Wrecking Ball: Seabury Idlers

Lyle Griggs

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In 1886, German inventor Karl Benz patented the first internal-combustion automobile. The three-wheeled vehicle was powered by a light four-stroke motor and could occasionally reach speeds of up to ten miles per hour. The invention was intended to convey passengers from place to place, like modern cars. But now, after over a century of improvements to the automobile, certain Seabury parents have lost sight of the original purpose of the machine, running their engines uselessly in the parking lot for disturbingly long periods.

On any given day, it is common to observe three to four parents idling their cars for up to fifteen minutes while waiting for their child. In doing so, they waste gas and pollute the air with exhaust. Sometimes, the parent has a legitimate reason to run their engine. On a scorching day, for example, one could not expect any sane person to sit in the sun with their air conditioning off. Similarly, on a frigid January afternoon, it would be unreasonable to criticize an idler. Early October is upon us, however, and the weather is about as good as it gets. Only those who have a diagnosed hypersensitivity to temperature changes should be idling. Even the all-season “I’m listening to NPR” excuse doesn’t hold water–there’s an app for that, and it works just fine. 

So that begs the question: why do parents still idle? At this time of year, they have no reason to, but they do. Is it too inconvenient to turn the car off? Do they even know how to turn off a car? Are their vehicles so unreliable that they worry about being able to start them again? Do they enjoy feeling the soft purr of a fossil-fuel-powered internal-combustion engine while they check email in the parking lot? Or, more likely, are they simply too lazy? Whatever it may be, the behavior is careless and stupid. Just park and wait, Seabury parents. I’m watching you.