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Car Pool A Cappella

As told to Leah Gebber

The scene in the back of my car, when I had a moment at a red light to actually turn around, looked something like this: One child wriggling out of his seat belt. One child shaking a plastic bag of cornflakes, loosely tied at the top — quick mental calculation: how long will it take for him to either loosen the knot, or make a hole, and have cornflakes cascading down on the upholstery? And is it worth just helping him out and ignoring my cardinal “no eating” rule?

Sunday, November 09, 2014

What can I tell you, car pool is just the greatest. My favorite morning of the week. Sometimes crazy thoughts slide into my mind, and I have this urge to turn around and face the sullen faces and say, “Hey, kids, let’s just drive on straight past school and onto the highway and make for SeaWorld down in San Diego.”

But I never do.

I do three afternoons, as well, but they’re not so bad. The kids are more cheerful when they’re headed home (unlike me, who will soon have to juggle homework, chazarah, supper, baths — the whole exhausting mess).

Until this year, I was never a car pool caperer, but we moved and the kids’ schools are no longer just two blocks away. And even if I could have figured out some way to get them all to where they’re supposed to be, we then moved my son Sruly to a special-needs school half an hour away, and there was no way that I could get him there on time as well as all the other kids. Thus car pool was born.

Of course, by the time I figured that out, all the women had created their car pool groups already, each with its own special flavor — something like an ice-cream store, but aggravation instead of indulgence. Punctual was filled the first (well, that figured). I wasn’t too upset about it, either. I really couldn’t stomach someone honking outside a full ten minutes early. (Think of what you can do in ten minutes! You can shlep a kid out of bed, into clothes, and shove his knapsack into his hand!) Then came classy: all those swanky SUVs, license-plated from just a year ago, and fully equipped with individual screens, not that anyone would ever be tempted, chas v’shalom. There are the cool mothers, and I’ve noticed how even size gravitates toward itself; those petite women somehow need something in common besides their enviable dress size.



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