Thursday, May 30, 2013

Last Day Of School

            “Are you kidding me?” I wailed.      

            I stood looking out the front door five minutes before the dismissal bell on the last day of school.  It was pouring rain, and I had outside duty.

            I walked into the back office, donned the oversized yellow slicker, pulled the hood over my head, and slopped out into the rain.  

            The parking lot was chaos.  Six large yellow buses lined the walk in front of the school.  The teacher’s parking lot was flooded.  The water soaked my sandals as I splashed over the crosswalk to my spot in the pick-up lane.  The two lanes were clogged with cars, filled with parents waiting for their students.  Twenty feet beyond where I stood, cars lined the road waiting to turn into the pick-up lanes.  

            To keep my head from getting soaked, I tugged the hood forward.  But the sides of the hood blocked my vision for anything other than five feet wide in front of me.  The big yellow rain slicker was cold, wet, and stiff.  To see to either side I had to turn my whole body.  There must have been a cut somewhere in the hood because I could feel rain dripping down my back.

            I stood in the middle of the two pick-up lanes staring into headlights as the rain cascaded down over the vehicles.  The cars’ wipers swept the windshields, and I could see faces inside straining to catch sight of their students coming out of the school.    

            Three minutes later kids began filling the crosswalk as they scanned the cars looking for their rides.  Cars in the right lane could park and wait.  Cars in the left lane were supposed to keep moving.  As kids got in the cars, the left lane came to life and began emptying out.  As cars in the right lane filled, they signaled, moved into the left lane, and drove out. 

            I stood in the middle of all the confusion waving cars forward and hoping the yellow slicker made me visible enough to keep from getting run over. 

            Three carlengths down to my left, a black Suburban sat immobile.  Cars pulled up behind it, but the Suburban didn’t budge.  I furiously waved it forward as I walked towards it in the middle of the two lanes.  The vehicle’s windshield wipers flicked back and forth, and I could see movement inside.  I stepped directly in front of the vehicle and waved my hands back and forth to get the driver’s attention. 

            I didn’t care if it was the last day of school, this parent was blocking everything and I was not going to be nice telling them to move.  I continued over to the driver’s side and tapped on the window.  A dry, yellow Lab looked out at me sadly.

            “Seriously?  You left the dog to move the vehicle?  Where is this driver?”

            I turned and squinted through the rain.  Up by the crosswalk I saw a woman prancing towards me holding a large golf umbrella over her head.  Her arm was around her 7th grade daughter.  Both had rain slickers on.  Mom’s rain galoshes were turquois.   Her daughter’s galoshes were fuchsia.  My once beige sandals were now dark brown.  The mom held her keys out, beeped the Suburban open, and escorted her daughter to the passenger side.  Her daughter climbed in, mom slammed the door shut and walked around to the driver’s side.

            Over the rain I yelled, “You can’t leave your vehicle here like this.  You’re blocking all this traffic!”  My face was slick with rain.  The hood had blown back and my hair was soaked.

            As mom climbed into the car, she turned and yelled, “I had to go in and get my daughter.  I couldn’t let her get wet in all this!”  She slammed the door shut, started her vehicle, and pulled away. 

            I stood with my mouth gapping open.  I spread my hands out and looked around, just sure that the fifty other people watching shared my outrage.  But all I heard were horns honking.  I splashed back up to the crosswalk and continued waving cars through.

            Yay!  It’s summer vacation.

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