Wednesday, April 24, 2024

A Light at the End of the Carpool, Part Three – The Finale

It was at the beginning of this school year, on September 20, 2023, that I posted a column entitled “Celebration Injury.” I had celebrated too early, and my feelings were hurt. Along with my gas budget and my will to live.

Seventeen months prior to that, I thought I was a free man. In a column in April of 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 had been driving kids to and from school in one carpool or another for roughly two hundred years, and it had lost its luster fairly early on.

How much would it cost to add a second teenage boy to our insurance policy? I didn’t care, because money didn’t matter when balanced against carpool. I’ve never been freed from a long imprisonment in a POW camp, but I would imagine it’s a very similar feeling to being freed from carpool.

Well, it turned out that I had done the school day arithmetic, but not the school schedule calculus. I thought, foolishly, that since Number Two the senior and Number Three the sophomore would be at the same school playing the same sport, my carpool days were behind me.

I did not account for the fact that seniors take virtually no classes, and Number Two would be leaving school literally two and a half hours before his younger brother. By the time I needed him to drive his brother home, he’d already been home, eaten two meals, watched a movie, and was at the gym.

That left me and the other neighborhood parents still caged in the carpool POW camp, needing to pick up the sophomores. Damn you, schedule calculus! The one thin silver lining in my carpool cloud of despair was that we only had to pick them up from school. Son 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 had to wait another seven months before I would be freed and get to celebrate for real. Well, my friends, today is the day! This afternoon is my last scheduled carpool pickup ever. Son Number Three goes for his behind-the-wheel test on Friday morning.

Now, granted, he still has to pass the test to get his license, but I’m confident. He’s the most cautious driver of the three so far, and he’s good. He should be just fine.

If you still think I might be counting my chickens before they hatch, think again. Nothing can derail this celebration now. You can Marc my words, if he doesn’t pass his driver’s test, he’ll be walking home from school for the rest of the year, starting this Friday afternoon.

Again, it's hard for me to express the joy I feel when I think of never driving carpool again, but to try to put it into monetary terms, it will be totally worth the cost of whatever bill is coming my way on Friday morning when I add a third teenage boy to our insurance plan.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2024 Marc Schmatjen


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1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! And Happy Birthday to #3! (also ps- don’t want to burst your bubble, but you’ll likely do carpool again as a grandparent! I know I sure do!)