The strangest realization just occurred. A term that I have used for more than a decade — daily, mind you — is city-specific, and I had no idea. Nashville parents, here’s an FYI: the rest of the country says “carpool” line to refer to the lane that you use to drop off and pick up your kids at school. Apparently no one else in the United States calls it a “hook-up line” or simply “hook-up” as we do here. In Nashville, we think of “carpool” as meaning that more than one family is involved in the comings and goings from school. Example: “I carpool with the Wilsons each Wednesday.” And native Nashvillians have told me point blank that they would never use “carpool” even in this instance but rather say, “On Wednesdays, we hook-up with the Wilsons.” But, Nashville, we are all alone in this innocent definition of the term hook-up.
Knowing this nugget of information, you may not want to mention to your out-of-city friends how stressful your afternoon hook-up is. You may not want to say things to out-of-town family members like, “I needed my husband to take care of hook-up on his own. I just needed a break today, you know?” They will think you have a far more diverse sex life than they ever realized!
For all the new people moving to Nashville, surely some are thinking that us long-timers and natives are a bunch of holy rollers on Sundays and swingers Monday through Friday. I mean, one of the first questions out of our mouth is, “Where do you go to church?” And next thing they know we’re talking about daily hook-up drama and the stress of it all!
Imagine moving here from Birmingham and having school start. One of the first things all schools go over is hook-up line procedures. You would be immediately caught off guard wondering what kind of warped city you moved to, right? Then, you start reading the hand-out that inevitably comes home in your child’s take-home folder, and the hook-up line rules state:
- Stop when you are asked to stop.
- Only proceed when given the signal.
- Hook-up starts at 3:10 and ends promptly at 3:30.
- The hook up line is long, but it moves quickly.
- No changing lanes … pick one lane and stay there, even if your preference changes.
- The hook-up line can be dangerous. It is imperative that you pay attention!
What are you thinking at this point? Let me guess: GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE! Shall we go on?
Please turn your car off when you are waiting in line.
Be sure your number is visibly displayed so we can identify you.
Or, you may hear moms say, “When I get my kids at the hook-up line …” These poor new parents are beside themselves; they must be! “What? You have organized hook-up lines?” Or, worse yet, the ignorant mom who moves from Nashville to somewhere else and says to her new friend, “I’ll grab the kids from hook-up today and bring them right over.” That new friend now thinks you schedule hook-up opportunities for your kids. Not good. And, you may have just lost your new doubles partner.
Talking to people who grew up in Nashville, that’s how it’s always been. To “hook up” simply used to mean “meet up” and go somewhere together. Other cities may use “carpool line” for both morning drop off and afternoon hook up, but for Nashville, we have some unique qualities, one of which is apparently this city-specific terminology!
What say you? Hook-up or carpool?
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