Thursday, January 03, 2013

Being an asshole in Minnesota is harder than you think.

My kid doesn't go to school right when school starts. If I'm dropping him off, it's at 6:15 a.m. or shortly thereafter (early bird catches the worms and all that fun stuff plus I get to go home early from work! Win-win!). I am grateful that I don't have to drop him off during drop-off madness time or pick him up during pick-up madness time. I can't imagine it's much fun. Thinking back to my childhood, I never thought once how annoying it probably was for my mom to drop and pick my sister and me up at school...however, I do remember being dropped off and picked up way far down the street, and I do faintly remember thinking that was mean of my mom to do to us...but now I get you, mom, I get you.

It's winter now, and in Minnesota that means dragging excess bags filled with snow pants and boots and gloves and hats to school every morning. This is on top of a backpack and a lunchbox and a completely mummified child (think Christmas Story and Ralphie's brother falling over in his snow bodysuit). It's a lot. And my kid is in kindergarten. It's kinda ridiculous. (My husband has also packed a change of clothes for my son in my son's backpack just in case my son goes all snow crazy and rolls around in the snow, getting himself soggy wet. He's also packed him bandages and chapstick. No, I'm not kidding. What's scarier is that my son has used both but luckily not the change of clothes. Me? I just pack him snacks that he doesn't eat and his library book and homework when he needs to return them. Perhaps there is a reason for having two parents instead of just one who doesn't take into consideration a child's chapped lips?) In other words, it's a lot to remember and of course something will be forgotten at some point.

I work at home most days now, and my son's school is all of one minute away from our house when it's not snowing (two minutes when it is). One day I was happily working away when my husband texted me and told me that he forgot our son's snow boots.

I thought, hmmm, that's too bad, now isn't it, and continued to work. I figured being very noncommittal so I didn't have to throw on real clothes and try to make myself look alive (working at home means working in PJs and only taking showers when the mood strikes me, which is never first thing in the morning) was better than being a responsible parent. Sometimes it works.

Husband: He was good.

Husband: But I forgot his boots.

Me: Ohhhhh. That's too bad. [Insert knowing nodding from concerned wife.]

Tick, tick, tick...

Husband: Do you think you can drop his boots off? [Read: You weren't really going to offer, were you? What kind of crappy mother are you?]

Me thinking: Frickin' frakin' wish I decided to go into the office today because it's almost time for school to start and I don't want to deal with the madness and so what if he doesn't have boots, he'll live, they have a boots to borrow, it's not the end of the world, I so don't want to leave, gah.

Me: Sure.

I ran into the bedroom, changed clothes quickly, ran into the bathroom, untangled my hair, straightened it, threw on some make-up, and sighed. I still looked slightly homeless and half-asleep.

I grabbed my son's boots, got in the car, and braced myself for my trip to his school. As I turned the corner onto his school's street, there were kid crossing guards, buses galore, and cars and cars and more cars. I've heard there is some sort of drop-off and pick-up etiquette, similar to that of staying to the right side of an escalator if you're standing or allowing bus passengers to depart from front to back (and you better believe we all want to kill that one person who dares to go from the very back to the front like we're all sitting there waiting for him (yes, it's true, I just gender stereotyped) to get off the bus before we move, but that's another story), but like I said, I don't drop my boy off during this time. I don't know what it is. I'm stupid. And innocent. And looking homeless.

I drove into the horseshoe where I normally park my car when dropping off or picking up my son. I read the signs: Drop-off only and Waiting zone. And I thought, waiting for what? Waiting for your kid? And what if you're dropping off your kid?  And so your car is waiting because you need to walk them in because you're protective and they are little and you fear a crazy person will jump out of a bush and attack your kid while you're driving through the horseshoe after you've dropped them off? Huh, what then school??? And maybe to "drop one off" means parking and doing just that...dropping them off by walking them into the school? What to do, what to do?

There was a little lady in a crossing guard outfit chatting with someone who was in a van with its side van doors open wide. Well, if it's okay for that person to sit and chat, then why can't I park in the drop-off zone to drop-off boots...I thought. I mean, really, waiting zone, drop-off zone, all semantics, and I need to get back home to work. This is all my husband's fault anyway.

As I pulled the parking brake up (Side note: It's apparently weird to use your parking brake in Minnesota. My mechanic casually mentioned that we must use our parking brake like it was an extremely weird thing to do. I mentioned this while in a cab in San Francisco going up on the the steeper hills and the cab driver had my back and said, it's always good to use your parking brake. He's probably never been to Minnesota. I'm not even sure what that means and I live in Minnesota.) I looked in my review mirror and saw a lady pulling up behind me, and another lady pulling up behind her, and so on and so forth. The van was still in the drop-off zone with the lady in the crossing guard garb chatting away. I looked back again, lady was giving me the stink eye; I looked up again, van still parked.

Hell, what choice did I have?

I pulled the keys out of the ignition (Another side note: Leaving your car running, whether it's freezing or super hot, it a-okay here in the Twin Cities (unless, of course, you're in parts of St. Paul or the slummier areas of Minneapolis, and maybe Burnsville, but yeah, you get the point. We're old timey here in Minnesota and trust each other (but I don't, hell to the no, I do not!)), grabbed the boots, jumped out of the car, and proceeded to walk purposefully to the door to the Y entrance. That's when I heard a, "Hey, LADY! YOU CAN'T DO THAT!!!" being yelled at me from behind.

I kept on walking.

I pulled open the door, handed the boots to the Y person, and told her we forgot them, and turned around and ran out the door and to my car. You know, to show I was, uh, making an effort?

The crossing guard-garbed lady was shaking her head at the lady who was behind me and giving me the stink eye previously. I'm sure there was some "the nerve of some people!" being tossed about, perhaps even, "she must not be from around these parts, dontcha know," but I made it to my car without anyone jumping out of their car and pelting me with rocks.

The lady told me, "You can't do that! You can't park here! You should park over there," while pointing to the waiting zone area.

Well hot damn, that explains it all, now doesn't it?

The cars were backed up to the street behind me; however, since I don't normally drop my son off at this time, that may be normal for all I know. I smiled sweetly at her, giving her my best homeless mom smile, and said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize it. I won't do that again," and jumped right back in my car and took off.

Yeah, I kinda did realize it. I'm an asshole.

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