Dear People Who Believe That Signs Like These Don’t Apply To You,
I understand that you may be busy or running late or not paying attention. I’ve been there. That’s part of what makes us proud of ourselves when we’re good people and do what we should be doing instead of what we want to do.
That’s a lesson I want to teach the wee ones, as well. I want them to understand that doing the right thing isn’t always easy. It isn’t always convenient. It isn’t always our first instinct. But it’s still important to do the right thing.
Each day I have to pick the wee ones up from school, I have choices to make.
Do I park on the wrong side of the road where it’s illegal to park but many other people do already? I can get closer to the school, and I’m pointed in the right direction when I need to head to our after school activities that we are able to get to either late or on time by the skin of our teeth.
Do I double park along the parking line? Tons of other people do it, and the wee ones will be out soon. So what if other people who are in the car lane can’t leave the line or can’t see traffic if a space opens up in front of me and they try to exit the pickup line. Hey, this year we’re triple parking, so I could go ahead and just do that, too.
Do I laugh at everyone waiting in line and pull into the front of the line and park so that I’m partially or fully blocking the crosswalk where numerous students and parents and younger siblings need to cross to get to their homes and cars? I can fit there, right?
Do I park in front of the fire hydrant along the street? It’s closer than parking another ten feet back across another driveway. And really, how often is there a fire that the fire department would need to access that hydrant anyway? I’ll only be parked there for ten minutes at most, right?
Do I park blocking the driveway of one of the school’s neighbors? Again, I can get closer to the school so I don’t have to walk as far. And what’s the likelihood that they need to get in or out of their driveway while I’m at pickup. They know by now what time school gets out and shouldn’t be trying to drive down their street anyway.
I choose not to. I either make sure that I’m at pickup early enough – which is only ten minutes before school lets out – to park legally and relatively close to the school. If I’m running late, I simply park in the first available legal spot along the street. It’s the right thing to do.
There’s a reason that it’s illegal and inconsiderate to park in any of those places.
You don’t know when there will be a need for that hydrant, so leave it open. You don’t know when a neighbor will need to access their driveway, so don’t block it. How would you feel if you lived there?
That street is a two way street. But when cars are parked on both sides of the street, only one lane of traffic can get through at a time. And the buses are bigger than cars and have a harder time maneuvering. With so many cars going in and out of spots and people crossing the street, it’s an accident waiting to happen.
Oh wait. It already did. To my car.
I’ve been watching the parking situation this year with trepidation, concerned that there’s going to be an accident due to low visibility from all the cars parked illegally or that someone is going to hit a person crossing the street. I’ve brought it up, though my concerns were pushed aside until our major event is over this weekend.
On Wednesday, when I came back to my very legally parked car after a ten minute run into the school and gathering the wee ones, I saw that my car had been sideswiped. My tire was gouged. My front quarter panel was significantly dented, with paint scratched off down to the metal. My front bumper is scraped and damaged. And I can’t open my door without a horrible metal grinding noise because there is so much out of alignment with my car right now.
Thank you for not stopping. Thank you for not leaving a note. Thank you for leaving me with thousands of dollars of damage to my car that requires me to pay my $1,000 deductible on my insurance and have an increase in my car insurance because you were late or texting or swerving to avoid another car and simply couldn’t be bothered to take car of your “accident.”
It was a good lesson for the wee ones.