Driving versus dishes

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A funny thing. I’ve started to enjoy the trips in the car to deliver and collect children from their various activities. If I’m alone, I turn on the radio and cruise between CBC Radio One (talk) and CBC Radio Two (music). If I’ve got a kid or two in behind, it’s a chance to talk. We drive through the dark that comes so early at this time of year, watching carefully for pedestrians and cyclists. (Side note: we didn’t spot one cyclist wearing a helmet, let alone reflective clothing or lights, on the university campus yesterday; we even saw a young man skateboarding in the bike lane of a busy street, going the wrong way! Needless to say, he wasn’t wearing a helmet either, because really, if you’re skateboarding in the bike lane going the wrong way after dark, you’re clearly not concerned about head injury. This sparked a conversation about safety and being young and feeling invincible. “Why is it that the things people think are cool are risky or dangerous?” my daughter asked. Well. Why indeed?).

But anyway. The conversations range. It’s always interesting.

And as long as we’re not late, I have a feeling of contentment, of easily-fulfilled purpose. It’s emotionally uncomplicated. It’s relaxing, even. Maybe that’s because it’s so much simpler to drive from swimming to soccer, to tie a shoelace, to greet other parents, to drop off a carpooling extra, than to be at home with the remaining children over the same time, supervising piano practice and homework and doing dishes and laundry. Four out of five weeknights, that’s where I am. Last night, I asked Kevin to trade places, since he happened not to be coaching anyone. When I returned home from my drive, I noticed he had a harrassed impatience about him that is often mine as snacktime gets dragged out and children begin lying on the floor and complaining about tooth brushing.

Situations do that to a person. And I could walk through the door, all fresh and relaxed after completing my pleasant errands, and be the voice of reason. Which is really irritating to the person who’s been stuck at home with the homework and the dishes. Which makes me think that the more we share jobs, the happier we all will be; or at least the more sympathetic.

Happy face, sad face
Multi-layered weekend

12 Comments

  1. Interestingly — and sadly — both a cyclist and a skateboarder were hit by cars in Waterloo yesterday. I think neither was wearing a helmet, and the skateboarder came off the sidewalk improperly into traffic at 11 pm.

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    • I’ve been noticing how dangerous it is for cyclists and pedestrians commuting after dark — and because dark comes so early, the streets are crowded with commuters in cars and otherwise. I watch so carefully, but even so, I’m terrified of hitting a cyclist or pedestrian who’s come out into traffic and who I simply cannot see. I can’t be alone in this! Helmets, reflective clothing, flashing lights: so important, and make such a difference in terms of visibility and, ultimately, safety. As my daughter pointed out yesterday, it’s dangerous enough to cycle in traffic even wearing all of the protective gear … (I’m geeky enough to wear a head lamp when running at night, and it’s mostly to alert cars as I’m crossing streets!)

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  2. I biked to the workshop last night only to realize that I had not put the light back on my bike after it broke off a week or two ago, so I actually called Dave to come and pick me and the bike up afterwards. Had he not been available, I would have walked it across traffic lights and then (sorry) ridden it along sidewalks home (getting off if there were pedestrians). Some people think helmets provide a false sense of security, but they do make such a difference.

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    • Agreed, Susan. And a helmet could make a huge difference in an otherwise minor accident that becomes major due to a head injury.

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  3. I wear a headlamp too, when I am running. In this town, you can never be too careful, especially after dark!

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    • Drivers turning right on a red light, for example! Good grief! I’ve knocked on hoods.

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  4. In other places in the world cyclists somehow manage to be in commuter traffic safely on busy roads. For example Ireland I see everyone with yellow reflective jackets, headlights, tailights and helmets. I think many Canadians don’t take cycling as seriously as they should.

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    • Yes, you’re right, Leah, and I wonder why that is. Maybe we need a stronger commuting-by-bicycle culture.

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  5. “emotionally uncomplicated” – right you are. I never stopped to analyze why I’m drawn to some jobs over others! But I LOATHE driving and car trips.

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    • Margo, I like driving and car trips if I’m the driver. And if we’re not late or rushing. But the car is not my best environment. It’s just turns out to be the quietest and most peaceful, often …

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  6. I am usually the dishes/homework/little kids part of the deal too. I really appreciate when I get to go out and just watch the practice. I think it is also after a long day with littles and school that everyone is more crabby. I don’t mind the above home job as much on the weekends. Funny… Libby

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    • Libby, I also find that late shift with the kids so much harder if I’ve spent the day with them. On days when I’ve gotten lots of work done with no interruptions, I’m much more relaxed and actually enjoy spending that time with them!

      Reply

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