My husband drives carpool. Every afternoon, he picks up four boys from the local elementary school. However, today he is in Michigan enjoying some guy-time with his college buddies.
My neighbor, the morning carpool driver, drove afternoon pick-up yesterday and will pick up tomorrow. Today, though, I had no choice. I was the designated Carpool Driver.
I was also scheduled to work from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., then had a phone conference from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., drove a kindergartener to school at 12:30 p.m., and was scheduled to work again from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight. Having no choice, at 2:55 p.m., school dismissal time, I instant-messaged a co-worker and told her I’d be back in ten minutes.
An optimistic estimate, sure, but I’ve done it before. I time my departure so that my boys will be the last ones to be picked up so I don’t have to sit in line and inch my car forward while wondering why everyone in the world is so inefficient and slow-moving.
I did not count on road construction and a detour. Drat.
I did not plan on waiting for the departing buses to pass by on the road which was narrowed to one-lane by yet more construction.
When I pulled up, though, no children were in sight. A moment of panic struck, but then the boys emerged from the school and crowded into the van. When the last boy sat, I backed my van up slightly, looked to make sure no vehicles were approaching and caught sight of a furious woman leaning out of the car window behind me.
A car behind me? Where did that car come from?
I rolled my eyes, rolled down the window, waved exuberantly and said, “Sorry! Didn’t see you!” Then I pulled around the van in front of me and intended to go home.
Irresponsible, you might conclude . . . leaving the scene of an accident, you might say . . . hit and run, call the police, you might accuse.
But I didn’t even feel my van tap her little silver car. I knew that if I’d actually hit her, I would have felt a jolt, a bounce or at least a bump. I felt nothing.
Still, she pulled her car faster than necessary past me into a parking spot. With a sigh, I pulled mine into a spot, too, and got out. She was standing with an outraged look on her face, studying the front of her car and said (with some disappointment, I thought), “Well, it’s just a ding.” She ran her fingers over the bumper and I saw absolutely nothing. Not even a smudge of blue paint from my van. HELLO? That’s why God gave us bumpers, for those occasional little bumps, even imperceptible ones.
“I’m so sorry,” I said. “I didn’t see you there at all.”
She didn’t acknowledge me. I returned to my car.
Then back to the detour, where I found myself in a line of ten cars. I swerved onto a side street, went a block down and raced through town. I was like Jason Bourne, on the run through an Italian city.
I pulled into my driveway and saw the neighbor’s dog loose, the dog that bit a kid last summer. I turned to warn the kids and one of the boys said, “Uh . . . ” and I said, “OH! I was supposed to drop you off! But I don’t have time . . . can you stay for awhile?” and I’m thinking that if I were a fifth grade boy I might have said something to the driver if she appeared to forget to drop me off at my house several blocks away . . . but he said nothing until I had pulled my keys from the ignition.
I warned the boys, “Do not stay in the front yard. Do not run. That dog bit a kid.”
We got in the house, I looked at another boy and said, “Was I supposed to drop you off?” And he called his house and his dad was home, so he walked a few houses over to his house. (And luckily, he was not eaten by the dog.)
I was away from my computer for a good twenty minutes. And in that time I’d managed to:
1) Get stuck in construction.
2) Hit a car. (Barely, invisibly, hardly at all.)
3) Get stuck in traffic (in a tiny little town with no stop-lights!).
4) Forget to drop a kid off at his house.
5) Scare all the kids spitless of the wandering dog.
Good times were had by all.
At 5 p.m., my mom arrived to accompany me to the mall parking lot where I waited for AAA to come and open my van with its keys locked inside. He arrived after only twenty minutes and wasted no time in breaking into my van. Awesome.
I can’t believe I backed right up into someone’s car and then immediately thought of half a dozen reasons why it was her fault. I am very good at deflecting blame, at least in my own mind. Also? I should not be allowed to drive carpool. I do not have the patience nor the driving skills.
6 thoughts on “Excitement in the suburbs”
That car should have nver been behind you! How dare she! 😉 I do NOT do carpool well. I shush every one all the way to school since the noise makes me a nutty woman.
Oh my word. What a day! I’m the designated mom taxi and I tell you, in time you get the patience to do so
Sounds like a perfectly normal day to me!
Oh my, that was quite the adventure.
I’ve tagged you Mel. Go to my blog for details. Have you been ever tagged all the way from Australia before?
Oh Mel, you just plain make me laugh!