Carpool Dream of Perfection

Posted by Adriana on September 1, 2016 in Parenting, Personal Essays, Writing |

Always running

From errand to errand,

From work to carpool and back.

Sometimes I inadvertently nap.


“I Am the Proud Parent of an Honor Roll Student.” Good for you, I say. You clearly have it together. Your Tesla tells me you’re eco-conscious and the red candy color makes a statement. You’re edgy, and exuberant. Look at the tennis racket by the Nike duffel bag. You can do it, girl. You fit, fit girl. Wow, so clean and tidied up. I heard you have self-driving capability, I didn’t know you were self-cleaning as well. No scrap of food on the carpet, no crumpled Kleenex in the cup holders and no forgotten business papers left on the floor. Look at that, the cup holder is actually neatly collapsed in its compartment, it isn’t stuck half way through with part of a cereal bar forever stuck in its collapsible mechanism. Collapsed, collapsible, I would love to collapse on your luxurious tan leather seat. Wow, no collection of stomped mismatched shopping bags on the floor behind the driver’s seat. You don’t need them, you plan your supermarket visits and you have a perfectly organized shopping list, I bet you plan weekly menus. No need to fit in a rushed pit stop at the convenience store for basic necessities like bread and milk after the breakfast fiasco that morning. In your life there are no breakfast fiascos, there are Eggs Benedict and French toast with fresh strawberries and mascarpone cheese. Oh, would you look at that, I was mistaken, you do run surprise errands. After all, surprises can be good. Like your husband calling to let you know he will be home early to cook for the family “sole a la meuniere,” that light and savory, buttery, lemony, melt in your mouth fish he does so well; and he told you to buy something nice to wear tonight. He has wonderful news to share. No, you’re not moving for the “umpteenth” time because of his job. He bought a two week vacation package to Europe with a four day stop in New York on the way there, and another four day stop, in Hawaii, on the way back. What else would you have one of those foldable monogrammed shopping bags with a leather flap and handles hanging from a little hook on the back of your seat?

If I had your remote control in my pocket you would automatically unlock for me as I approached you and I would be enveloped by that new car smell, that leathery, sharp, precision electronics and mechanics smell, smog and guilty free aroma, so like newly printed money you earn when you work smart and hard and your boss value your commitment and dedication, and appreciate the results you bring to the organization. I detect something else in the air, a minimal residue of a scent; it smells like a patch of wild flowers at the edge of a redwood forest, but close enough to a lovely Frank Lloyd Wright home with smoke coming out of the chimney. It’s light and fresh and it ends in a warm note. I sight and could swear I felt the top of my head warming up. You smell fabulous. You would never resemble a sweaty pile of dirty clothes that skipped a laundry day. Not even when you walk eight thousand steps, you don’t.

A notebook rests in your console. It’s part weekly organizer part journal. You have two busy kids, your health checkup is up to date, and you had a mani-pedi last week and one is scheduled for next week. SPA every other week, that’s the way to go. Your hair is lustrous and nicely coifed, but not pretentious like the word coifed. You don’t need to pretend. You never need to make a quick pony-tail, or a bun using a lot of hair-jell to hide you haven’t washed your hair in four days. You only use hair jell to go out for dinner after a day at the beach to keep the wet look that matches your sarong dress. Look at your kids’ report cards; Language & Arts – A; Math, no, Advanced Math – A; Sciences – A; Social Studies – A; French, who takes French nowadays? Your kids do – A. You have never seen a D+ in your life. What’s that silly + doing there? A D is a D. Is the teacher trying to disguise something? I don’t know, maybe the teacher doesn’t want the kid to give up all together. It was one test in a very hard honors chemistry class, all right. Back to you though. What do you have in your glove compartment? A bottle of anti-acid, or maybe some anti-depressants. No, of course not, your stomach doesn’t burn, you meditate for thirty minutes every day to deal with stress. No gastritis will prevent you from drinking coffee and enjoying the foods you like. And you’re the opposite of depressed, when you’re sad, after all everyone has sad moments, you cry a little, have one glass of wine and retire to your lovely bedroom where crisp, sixteen hundred count, one hundred percent cotton awaits. Your life isn’t a sequence of too much coffee during the day and too much wine at night, and you certainly never received a letter from the gastroenterologist stating you have severe inflammation on your stomach lining and need to cut on some foods with a mile long list of restrictions attached. Upon reading such letter you wouldn’t have felt the acidic eruption going up to your ears and called your psychiatrist asking him to increase your dose; because how else could you deal with that blow. From the passenger’s seat I see you coming. You have a spring in your walk. Your white summer dress hugs your flat stomach and swings around your toned legs. Your smile holds the promise of a perfect life. Do I want it though? Would I trade what I have? We face each other through the windshield. “Tap-tap-tap,” a sound rouses me.

“Mom, did you fall asleep in the carpool line again?” my daughter stares at me through the opened car window. I look around and blink slightly startled. The familiar chaos of my SUV surrounds me.

“Oops, hop in, honey. I have a meeting in the city. How was the test?” Ahead of me the honor roll student enters the Model S and the line moves on.

“I got a solid B. Thanks for helping mom. You’re the best. Who’s picking me up after rehearsal?”

“Dad. Please ask him to order a pizza for dinner. Ah, and let him know I’ll be late.”


“I’m getting a mani-pedi.”

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