Auto-ambulating Backpacks and the SSoD

It’s really hard to keep bragging about the high quality of the school system when you have to drive around some of the crosswalks around here.

So there I was, later than usual, dropping my little darling off at school after a hurried breakfast of coffee and toast. Yes, this is how 2nd Grade prepares you for life – running late and gulping your coffee. I love this kid. She still thinks it’s cool when I shut her door by slamming the car into gear and squealing the tires.

We get to school, making the left into the lot, and I notice a group of kids stumbling toward the crosswalk. I stop, because A) I notice there’s no border patrol on the corner, B) the crossing guard is too busy talking to someone on the other side of the street to notice the kids or my car, and C) I have three kids, and I know that all children are crazy. To my mild surprise, the children stop anyway. The crossing guard becomes aware of the kids and my car at the same time and literally jumps, suddenly thrusting her stop sign at me as though the force of her “stop” would lend weight to her side of the argument had I been doing 50 miles an hour. Since I had been at a full and complete stop for nearly 30 seconds, this seemed wasted effort.

The children are dutifully crossed, the crossing guard in Alert Code Yellow and the Stop sign itself in high dudgeon. I noticed two more kids, boys this time, walking toward the corner on my right, having been alerted to this fact by my darling in the backseat who is shouting hellos and greetings to them, disregarding the closed window. She does this with the television, too – we’re thinking of getting her tested.

Ah! The crossing guard spies the approaching boys and goes into Alert Code Orange. The Stop sign is now raised slightly above her head, as though to smite my evil vehicle with the holy fire of Stop should it move even an inch. I’m not going to move, since by having three kids I have learned not only that all children are crazy, but that little boys are *really* crazy. True to form, the boys are oblivious to the crossing guard, the car, the weather, and the child in the back of my car yelling at them through the closed window, and start out into the crosswalk.

Now, this crosswalk is about 40 feet across. I’m on the right, in a car that is maybe 6 feet wide, probably not that much. Once the boys have passed my car, and the crossing guard with her Stop Sign Of Death, it is safe for me to continue. There are no other kids in sight. I’m watching the crossing guard, waiting for her to lower the SSoD, but she’s focused her laser vision on the walking backpacks, which is what the boys look like from this side. At 30 feet away, I couldn’t hit them with a pistol, never mind with my car.

Homicide is obviously high on my list of things to do, though, because the crossing guard is certain that if she lowers the SSoD an instant before the boys are accepted into the welcoming arms of the other side of the street, I will immediately cause my car to violate all known rules of physics by jumping up on two wheels, turning 90 degrees, and reaching relativistic speeds just to crush these walking backpacks under the iron tread of my wicked tires.

After all, Death is why I came here today.

Oh, no, wait. I came to drop off my kid at school. After – and only after – the auto-ambulating backpacks have crested the opposite curb, more than 50 feet from the clear and present danger of my pimped-up Subaru, does the intrepid crossing guard lower the SSoD, force herself into Alert Code Mauve, and let me pass. As I do, she gives me a wave I’m sure I’ve seen before.

Oh, yes, that’s it…

“Ding, fries are done!”

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