Monday, 25 November 2013

Selfish Driver Rant ...... # 1000!

I am entering my 7th year as a Mommy at my children’s school and one concern has existed for all my years. What’s that you ask? Selfish parents who put their own and other people’s children at risk everyday just by being selfish. It’s pathetic. And I’m tired of it, and so are many other parents. I’m going to cut through the niceties and excuses here. I’m taking off my politically correct hat and cutting loose. You may recognize yourself in some of these. Good. I hope you feel ashamed. Today, I don’t have a problem with that. Today, I’m giving myself permission to tell it like it is.

You being perpetually late isn’t my problem, nor is it the kids. Drive the limit anyways; and slower once you are near the school. If you hit someone the police aren’t going to accept “but I’m 15 minutes late for work” as a valid excuse for injuring a child. The child’s parents will hate you FOREVER. The same goes for whatever jackass-maneuver you feel entitled to because you feel your time is more valuable than someone else’s. It isn’t ever ok to double park to dump your kids in the middle of the road, or pretend you don’t see the pedestrians or crossing guards. It’s selfish, and makes you look like a terrible parent. Also, we talk about you, A LOT.

It is never ok to use the crosswalk zone, fire hydrant zone, bus zone, or handicapped zone as your own personal parking spot. These things are there for the safety of other’s. Acting as if fate favours you and there’s magically a free spot available every morning for you and only you is beyond obtuse. Those areas have no cars in them because it is illegal for cars to park there and because the parents who DO park there look like assholes, most people know that. When people do it, we talk about them, A LOT.

Showing up at a school where there are well over 500 kids and expecting the right to dump your kids in the half block in front of the school is insane. Unless you or your child has a physical reason why they cannot walk a little ways to school then you should be expecting a bit of leg work. I grow so weary of Moms who spend hundreds of dollars on gym memberships, personal trainers, and diets yet won’t walk 2 blocks back to school from their safely and legally parked car. Now I’m not sure if they’re as dumb as they are playing at being, but telling Parent Parking Patrol volunteers that the drop off zone is too small and needs to be enforced is not helpful. Even if they could legally enforce it, it still only has 7 spaces and 200 cars worth of parents all expect to get them. Now I was never great at Math but I’m pretty sure that it won’t add up. How about ditching the ridiculous 4 inch stilettos and Italian greased-sole designer footwear for something sensible and parking a block away, then taking a nice stroll back with your kids? You will all benefit from the fresh air, exercise, family conversation, and you will start to realize all the great people and happenings at your kid’s school. You seem to be putting Fashion over Family and Friendship. And seriously, you too-well-dressed-to-get-out-of-my-car-or-engage-with-the-unwashed-masses-at-my-kid’s-school parents, we all talk about you, A LOT.

Your kids are great! Awesome in fact. And they know the rules. They can, and will, walk to school from a safe drop off point a block or two away responsibly if you let them. So let them. They can do it. I know they know how because they look helplessly at the parking patrol parents when you berate them for trying to get you to cross at the crosswalk when you’re too busy to walk the 14 metres and want to jaywalk instead. They know what to do and when you don’t support them in making the right and safe choice you look unbelievably insensitive. It’s shocking that a parent could take a child by the hand and jaywalk them across a dangerously congested road 14 metres from a marked crosswalk. Lazy is too kind of a word for that. Arriving on the other side and telling the volunteer parent that the ‘whole crosswalk should be moved for their convenience’ is the crème-de-la-facepalm and I would honestly smack you if it weren’t for the already apologetic and devastated look on your child’s face. It’s especially wonderful when you are reminded to use the crosswalk and you berate the volunteer (or even the police) because we’re ‘wasting their time’ and we’re ‘stupid’, all in front of their child. They see the helpers at their school as kind and the Police as good and don’t understand why you don’t. They KNOW you’re doing the wrong thing and you’re bullying them into doing it too. But don’t worry, with your excellent modelling of boneheaded and thoughtless behaviour, they’ll be just like you soon enough. We talk about YOU, A LOT.

I could go on and on about the stuff you do because you feel entitled. Perhaps the Porsche/Beamer/Mercedes/Lexus/Cadillac/Fill-in-the-blank-Luxury-Label salesmen convinced you that the lower castes would tremble before you as you drove through in this status statement, but we’re not afraid of you. And it really ticks us off when you appear to feel your wealth entitles you to special treatment. Study after study shows people in the highest income levels are more likely to engage in anti-social acts which break rules to improve their own position. Here’s just one And a LOT of the data came from looking at how they drive. Hmmmmm. Apparently failure to yield to pedestrians, speeding, cutting off other drivers, dangerous swerving, and parking infractions were all documented at significantly higher rates in drivers of Luxury vehicles. Good to know we’re not just making it up. Now, I am aware that some of you see your wealth as luck and live gratefully, and you know the fact that you worked very hard to achieve it doesn’t mean you worked any harder than the vast majority of  lower income, hardworking people around you. But a bunch of you, like a huge bunch, think you deserve more than your fair share, and I gotta say it stinks. It makes us feel you achieved your wealth, not through hard work at all, but through a willingness to do immoral and opportunistic things we simply wouldn’t. So if you wonder why we have an extra load of stink eye as you aggressively accelerate through the cross walk as kids are trying to cross, maybe it’s because you’re making that study true. You seem to know a lot about how to be financially successful but not much about becoming a successful human being. We talk about you, a LOT.

I also get that sometimes, we're just rushed and rationalize that's it's just once and a while, but with 200 cars coming through daily that once and a while adds up too. And you can't expect others to see the difference. To an exhausted, stressed out parking patrol mommy you look just like the people who do it every day. You are the ones we can really reach, you are the ones we know are on side, you are the ones who care. So we're asking you to care every day, each time. Be late. It's ok. If everyone really just saved it for dashing in to pick up a sick kid or dropping off 400 hot lunch sandwiches (or whatever ACTUALLY makes sense) then we wouldn't need to worry. We'd be the community we are meant to and CAN be.

So let’s recap. When you place convenience over courtesy, and self-entitlement over safety it is really dangerous for others. You can brush it off as much as you want but that truth still sticks. You don’t get to think of yourself as a good person when you consistently play Russian roulette with other people’s safety. Especially when some of those other people are your own kids and I don’t know how you look at yourself in the mirror. The kids know how to be safe and good to each other. YOUR kids know. Turns out, we can learn A LOT from the kids.

Get over yourself, drive like a good person, and we’ll stop talking.

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