It’s Spring Break time again and peace has been restored to my neighborhood. I live in what could almost be described as a pastoral setting. Although I live in Houston, the fourth largest city in the U.S., I actually live in a city within the city of Houston. It’s a small neighborhood with its own fire and police departments. On Saturday mornings, you can watch the hunky firemen wash and wax the fire trucks. We’ve got a couple of little league and soccer fields and when the weather’s nice the morning air is filled with the sounds of sprinklers and the evenings are filled with the sounds of children having fun and engaging in organized chaos.
Except for one small thing, it’s like living in a Norman Rockwell painting. Right in the middle of these fields of fun is an elementary school. Each day on my morning commute I have the misfortune to pass through a school zone full of frenzied, caffeine-deprived soccer moms jockeying for position to drop their little ones off at the perfect spot.
This sounds like no big deal until you experience it first hand. Suddenly a quiet street turns into a heavy-metal combination of a demolition derby, death race, Indy 500 and bumper-car-ride full of median-strip-hopping SUVs the size of small airliners. Dropping off children is a competitive sport worthy of its own reality show.
I almost believe they can smell fear or hesitation from the inside of the Suburban. Be a second or two slow off the stop sign, and three cars have glided through the 4-way stop at the intersection (one from behind you). They’ll make kamikaze turns in front of you to drift-slide into a parallel parking spot like a Japanese racer. It’s like a pool of armored piranhas.
They come at you from all directions – U-turning, 3-point-turning (in about 16 points due to the overly large turning radius), stopping and waiting with the turn signal on for a parking spot that won’t be available until that driver gets off her cell phone, walks her son to the school, has a conference and cookie with the teacher, walks back, adjusts her makeup in the rearview mirror and checks every radio station in Houston for her favorite song before heading off to Starbucks® for a Skinny Latte before yoga class.
The relentlessness of this race-for-the-door makes me a little crazy. At the center of this sturm und drang stand the gatekeepers who patiently wave the cars in, one after the other, to drop off the kiddos. These are the wizards of the walk and they have the power to banish an unruly mom for a second lap around the “fruit” loop before discharging the precious cargo. Even the person who two seconds ago was threatening to pull your intestines out through your teeth suddenly experiences extreme bursts of politeness and becomes as docile as a lamb when faced with the power of the gatekeepers.
What’s the takeaway for Certified Legal Nurse Consultants? Don’t run over the gatekeeper in your dash to the attorney’s office. Don’t be intimidated either. Gatekeepers control access but they have rules to do their job and as long as you obey the rules, or don’t bend them too far, you can get access. Be nice to them. Hard to believe as it may be, gatekeepers are people too. Pay them a compliment (“Gee, your hair is a nice shade of blue today – it complements your housecoat.”), bring them some of their favorite food (roasted wildebeest or brownies) and remember their birthdays (right before Lincoln’s). Be nice to the gatekeeper and they’ll be nice to you.
When all else fails, just call the attorney’s office and say “Hey Doris, this is your name here. Can you put me through to attorney’s first name here? She’s expecting my call.”
Good luck. Stay off the streets and up on the street lights where it’s safe.
Success Is Inside!