As a working mom, mornings can feel like a sprinted marathon that I must complete within a specific window of time: daycare drop off at between 8:30-8:45, me getting to work by 9. Usually, I’m barely finishing without collapsing. That’s why the daycare drop-off is KEY in getting to work on time. But sometimes, it doesn’t go as smoothly as needed.
Several months ago, I was driving my son to daycare, shockingly on time. We were singing in the car, laughing at the city buses and having a good old time. We turned right onto the daycare street, and BINGO there was an open space. I pulled in, brought my son inside and walked into his classroom. After a fairly drama-free kiss and hug goodbye, he happily went to eat his second breakfast. I walked to the lobby with a bounce in my step because it’s 8:42 a.m., and I’m going to be on time for work!
The daycare had a very small parking area (two non-staff spaces), which really serves as more of a drop-off area than an actual parking lot. There is plenty of parking on the street, which is fine, but those two spots are really coveted. And the unwritten rule is you never park behind another parent. Except for a man I shall now call “SUV McGee.”
SUV McGee decided to pull in behind me, positioning his vehicle directly behind my little Hyundai, effectively blocking me in because of the size of the small parking lot. OK, I thought, I’ll wait and the driver will be right out. It’s daycare drop off after all, and we are all trying to get in and get out. It’s 8:47, and I still have plenty of time.
After about a minute I see a woman walk out of daycare, keys in hand, and walk to the parking lot with keys in hand. Great! Here we go. Nope. She’s getting into a different car. I figure SUV McGee be right out so I take a moment or two to text my partner, check my work e-mail, and play on Facebook. But that moment quickly becomes too long.
It’s now 8:50 a.m., an ETERNITY in daycare-wait-time-world, and the SUV is still there, driver nowhere to be found. OK, don’t panic. It’s just three minutes. I email work to tell them I’m running a few minutes late, then debate what to do. Do I go inside and ask the teachers to find the parent who is blocking us in? Do I sit here and wait gracefully trying to remember a recent church sermon about kindness and words? Do I take advantage of the free time and car dance to my Spice Girls album? Yes. Always yes to the Spice Girls.
About half way through “Spice Up Your Life” I decide this is enough. I have a 9:30 meeting to prep for and SUV McGee is jacking it up!
As I get out of my car, a man walks out of daycare and down the stairs. I don’t recognize him, but maybe his kid is in the baby room or the big kid room.
“Is that your car?” I ask.
“Yes. Sorry about that.”
“It’s OK,” I respond, trying to be kind and such. No harm, no foul. I get back in, buckle up, and prepare to disengage the parking break. We can get on with our morning (8:53!).
Except we don’t. He gets in his SUV…and pulls out his phone. I watch him in my rearview mirror on his phone for a good minute and a half. What is he doing? Does he even realize he’s blocking me in? The stress ball inside of me is about to pop. I get out of the car, knock on his window.
Me: “Hi, I’m sorry but you’re blocking me, and I really need to get to work.”
He looks at me like I asked him if he would take out my trash for me. “I have to finish this email first. It will be a minute.”
“Sir,” I replied as calmly as possible. “I need to get to work. You’re blocking me in. If you need to finish can you please park on the street so I can get to work? It’s been nearly 10 minutes.”
“I’m sorry but I don’t text and drive, and I really need to finish my email.”
WHAT. IS. HAPPENING.
That’s when I lose it, and pull out my mom voice, which I’m continuously cultivating because my son isn’t even three yet, so it’s still sort of new.
“Sir, this is a parking lot, and you’re blocking me, and preventing other people from pulling in to drop of their kids. You wouldn’t like it if someone blocked you in when you were dropping off your son or daughter, so please show the same respect.”
“Oh, I’m not a parent. I just had to drop off some paperwork.”
BAM. Then it hits me. Of COURSE he’s not a parent. A parent or caregiver would never block someone else in intentionally, then continue to block them. A parent or caregiver would understand that daycare drop-off is a delicate balance of timing, speed and courtesy toward other parents!
I got back in my car. He got the message and pulled out and drove off, to God knows where, emailing God knows who.
I never saw him again, but from that day forward, I vow to never block anyone with kids in. Ever.