In Iowa once you’ve completed a certified Driver’s Ed course and are at least 14.5 years of age, along with having an absolutely clean driving record for the last 6 months, you can obtain a School Permit. The school permit allows the permit holder to drive, without adult supervision, between the hours of 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. to and from school and school activities using the most direct route to school.
We obtained such a permit a couple weeks ago. And starting this week, our 10th grader is driving herself to school and school activities using the most direct route. We’ve had several discussions on what exactly constitutes “the most direct route.” My definition, and I’m just spitballin’ here, is that most direct route is one in which you leave the house and, follow me here, you take the most direct route to the school or school activity. Rye’s definition is one which involves going, literally, the opposite direction from the school but allows her to go to a Starbucks. I feel pretty confident in my argument.
But all of that takes away from the point that we now have a child who is ACTUALLY DRIVING HERSELF TO SCHOOL. This seems odd to me. I still remember her first day of kindergarten. This is different. And by different I mean glorious. We’ve been freed from the shackles of transportation and logistics for one kid for a certain limited amount of activities. I don’t even know how to describe it. I mean imagine that for nearly your entire time as a parent you’ve been carting kids from one thing to another. Mapping out your mornings and evenings around where the kids are supposed to be. Arranging your own schedule around the kids’ activities. And then, suddenly, you’ve been handed something you really haven’t seen in years – time.
Now don’t get me wrong, you fill that time with a certain amount of worry and stress over all the dipshits on the road at the same time as your 15 year old daughter. And, pretty sure you’ll back me up here, there is a staggering level of dipshitty driving. Then think about that relatively normal level of dipshititude and apply it to a high school parking lot. Yeah, that’s approaching Obama/Hillary/Kerry foreign policy levels of dipshittiness.
She actually has to park across the street at a church because there are not enough spots to accommodate all the student drivers and school staff. Which is interesting since this high school is more or less a small college contained within a single building. Not kidding. 2,100 kids in grades 10-12. It has a performing arts center with a hydraulic lift under the stage. Because, I assume, the performing arts center doubles as a loading dock thereby justifying not the lift but also the expenditure of taxpayer cash.
The building is so big that she doesn’t even use her locker. You remember high school. When you had a chance you’d run by your locker exchange books, notebooks, etc. and then head to the next class. Rye can’t do that. She gets to school and pretty much loads up her backpack with the entire day’s worth of stuff and lugs it around. That. Must. Suck. I mean we walked her schedule last week and I had to pull off to the side because I was getting a cramp in my hip. They should have golf carts. It’s like a 9 mile walk between her 8 classes. I wasn’t even hauling around a big heavy backpack. Plus all the rest of those kids are dragging around their backpacks too. I’m guessing that you really have to keep your eyes peeled and senses on red alert to avoid getting taken out by some kid’s backpack if they round a corner too quickly and the torque generated from the turn transforms the backpack into a mini wrecking ball.
But maybe I’m overthinking this…