Ode To the Car Line
We sit like soldiers awaiting battle. Curved in a make-shift corral like cattle. Orange plastic cones are sentries, rain or shine. Janitors are traffic cops blowing their whistles in time. You can’t run from the Car Line.
Frazzled mommas mindlessly turn the radio dial. Grieving siblings nap sitting up for a while. Bills are paid, books are read. Gossip exchanged, infants are fed. We make fun in the Car Line.
Conducting family business from the SUV. We try to pass the endless hours productively. Old wrappers, juice boxes; into the bag you go! An impromptu car cleaning by the cell phone’s glow. We get things done in the Car Line.
“I’m Pro-something!” shout the stickers on their backs. Watching the needle on my gas gauge makes it hard to relax. Radiators heat up and begin to spill, just as our tempers when we’ve had our fill. We come undone in the Car Line.
At last I see the end in sight! The gymnasium door just before twilight.
The distance between driveway and door seems like miles, through hundreds of curses and pasted-on smiles. We watch the sinking sun from the Car Line.
Exhausted, he climbs into the back seat, while I get prodded with an obnoxious beep. “What took you so long?” His voice a warning, as I pull to the end again to be first in the morning.
We are one with the Car Line.
[Photo: Times files]