It’s the first day of Kindergarten for my little girl. I had a large paper grocery bag of supplies to carry in and the school parking lot was full. Cars were parked along the curb stretching from the end of carpool lane all the way to the exit and I took the last spot available. I was in the school a little longer than expected but there were things to do on first day of school.
When I came out about 30 minutes later, my car was the only one left and a man was standing beside it. “Is this you?” he asks as I approach. He introduced himself with a big handshake, he might have been Randy, and a North Carolina accent. He’s on the board here (PTA?), it’s a great school, your Kindergartner will have great experiences here, blah, blah, blah. I said I have six more years here, as if I was new and needed to know the rules, even though I’ve been coming here for three years. “Please promise me you will NEVER park here again…” There was a lot more to the conversation and it all was fairly uncomfortable.
Why was it uncomfortable? I felt like I was required to listen to all his niceties even though the exchange was pretty straightforward. I managed to get out that I had a big bag to carry in and there were cars parked all along here 30 minutes ago, but mostly I got to hear about how the lot is designed with two lanes snaking around and my car’s presence in one of the two lanes slowed everybody down and people get frustrated with nowhere to go. There is a really smooth system where the volunteers in the lot open the doors for the children and it’s really safe and you slowed the whole thing…Whew! That was an exhausting 60 seconds and I just wanted to slip into the Silver Bullet and skedaddle.
It’s hard to believe that I have lived in Charlotte three years and am just figuring out what being “Southern” really means. This guy was killing me with kindness. I had no room to defend myself and it felt silly to even try to do so since he was an attacking me with niceness. Maybe I could try this technique some time; it seems to work on the people down here. Even if we each went our separate ways while muttering “asshole” under our breaths.