Wednesday, November 20, 2013

School Bus Stop Incident

Being the perpetual oddball I am one of my most consistent traits is that I am always early to arrive at whatever location or event I need to be. The overwhelmingly simple basis for this behavior is that I absolutely hate to rush. I would rather be twenty or even thirty minutes early for some appointment or rendezvous than wait to the last minute and have some unknown factor cause me to be late.

Strangely enough, few members of my family or friends seem to appreciate this trait. Frankly, it drives my lovely spouse crazy, she is the type that times everything precisely in an effort to be as efficient as humanly possible. I’m sure effective time management is a worthy endeavor but such it is just not compatible with my laid back style. Of course, it is understood that since I admit to being an eccentric when it comes to taking my good time going places most of the people I encounter are far more like my wife than me.

Case in point, since my daughter, Darth Wiggles, entered middle school it is far simpler, and dare I say efficient, to go pick her up instead of having her ride the bus home which would take about two hours before she walked through the front door. Wiggles’ has considerable homework every night except Fridays and, being selfish here, I’d like some decent time to enjoy my family during the evening before going to work.

So, being true to myself I leave the house around 2:50pm, drive to the school, and join the line of cars that has already formed. I nearly always bring a book or listen to some show on one of the NPR radio stations to kill time while I wait. The school bell for dismissal rings at 3:25pm and after that, there is a mild form of chaos as parents and children slowly begin the process of linking up. It’s all within reasonable levels with the school staff playing traffic cops, just another duty on top of all the others these underpaid professionals must perform.

The drive home for Wiggles and me is exceedingly short except for the times one of the school buses gets out a little early. If that happens, I have to stop a few times as the kids get off the bus and cross the street. To me it’s no big deal, but that is not the case with some people.

A couple of weeks ago I overslept and was, relatively speaking, a little late picking up my daughter from school. Because of this as she and I were going home I had to stop for a school bus that was in the other lane letting several children off. This bus had already deployed its “STOP” sign on the driver’s side of the vehicle and had its array for red lights flashing signifying that all approaching cars had to stop. This again was no problem for me since I never really feel the need to rush.

However, there was some sort of issue with the suburban soccer mom behind me. No sooner had the last kid in the procession stepped off the road she went ballistic honking the horn of her minivan. From my rearview mirror, I observed some sort of spastic fit. From point of view it looked like she absolutely had somewhere important to be and that I was holding her up. In some microscopically small way I had some sympathy for her, we've all been in that position, but my number one concern was that the school bus in front of me still had its stop sign deployed and its red lights flashing.

I shrugged in an attempt to communicate with the woman but all that got me was her mouthing some words I will have to assume were rather nasty. I hate to admit but this ruffled my calm, laid-back demeanor and going completely against my usual conduct, I stuck my left arm out of the car window and proudly gave her my best middle finger salute.

Even though the kids were out of harm’s way I was simply not going to move until the bus retracted its stop sign and cuts off the flashing lights. I have heard too many stories about some kid suddenly turning around and running back to the bus because he or she left something on it. Frantic suburban soccer mom be damned I ain’t hitting no kid because she’s worried about being late for her yoga class or not having dinner ready for her Mister White Bread America when he gets home from work.

I’d like to say this was some isolated incident but I have a had few other encounters with irate suburbanites with a much too high opinion of themselves. One rather small guy, who drove a huge monster truck worthy of a Walking Dead episode or some other apocalyptic movie looked like he wanted to pick a fight once after a small traffic disagreement, that is until my six-foot, six-inch frame got out of my tiny KIA Rio.

There are two conclusions I always come away from something like this. The first being, I'm not sure what the issue is with these people, part of me hopes none of them ever get tied up in a major traffic incident in some big city. Given the number of National Rifle Association decals I see around here I have all idea gunfire would play a part in settling the affair.

The second is that I am sure all sorts of bouts of anxiety and barely controlled rage would be solved it South Carolina legalized marijuana. Because if there ever was a community that desperately needed to get high its these anal retentive individuals. 


Cloudia said...

You got my vote, stranger♥

Bella said...

they call them assholes here and we'd shoot'em!

Pixel Peeper said...

When I first moved from "Yankee Land" to South Carolina, my new co-workers always took great pride in Southern friendliness, charm, and manners. And then I mentioned that it was really rude to not use turn signals, follow too closely, and cut people off in traffic.

After that, we stopped talking about Southern friendliness. We went on to religion and politics. Heh.

Sherry said...

Up here in the frozen northern US of A we're even giving lessons on how to behave in a road rage incident along with the actual driving lessons. Seems that I heard from one of the attendees that giving the finger isn't something one should strive for when in this kind of situation. *grins*

Akelamalu said...

We call it road rage here and it's quite common I'm sad to say. :(

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I'm with you. I hate panic drills, meaning I don't want to have to rush like an idiot to get someplace on time. My hubby and I are typically early, but that's okay by me.

As for the soccer mom being in such an all-fired hurry, she should have known better. Her behavior was as foolish as honking the horn at someone stopped at a red light. Although I can understand your motivation in flipping her the ol' one-finger salute, you might wanta be more careful about that. Sweet-looking soccer moms can carry concealed weapons, too.

R W Rawles said...

Decades before the NRA attained its present pre-putsch status and before we moved up here to Paradise where everyone is patient and polite, I had a similar incident. A lady who was 45 years older than I was behind me and honking. I finally flipped her off. She abruptly pulled ahead of me, slowed down, opened her sun roof, and took both hands off the wheel to give me a double bird. She gave me a little respect for me elders which I needed at the time.

Beach Bum said...

Cloudia: Thanks!

Bella: Yeah, but to them I am the nasty one. It's a matter of perception and I plead guilty to the charge of being a douche sometimes.

Pixel: LOL!!! There is an old story along those lines. There are several versions but the one I like best involves a English war bride who came to live in a small town here South after WW2. The group of local ladies quickly took this young bride under their wings and schooling her in Southern culture. During gossip sessions though the local ladies kept using the term, "well bless her heart" or "bless his heart" whenever talking about someone who did something questionable.

This English lady mistakenly took the term to mean something nice or showing real concern about the person mentioned. So one day when the local queen bee of the gossip group fell and broke her ankle while visiting the home of a married couple of questionable morals the transplanted English lady began spreading the word saying, "Well bless her heart but Edith went and fell over at the Mitchell house."

This small mistake set tongues wagging and before long everything was blown out of proportion and reason with "Edith" now having an affair with Mr. Mitchell.

Long story short, Southern friendliness generally ain't worth a penny once someone leaves a room.

Sherry: Yeah, I agree but I already a social pariah where I live so its no big deal.

Susan: I have wondered a few times that maybe she was desperate to go to the bathroom or something similar. But everything still boils down that I am not going to endanger a kid or flirt with civil or criminal legal action just because one of these locals feels put upon.

R.W.: LOL!!! I saw similar actions while visiting DC and other big cities.

Randal Graves said...

Everyone's in a hurry. The morning folks zip past when I'm taking the kids to school and all they're doing is hurrying to get to work, a place they presumably hate.

Gorilla Bananas said...

As we say in the jungle, the early bird avoids the late soccer mom. Maybe you should have offered her a joint to calm her down.

The Bug said...

I can be guilty of being impatient (not in that situation - I understand how to behave around a bus!), but I finally figured out how to calm myself down: I listen to audio books. Radio & music just winds me up - it has to be a book. I get lost inside & I don't even care if the car in front of me is going 5 mph below the speed limit :)

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