Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Celebration Injury

I celebrated too early, and my feelings have been hurt. Along with my gas budget and my will to live.

Seventeen months ago, I thought I was a free man. In my column on April 27, 2022, I was giddy with anticipation. Son Number Two was getting his license the next week and I was beside myself with joy because I was about to be liberated forever from the shackles and chains of carpool. Damn the insane insurance costs, it was going to be worth it.

I did the simple math. At the time, Son Number Two was a junior and Son Number Three was a freshman. That meant that this current school year, if the final exams went reasonably well, they would be a senior and a sophomore. They did, and they are.

Seventeen months ago, it was all so clear. They would be going to the same high school and even playing the same sport. They would attend both school and lacrosse practice together. Son Number Three wouldn’t have his driver’s license yet, but that wouldn’t matter, because Number Two could take him everywhere.

That meant I was officially done with carpool. Forever. I celebrated by not driving anywhere. It was glorious.

Well, I may have done the simple math, but the calculus caught up to me and smacked me across the face in August. (I realize it’s almost the end of September, but it’s taken me this long to be ready to talk about it.) Seventeen months ago I was thinking only about their school days. I never stopped to consider their school day schedules.

Things were great for the entire month of May last year, when Son Number Two was a junior. My plan worked perfectly. Number Three caught a ride with him every day, to and from school. Well, turns out that’s because juniors still have to take lots of classes. Seniors, on the other hand, do not.

Seniors like Son Number Two, who handled all their core class graduation requirements in the first three years of high school, hardly even have to take any classes that have homework or tests. I think on one of his days he has two periods of woodshop, weightlifting, and creative writing. C’mon!

What’s the problem with all this? His ridiculous schedule gets him out of school two and a half hours before his younger brother. By the time I need him to drive everyone home, he’s already been home, eaten two meals, watched a movie, and is at the gym.

That leaves me and the other neighborhood parents still needing to pick up the sophomores. Damn you, schedule calculus! I guess one thin silver lining in my carpool cloud of despair is that we only have to pick them up from school. Number Two still takes them in the morning. But anyone who has ever done carpool knows that is small consolation. Pickup is waaaay worse than drop off.

So, I’ll have to wait another seven months before I get to celebrate for good without injury. Number Three doesn’t turn sixteen until the end of April.

And I’m celebrating no matter what. You can Marc my words, if he doesn’t pass his driver’s test, he’ll be walking home from school in May.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2023 Marc Schmatjen


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