Old Man Vilhauer strikes again

Dear Person Ahead of Me on 69th Street in Sioux Falls, South Dakota,

Yeah, I get it. You’ve got kids and so you’ve got a serious need for a minivan. No qualms there. I may have the same need someday. Kids get bigger and soon they don’t fit in the backseat of a Volkswagen Jetta anymore and also it’s hard to have to bend down all the time to get them strapped in and ready to move. Like I said, I get it.

I also get the DVD player. I can understand that. Long trips can be exhausting for everyone involved, and there’s no shame in slapping in a copy of Little Einsteins because, let’s face it, it makes the seven-hour drive down I-90 a little more bearable, even if the theme song for Little Einsteins manages to get lodged in your head every thirty miles.

But, you see, there’s a problem.

You, Person Ahead of Me on 69th Street in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; you live in town. I know this because your license plate gives it away. And you’re currently IN town, a town that, while one of the nation’s fastest growing, is still only a 15-minute drive from one end to the other.

And yet, there you are. You. At the corner of Western and 69th. Plugging in a DVD. For your kid to watch. On the 15-minute ride home. A DVD. FOR THE RIDE HOME.

What’s more, you’re reaching back, fiddling with the screen, adjusting it to his or her pleasure, oblivious to the fact that you’ve not only screwed up the delicate rhythm of one of the city’s worst 4-way stops, but also infuriated the rest of us.

The rest of us, none us driven to put our children in a coma state because GOD FORBID they go without their favorite DVD for the few minutes it takes to get from daycare to home.

You’re in town. Turn on the radio. Better yet, talk to your kids. Here are some starter questions: “How was your day?” “What would you like for dinner?” “What did you learn today.” BONUS! Here’s a starter comment: “Why don’t we wait until after dinner before we watch more television – we’re only 15 minutes from home.”

I mean, I’m not trying to be Old Man Vilhauer, the guy who knows how to parent your children, but COME ON.

At least start the DVD BEFORE YOU GET ON THE ROAD.

This was lovingly handwritten on February 8th, 2010