I quit car line earlier this year.
Not because loading up small kids is more anxiety-ridden than trying to win The Hunger Games, but because one of my kids is really slow.
She would not win The Hunger Games.
Because of this, I started to drive around the car line to park in the lower lot and walk over to where she waits with her class to pick her up. It’s not only easier, but it’s much faster—assuming I can get my kids to quit talking and look over while I’m waving my arms around like an idiot.
Mostly, though, I quit car line because I just can’t handle it anymore. We, the parents of the educational institution my children attend, are not inventing a vehicle capable of driving to London and back in fifteen minutes. We are picking up our kids. From school. We are not trying to solve world hunger; we just want to get our kids as fast as we can so we can get home, get out of the car, and eventually, they can go to bed. Because silence really is golden.
Not so long ago, I walked my kids back to our car and made sure they were safely buckled in their seats, I pulled out of my lower lot parking space and proceeded to turn left to merge into the car line to exit the school. Something I’ve done a thousand times this year without issue because car line is entering the lot from the right side of the property and exiting out the left. That’s all it is; one long line of one-way traffic.
So, I was more than surprised to see someone—and I won’t mention her name because I don’t know it—pull out of her lower lot parking space, and turn right.
Right into me.
Right into the line of cars waiting to enter the car line.
Every car is going left on the entire property. Even cars in the upper lot who have nothing to do with car line are turning left to get out.
No one is going right.
I had to stop because she was in front of me. The car next to her had to stop because they couldn’t pull out of the parking space without hitting her. The car behind her had to stop because they couldn’t fit by her. She had to stop. We all had to stop and ask ourselves the same question:
“How is this even happening?”
She was stuck. She couldn’t go in reverse because there was a line of cars. She couldn’t go to the side because there was a merging line of cars. She couldn’t move forward because she would drive into oncoming cars. She wasn’t driving a transformer. She could not just command her SUV to assemble itself and walk out of there.
We all sat at a dead stop and looked at her as she looked around like she didn’t understand what was happening.
And it was pretty clear what was happening.
She was trying to go right in an all left arena.
Rather than do another quick right back into the parking lot, and then, one more righty-righty into a parking space so she could pull forward and try try again for left, she started to back up.
Into the car line.
Where other cars sat.
All waiting to turn left.
We are all going left.
Animals know when their entire flock flies left, they fly left too. If they go right, they could get eaten by a hyena that’s sprinting at an upwards speed of 35 miles per hour. It’s also running left.
After about three minutes—which is forever in Car Line Land—she managed to flip directions without an accident by performing a series of many, tiny three-point turns that were done so slowly they made my slowish child look as fast as a hyena.
I still don’t know how it happened. Even if you have never heard of car line.
Or a car.
Or a line.
Common senses tells us when we see all the things going “that way,” we must also go that way.
It’s logic. We all come equipped with some of it. It’s in the very basic fabric of our DNA along with fight or flight. That’s when your body goes into survival mode and automatically does what it needs to do to live—like having super-human strength to lift a car off your leg because it turned right instead of left in car line.
Now, I know we all make mistakes. No one is perfect. I’m not perfect. I’m always making mistakes, and I’m always happy to share all the dumb things I’ve done in life. Including the time I held up the entire car line for two and a half minutes to crawl around the dirty, snowy, pavement under my car to retrieve LEGO fire. A toy-part that my, child (who was sobbing) had accidentally kicked out of the car during her rushed exit.
So, I get it. We all do ridiculous things.
But everyone was going left.
The entire car line is one long, slow, leftward movement.
Even if you have never heard of car line.
Or a car.
Or a line.
Common senses tells us when we see all the cars going “that way,” we must also. . .