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By Jordan W. Charness

“I finally won one without you,” Peter crowed the other day. “At least this time, I didn’t have to ask you for advice before going to court. Although come to think of it, you probably did teach me this rule some time in the past, but I applied it all by myself.”

Peter looked so pleased with himself that I couldn’t wait to hear his story. I figured that it probably wasn’t terribly complicated because as he said, he had not asked for my advice anywhere along the route and according to him, this time he was right. Or was he?

Peter and his wife Mary have several children. It would be entirely too simple for all the children to start their school days at exactly the same time. Being of different ages and going to different schools, they all have different starting times. In addition, the children do not get out of school at the same time, nor from the same place. The practical result of all this is that both Peter and Mary must each do various pickups and deliveries for their children’s school carpools.

Peter enjoys spending the extra time with his son in the morning and learning a little bit more about some of the people in his son’s class. Peter drops off his son and two friends twice a week and picks up every second Thursday. While Peter manages to get the children to school on time he is notoriously late for his Thursday pickups.

This year, Peter decided that he would turn over a new leaf and actually be there when the children got out of school. Still not a genius at time-management, Peter’s first couple of attempts left him arriving late but only by a few minutes. For him this was a victory of sorts.

By the third pickup he resolved to make sure that the first thing that his son saw upon leaving school would be his dad’s car. But that time-management problem kicked in again. This time however, Peter was not late but instead arrived 20 minutes too early.

Knowing that it was illegal and dangerous for him to park right in front of the school yard, he pulled over about half a block away from the entrance gate. With 20 minutes to kill he decided to catch up on some office paperwork and perused a file in his briefcase.

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