Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Parenting in the Carpool Lane


I made two 30 mile trips on the I-15 today. That is a total of 120 miles (30 x 4 – the math was added for spice – Vera likes spice). Since this morning, I have had a blog idea fermenting (that means it must be expunged quickly as to avoid rotting, although there is a fine line between rotted good and rotted bad. You know blue cheese, feta, whine, vinegar… a few hours in the sunshine can cause the rotting bacteria to go wayward. I have self-diagnosed ADD (or ADHD depending on the day), so the bacteria running around in my mind needs to be dealt with carefully. Anyway, the upcoming blog (not this one… the upcoming one will take some research and will come shortly) was inspired by a woman who feels that stay-at-home-moms are making a huge mistake staying home (as opposed to working). So I was busy organizing thoughts on this topic when a giant ray of moonshine (get it, fermented?) informed me that stay-at-home-momhood is similar to the carpool lane. Let me illustrate why:

You are stuck.
On many occasions, the snow angels have dumped 3 feet overnight and guess what? You cannot “carpe diem”. You get to lay around all day watching the dust fall inside (from the relentless movement of the children) and watching the snow fall outside. ALL DAY. Friends usually come home to report on the conditions or worse - e-mail photos. Often, I daydream about the day the kids will be in school. I can drop them off and seize the dumpings. It’s so very close… I can see it in the not-so-distant future. I just hope I’m still relatively young once it gets here. Sure, you could bend the rules a little and leave them home with the PS2. However, that is the reason DCFS was invented – for all those wacky ladies who went skiing and left their kids home alone. DCFS would call the cops.

The carpool lane is the same way. You enter it and you have to stay there until the double solid line ends. You can see it… it’s so close… those dashed lines that represent freedom. You know it will come sometime before the next exit. You hope you’re still young once the dashed lines arrive. Sure, you can bend the rules a little and leave the carpool lane, but that’s why they invented UHP. UHP is/are the cops so they would bust you without calling anyone.

It’s a bottleneck
So your first child turns 5 and you get to send them off to school. You are so excited - finally some freedom. (I just noticed that Itunes was paused. No wonder the musicly inspired thoughts weren’t coming! Please hold.) Kindergarten starts and the hurry up and wait routine starts. Hurry up get dressed/ready/fed/. Hurry up get to school. Wait. Hurry up get back to the school before the principal calls. Wait. Hurry up buckle up. Wait. I have a physics experiment for ya’ll. More specifically, Spouse calls it a “Particulate Dynamics” experiment which of course is still physics. Go get some Olive Oil (Olive Oil deserves capitalization don’t you think and it’s so GOOD for you). Put it in a bottle with a smallish neck. Turn it upside down and put your ear to the bottle. Listen to the horror of all that oil hurrying up and waiting.

The carpool lane is the same way. You look through the rear-view mirror and count to make sure you have enough people present to qualify. Then you make the intense transition to the lane and everything is groovy. That is until you come up to some lady in a pink car on her cell phone trying hard NOT to go the speed limit. If you put your ear to my car, you’ll hear the same horror of all those kids hurrying up and waiting (but it’s much, much louder because they have to compete with the Pixies).

You feel as if you’re doing something wrong.
Any time I take the yahoos anywhere, the experience is always accompanied by yelling, running around or touching untouchables… In fact, just today, I was in a coffee shop (hehehe, I’m not supposed to drink coffee. No wonder I felt like I was doing something wrong!) This particular shop had an open fridge-like case in front and the kids were fondling cold beverage after cold beverage. The girl behind the desk said “don’t break that” or “stop, hey, what’s that sound, everybody look what’s going down” or something like that. I just glared at her and said, “Can you hurry it up with my ultra-stiff decaf mocha?” I needed to get out of there before the kids figured out which beverages were girls…

And now the carpool lane comparison… I’m usually in the car without a passenger beside me due to the airbag. The kids are in the back and my windows are tinted (illegally - no wonder I feel like I’m dong something wrong). When I drive by other cars, the people in them give me one of those grueling, “where’s your HOV sticker” looks and this is where I scream out “It’s decaf! I promise!”


Winder said...

Wow you never cease to amaze me. I loved the whine addition. Although I don't have children of my own I getting plenty of whine throughout the day. The only plus/minus of my world compared to that of the "stay at home mom" world is that I am almost always trapped. With the exception of the occasional fieldtrip, which is nothing more than a moving prison cell. There is no need to worry about them breaking the untouchables at a store. Although, I do have to worry about what happens to untouchables at recess and during bathroom breaks.

The McMillans said...

What I am grateful for, is that in your helping a person out....um...me, that you were inspired to write something as poetic and true as this daily blog. Thanks again for your witty humor, and being so kind to us.


Vera said...

Spice? You know how much I hate math!!! Throwing math in my face is a very fermented thing to do. As a pickled parent (going back to the things drunks say) everyone knows that mothers’ spit is the same as 409 so rather than spitting on the ground on your morning run, you could internalize it and perhaps cure that bacteria running around inside you.
Whilst I have no comment on items 1 and 2, I feel I need to comment heavily on “You feel as if you’re doing something wrong”.
Saturday night, I’m with friends who are not in the “stay at home” category” and we are driving home in the HOV lane without a care in the world. How wonderful to drive in the HOV lane, something my friends and I are rarely allowed to do unless we borrow rabidrunner yahoos for the day. Reaching home, I walk in to experience the ultimate personal space violation….a SAHM entered my dwelling and hung herself!! Everywhere!! As she was dangling in my entranceway, do you think she wondered if she was doing something wrong? Of the wrong that continues as I go from room to room looking for 1 more SAHM leering at me from behind a plant or in the cupboard (I have 31 pig-mees so far).
How is this like the HOV lane….often driving in that lane a SAHM dreams of not being hung up…or maybe she dreams of being tied up, I’m not sure!

Stu Pidasso said...

Oh my gosh! You are totally the most incredible so if you crossed a donkey and a hamster, would you call it a donkster? I hate it when someone cuts me off on the freeway, it makes me want to take one of my prized posessions, like an amberpygmy and stick it right my dad never did like to play catch with me unless I held my mitt just right but that's not what really hurt I used to herd sheep but when one of them tried to run away and I caught it by the hind leg the police accused me of looking like Catherine Hepburn with a humpy back and another thing when it rains my shoes leak into my socks and it makes me real sad because when I was a little girl back in the depression the gypsies used to come and help me carve jackolanterns but the voices are telling me that the postman looked at my kitty in a spanky way what is this world coming too.............................

rabidrunner said...

Wow. Were you born in June too?

c jane said...

And I am left wondering what kind of car you drive. Does it run on french fry grease? I hope so, for your budget's sake.