I spend approximately 1 1/2 hours in the car line a week. This gives me ample time to read, talk with my boys, who are stuck in their car seats, and force them into meaningful conversations (as meaningful as a 4 and 2 year old can get) or just "people watch". Many days I'm ambitious enough to multi-task and combine the toddler meaningful conversation with the people watching. Though sometimes that is hard since I was taught how to people watch by the master of all people watching, my Mother. My Mom LOVES to watch how different people handle different situations, all while they are unaware that a whole reality tv show is being viewed, even if only for a second, and they are the stars. My Mom is hilarious in pointing these things out too. She would never point her finger or gawk, that's un-southern, she just simply goes into a mock conversation of how/what these people are saying or thinking. My Mom is hilarious, so her mock conversations usually send those who are within earshot into side-splitting laughter. Once you hear part of her "conversation" it's then your turn to complete two tasks: 1. Figure out who in the world she is talking about 2. Complete the discussion as the person you are watching would most likely say it. Being raised by a Mother who has always been so good at this game has only caused me to hear these conversations in my head when I am alone, or in the presence of someone who would think I had lost my mind.
Often when sitting in the car line, while waiting for my sweet Lucy to finish her oh-so-important popsicle stick painting, that is going to teach her how not only to do algebra, but also to solve world hunger, I look into the cars to my side and think about the other caregivers who are waiting to collect their pride and joy:
The Mom in the new gold suburban who is ALWAYS on her cell, even AFTER little John Parker hops into the car, would be saying, to her cell, not her child or the sweet teacher who is helping him in the car, (Read with a valley girl voice) "Did you see her? She's so gained every single bit of weight she lost last year. Seriously, when I went to see his teacher today I was like, um, I'm not sure why you keep asking me to come in for a conference, John Parker is just strong-willed. If you can't handle him, maybe we should change teachers. You do know that my father-in-law owns a construction company here in town, right? Oh, John Parker just needs more praise, he doesn't do well with criticism. Do you think he should be tested for the gifted program? We're also having him tested for ADD. But, I think he's just so smart that he's like bored or something..." To which I scream as she drives by, "GET OFF THE PHONE! You haven't seen Lil' John Parker ALL DAY! " Okay, so not really, but one of these days I'm going to.
Then, there's the helpful grandmother, who drives the black CR-V whose voice sounds (in my head) like the Fairy Godmother on Cinderella. The car smells of fresh baked cookies and when her grandson hops in, she says sweet things like, "Oh, Bobby. You look just like your Daddy did on his 102nd day of Kindergarten. My how you've grown! Here's your fresh squeezed lemonade, Honey."
There's the chain-smoker, who thinks just because she's in her own car the NO SMOKING on SCHOOL GROUNDS rule doesn't apply to her. I'm going to cut her some slack though, she usually has on a Waffle House uniform. And, props to "Tanya" as I call her, for putting out the cig before "Angel" sulks into the sputtering teal Chevy. Tanya can be heard talking in a southern hick drawl like the wonderful actors from the movie Varsity Blues, "Angel-Baby (starts smacking on a piece of Nicorette) how many times did'ja git sent to timeout today? And what fur? Well, you best be keepin' yur smart mouth shut. Did'ja make anybody cry today? The teacher again? GREAT. Now I'm gonna have to go back up thur. Yur Diddy is gonna be so pissed..."
There's Susie Homemaker, in her shiny new van with freshly vacuumed carpets, and a small child with freshly brushed hair and a monogrammed outfit that of course coordinates with the kindergartener she is so enthusiastically collecting from a day of learning. She goes by Mrs. Stewart, only because she seems that proper and I can't think of a smart-alek first name to go with her seemingly perfect world. All her sentences are spoken correctly and completely, with exact annunciations. As little Mary Kay-Eloise Stewart gets into the car, her ginormous hair bow gets caught in the van door and she cries the entire way to their house with a pounding head ache, all because Mrs. Stewart was too embarrassed to stop the traffic behind her and put the van in park, so the automatic door could open and free lil' Mary Kay "hyphenated" Eloise's head from the closed position. No, she would rather the monogrammed bow get squished, she can always iron that out later.
Then, there's the laid back, too cool for school Mom who's always in her pj pants with greasy hair thrown back in a pony tail. Her dusty van is filled with cracker crumbs, old smelly sippy cups, and french fries that are hard and crusty, (she can't even remember the last time she went through a drive thru). She always scampers as the door is opening, to keep any debris from falling out onto the sidewalk, such as said sippy cups or old color sheets from Bible class. Her name is "Holly" and her conversations can be heard in a lazy southern dialect, "No, Thunder. Honey bees do not eat people. No they don't. Neither do lizards. Lightning, don't eat the sticker you got at the doctor's office! Put it back on your shirt. Yes, Thunder. Sharks will eat people. Yes, bears will too." This Mom's car load contains boys who haven't had their hair brushed since they went to church on Sunday, and most days can be found wearing a shirt or pants. Very rarely are they wearing both. As her little pride and joy pops into the car, sounds of a super drama queen can be heard, "Momma! I thought you were NEVER gonna get here today! All my friends got picked up first and I had to sit with BOYS! YUCK!" "Well, Your Highness, I still picked you up quicker than the bus. Would you like to ride it tomorrow?"
She complains no more. And, "Holly" is glad, for how would she entertain herself from 1:40-2:00 each afternoon?