The unwritten rules of school pick up

Ha ha, who are we kidding here? There are no rules for school pick up – it’s anything goes! But since you’re here..

School pick up – a history

I have travelled (and waited within) many a school pick up in my years – from designated laneways full of signs that nobody cares to read to public roads best avoided at least a full 30 minutes before the last school pick up bell and it’s all the same: When picking up your kids, apparently rules be damned, anything goes.

Yes it’s Mad Max Fury Road while the parents lay in wait for the kids to be unleashed and then it’s the mad scramble to get out unscathed just as quickly as you arrived, trying to beat the other cars, traffic lights and any and all road rules and regulations upon your escape. I really won’t miss this at all when my kids graduate.

And I was thinking with moving from a massive people hub to somewhere far quieter, that the school pickup system would be calmer in comparison. But no, it’s just as mental – especially if you want to be in the thick of it.
Provided you get there early enough that is..

School pick up – an unofficial guide

-To jag prime position in the available school pick up parks, you either have to be lottery lucky or there at least 60 minutes before the bell rings. I kid you not. I’ve found myself circling the block on occasion with 25-40 minutes before b-time (bell time) because of people who treat school pick up like they’re lining up for AFL grand final tickets.
And while I’m more than happy to park 2-3 blocks away and then get out and put one foot in front of the other (I believe this is called a stroll? Let me know) my wife on the other hand is more than happy to lap the block three times or more before a closer spot becomes available. Which is down to sheer luck really because the ones outside the main gates are school pick up prime real estate and will be squatted on near lunchtime and not relinquished until the kids are loaded in.

-The bigger your car, the more self perceived right you have in attempting to park in spots that cars don’t usually fit in. And I’m talking those unofficial parking spots usually alongside angle parks and next to a try where you could just wedge in a Peel P50 with a lot of lube and a fair bit of effort. Sticking the ass of your SUV halfway into road alongside it be damned, little Percy needs to be picked up for tuba practice and he needs to be picked up now dammit!

This barely fits in the spot. Under that logic and your Mazda Cx-9..

-Also the more expensive your car, the less you need to follow road rules (allegedly.) In the past three weeks alone I’ve seen a Lexus IS350 driver decide that directly across driveways (and usually school ones) are just fine to plonk the car waiting for little precious for over ten minutes at a time. Then there was the BMW SUV that decided the bus zone looked appealing at 2:30pm and left the car there to walk the dogs (what a fun chat they had with the parking ranger waiting for their return.) And a special shout out to the big Merc driver that saw my little Subaru in the closest park I could find on the day and figured ‘I can’t take his spot, I’ll just park behind him.’
Note: There was no spot behind me but it was obviously too hard to keep driving on to find one, so just leave it there..

-If you’re in a kiss and go zone (drop off the kids, give them a quick kiss goodbye, get the hell out of dodge) then those signs telling you not to linger or stop and park the car are obviously not for you. No they must be for the other non-school fee paying plebs and because you put in some hard earned coin for the school swimming carnival this year, then it’s more than okay to leave your seven seater in the middle of school drop off and school pick up while you campaign to raise your status in the PnC. No no, those signs are purely for your own amusement, do what you like.

-Finally back on the expensive car saga, the more you spent on your car = the more you can be an idiot around mine. No seriously, it’s the oversized big dollar SUV’s not the run of the mill commuter classics that like to drive right up to within a wasps dingaling of my rear bumper to ensure that if I see a free park, I can’t stop in time to get it. And when not creeping up behind me, if there’s a chance to hit warp speed and go around my obviously filthy and much lower class Subaru Impreza, well that’s what they’ll do. (Well they or their drivers will.)
The impatient honks you hear at around 3pm? They’re not from the lowered Commodore with the ratty exhaust. Nor from the mid sized SUV’s that seat five because that’s how many seats are actually needed. No they’re from the expensive people haulers carting the violins for practice and the non-allergenic expensive dog breed in the back getting annoyed that the rest of the driving world is not giving way after they just peeled out from across a driveway they’d perched themselves at.

School pick up – one final thought

On those once in a true blue moon occasions where by sheer luck or fortune I do land a spot right in front of the school – how do my kids subconsciously know this has happened and end up being later getting out of school than if I parked three blocks over? Every. Single. Time.

Food for thought. Have a great week and be nice to other drivers.

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