Friday, September 28, 2012

They All Look the Same

When we were looking for a home to buy we got similar advice from all the locals, but it wasn't the advice I expected. It mostly consisted of: "Wherever it is, make sure it's not on the same road as an elementary school. You won't be able to get within a mile of your home twice a day." and "Just make sure you are far away from any elementary school. Drop off times are bad, but pick-up times are a nightmare. You don't want to live anywhere near that." I did get a few "Avoid houses near elementary schools. Something about picking up kids from school turns parents into monsters. Seriously, avoid." Usually this advice was followed by a few personal horror story experiences. Some about living next to an elementary school, others just about picking their kids up from school.

Yesterday the woman I visit teach called and said she was stuck in a job interview and would I please pick up her son from elementary school? How could I say no?  I was apprehensive, not only did the stories scare me, but I was also nervous because I've only met her son a few times. I knew he was short, had black hair and tan skin, but I wasn't confident I could pick him out of a crowd.

Still, I packed Ash in the car and drove to the local elementary school. Once I got close, I balked. There were cars EVERYWHERE. The traffic was moving at a snails pace. And that was two blocks away form the school. Once I actually got into the parking lot, that's when I panicked. People were parked haphazardly all over the place; up on cubs, in red zones, behind other parked cars... After three narrow misses and what seemed like hours, I finally emerged from the parking lot. I parked the car in the nearest spot I could find, which happened to be next to a red curb. Looking up and down the red curb I saw a dozen other parked cars, so I figured I could risk it. I got Ash out, and we walked back to the school. We made it to the gate just as the school bell rang and all the kids came running out.

My heart sank. ALL the kids were short with black hair and tan skin. I could rule out a few kids, mostly because they were female, but all the boys looked like they might be the kid I was looking for. I looked around, discouraged. Finally, I saw the teacher the mom had described. I walked over to her. She was surrounded by a bunch of children. A few of them might be him. I called his name, hoping one of them would turn. None of them did. But the teacher looked up, and I explained I was there to pick him up. She gave me a weird look, then pointed to the kid right in front of me. He turned and looked at me and I looked at him: Sure. That could be him.

So I took him back to the car (relieved to find it still there with no ticket), strapped him in, and fought traffic for the next ten minutes, trying to travel the three blocks to his house. When we finally got there, his mom was waiting for us. The boy jumped out and hugged her, so I assume it was the right kid.

So, success! And wow, I am glad we don't live on the same street as an elementary school...


  1. Okay, that totally scares me. The teacher did not know you and let you take that child? Did the teacher know you were coming and not the mom? So, anyone could learn my child's name, tell the teacher they were there to pick them up and off they go. Yikes.

  2. And yes, people are horrid at pickup and dropoff. The traffic rules and school rules don't apply to them because their child needs to be picked up. No one else is waiting to pick up kids. NO! Everyone else has to wait while they cut in line or block the outgoing traffic lane so their kid can run out into the road to "jump" in the car, instead of waiting in the pickup line like everyone else. It is such a ME ME ME selfish monster that emerges in so many people. NO courtesy or manners. It is ridiculous.
    Can you tell this is a pet peeve? :)

  3. These kids are elementary kids. The teacher wasn't there to check the kids out, just to supervise. I've actually taken this same kid to school a few times, so he knows me, my car, and he instantly recognized Ash. But Yes, I assume anyone could take the kids and the teachers would have no idea.
    This is the same school that has 35 kidnergardners to 1 teacher. It's the Public School we are in the boundaries for, but we decided when we first moved here Ash is NEVER going there. And it's not just because I would hate to go through that pick-up madness everyday. :)

  4. I have experiences like this all the time. I cannot remember faces, so I'm constantly asking people what their names are and then finding out I've been introduced to them three times already. I was actually terrified the SECOND time I flew out to see J after we started dating that I wouldn't recognize him in the airport (I did, though).
    I wonder if that's a genetic thing?

  5. I wonder if it is! I have a really hard time recognizing someone if they change clothes and especially if I have to pick them out of a crowd. The kid knew who I was so obviously he has a better memory that I do!


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