Picture by sourabhj I should say that it's notable that Gus doesn't drive; not that I hold it up as some form of exceptional behavior on his part; it's a choice, nothing less.
Which brings me neatly into the fact that I do drive, and so I can comment on driving as a Lifehacker exercise. Not so much in the realms of hyper-fuel efficiency (I drive a near 20 year old slightly dented sedan), but in the way that we, as road users, approach the most fundamental of driving tasks — parking. In particular, parking at schools to pick up kids.
That's something I do on an increasing number of days; while I live close enough to my kids school that walking is feasible (and indeed rather pleasant), there are days when I need the car to perform other tasks afterwards, and so I hop in to go and pick them up. This typically doesn't involve parking all that close to the school, because there's a lot of other parents with the exact same need. I can totally deal with that; until we invent self-stacking cars there's only so much space to get along. Plus, it's a pleasant walk back to where the car is — or at least that's my theory.
It seems as though that's not the view held by everyone though; over the years I've seen quite literally countless examples of not only terrible parking (the middle of the road is NOT a parking place) but outright thoughtlessness. I don't live that close to the school that people park near me, but I'd offer the tip that if you are considering buying a house close to schools, carefully assess what happens to the roads around 9am and 3pm each day. Chances are, somebody's going to park straight across your driveway; sometimes they'll stay there for up to 30 minutes. That's when they're not screeching at each other to get out of the way, parking each other in, blindly swerving out into traffic or driving in such a way as to suggest that they're actually involved in some kind of sport that involves deliberately squishing seven year olds.
I should take a breath here and point out that not every school pickup driver I observe is like that; it'd be chaos if it had even 50 per cent saturation. But there's certainly a significant (and dangerous) block of them. I can't even really call it 'trivial', because I've seen some incredibly narrow escapes. I don't care what happens to somebody's car — it's just a chunk of metal and plastic after all — but the prospect of actually hitting somebody genuinely terrifies me.
Anyway, that's my pet peeve with Australian driving habits, and something that everyone who has to park around a school should pay more attention to. What's yours?