View From Table 9

September 26, 2007

Parents Can Be Jerks

Filed under: Uncategorized — table9 @ 2:28 pm

So, we live about 4 blocks away from our son’s Montessori school. He loves to move – riding his bike or walking are far preferred to riding in a car in general. This is good – it’s healthy, gives him an outlet for his seemingly unbounded energy, and gets us all moving and enjoying active lifestyles.

For the past year or so we’ve been getting out and moving on our way to school, rather than driving the car.  The streets are not busy (except for one 1/2 block stretch) and there are some nice gradual hills for both cardio challenge and coasting fun. First, we walked. Then he mastered pedaling so we began riding his bike with training wheels to school. Then we got a tag-a-long bike to attach to our bikes. It’s been great – we get some fun time and exercise. We’ve gotten lots of positive comments from other parents who see us, and from the school.

Two weeks ago, he learned how to ride on 2 wheels with no training wheels (in one day, but that’s another story :)). End of tag-a-long – he’s got to be free now. And he’s gotten good FAST.

So, we get a bike lock and decide today is the day we’re going to ride together – he on his bike, me on mine.

Now, we head to school – on the sidewalk, because he’s 5 and still not great at steering and not safe to be in even mild traffic. We stop at every corner, including the turn into the school parking lot. If there’s any cars even nearby, we let them pass. No cars even approaching the lot as we turn in.

We get about 1/3 way up (not a big lot, maybe 40 yards deep), and a car turns in behind us. OK, they usually wait, and R’s doing this big swervy steering as he struggles to get up the decent incline this parking lot has from street to school entrance.

So then, the car decides he doesn’t want to wait, roars (and I mean roar) by us, misses us by maybe 4 feet. I’m scared to death and shaking.

We get to the top of the parking lot, and this guy’s getting his daughter out of the car. He’s hustling her to get her in. I say “could you have given us some space? He’s 5.” He says “You were backing up traffic, I gave you plenty of room, don’t block the lot.” I say “He’s a 5 year old learning how to ride, you were very close, you nearly hit us.” He’s like “Oh, please.” So I tell him I’m going to talk to the school. He says “Fine, my name is JOEL EADS.”

So, JOEL EADS of ARDMORE PA, I hope that when you teach your daughter how to ride a bike, other PARENTS in cars are more gracious and careful of your child than you were of mine. I don’t expect the average driver to be thinking of child safety so much as I do other parents who have children my child’s age and who should understand the particular issues that raises in things like, oh say, bike riding.

Oh, and when you do have a lapse in judgement or have frightened another mother to the point of shaking and tears, perhaps you should go with “I’m sorry we frightened you both” rather than “You were blocking traffic” as your response. Jerk.

Yes, that made me feel better.

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