when I turn off here in 200 feet and you speed off like an assh*le, I really hope a county deputy pulls you over. See? See the yellow caution signs? The big elementary school where most of this traffic is turning in? We're not driving on a speedway. Sheesh!"
But! When I turned into the school's parking lot, the SUV followed, centimeters from my rear bumper. Was she following me to bitch me out for driving too slow? Was it some hotshot school supply salesperson with no concern for school kids, only their profit? Or--gasp!--was it a driver dropping off kids?
The rule at Happyland Elementary is that only buses can park in front of the building to drop off and pick up. To de-congest traffic jams, all other vehicles must park and drivers must escort children safely to the front doors of the (poorly designed with only one main entrance and craptacular parking/access driveway) building. If you break the rule and try to park at the front door and drop your kids, the two crones guarding the door will give you a stern lecture. Regulars know better than to do this. Imagine my smug grin when I turned to park and the SUV kept driving towards the building.
I parked and herded Mr. G and Mr. B across the parking lot towards the building, all the while thinking how the crones would have a field day giving this tailgater speeding along in her SUV what-for when she tried to shove her brood out of their car seats directly through the front door of the building. Or even better--she'd stupidly park in one of the prime Visitor spots right in front of the door and get blocked in by a school bus--a common experience for newbies dropping off their kids--what looks like the easy route takes forever with all the traffic.
We were almost past the parked cars and on the sidewalk across the front of the school building while I scanned the lot for my speeding, tailgating SUV driver (I had to see what kind of person this was--a slick salesperson hawking school supplies? Perfectly coiffed mom dressed in her gym clothes and sending texts while hustling her kids out the side door of her Expedition? Someone who missed her alarm and had to off her kids wearing baseball cap, pajama pants and muklucks?). I glanced over my shoulder to watch her pull up in front of the crones when a loud SCREEECH-BANG! echoed through the air. Team Testosterone stiffened and the parents, children and two crones in front of the building whirled around to and stare with curiosity and condemnation.
The speeding, tailgating SUV driver had whipped into a Visitor space and slammed into another parked car. The crones were on the case immediately. "You're going to have to report that!" "You were really driving fast through here!" "What were you thinking?" I bid Team Testosterone farewell and retraced my path across the parking lot feeling vindicated.
Speeders never get anywhere fast because tickets and cops and insurance companies really slow them down.