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Two other little tidbits about the Rocket Car party.

On Wednesday afternoon, the day of Austin’s actual birthday and the day before the party, the Rocket Car guy called me up at 3:30 to say, “Just checking in to see if you still want me to come even though it’s raining.”

Hmmm. Well, it was raining. A lot. But I quickly looked up the forecast and said, “Oh no, we’re fine. Tomorrow looks great.”

“Tomorrow? I though you wanted me to come today!”

Ummmmmmm, no. “No, definitely tomorrow.” And my heart was beating as I thought, Oh no. What am I gonna do with all these kids now?

So he checks his calendar, realizes he’d written down the correct date but wrong day and said, “No problem. I’ll be there.”

But thank god it was raining or he would’ve simply shown up at 4:30 on the wrong day and my kids would’ve been like, “Uh, mom? Why’s the Rocket Car in our driveway?”

And then the other funny thing was that when we’d first made the arrangements over the phone, the driver expressed some concern about the rides taking place during rush hour. So I gave him a good route that went east down Fairmount (while all the cars from downtown would be heading west) and then looped around some side streets. Well, as I found out only after some actual grown-ups rode along, he took the kids down Fairmount to Coventry to Cedar and then Lee! All major, crowded  roadways. Can you imagine if you had pulled up to the stoplight next to a bunch of unchaperoned four-year-olds riding an old relic of a roller coaster at the corner of Cedar and Lee??

At least it’s not as bad as these parents….

This one is mostly in response to a comment I got on Facebook about how hard it is to allow your kids to roam the neighborhood or walk to school when there are so few other children around. I absolutely agree. When I was young and walked back and forth to school without my parents, I was always in a crowd of at least ten kids. And we ranged in age from kindergarten to sixth grade. That is definitely not the case today, especially in our neighborhood.  There are simply fewer kids and then fewer of those use the public schools and fewer and fewer of those walk.

Which I find rather ironic, considering the relative danger of walking to school (even totally alone) versus driving in a car. In fact, just the other day Braedan asked me about the most dangerous thing I’d ever done. I paused, wondering if I should say jumping out of an airplane or testifying against a drive-by (actually bike-by) shooter in Compton or running alone in Mexico (all things I’ve done and all undoubtedly dangerous). And then the answer jumped out at me, of course: “Driving in a car.”

I think you can sum up our different generational attitudes on safety and how we welcome (or shun) freedom by looking at porches on houses: Old houses have grand front porches that span the entire length of the house, where people would gather and neighbors were welcome and any old lady who was out working on her flowers or having her morning coffee, could watch the children as they walked past on their way to school. Now, on newer houses, we build back decks, usually behind tall fences, facing away from the street, away from anyone you don’t already know.

Maybe we all need to spend more time out in the front.

And, on a completely unrelated note, if you’re around (and especially if you work there!), I’m giving a talk tomorrow in the Atrium at University Hospitals at 10 as part of the presentation of Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels. Feel free to stop by.

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February 2020
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