May 8, 2017

more neighborly carpool refusals

I vowed never to ask for a ride from Mary Ann again, but desperate times call for desperate measures.  Certainly this time would be different.  

During the school basketball season, Laddie's 5th grade team practiced a few nights a week.  One of the nights was when Coach worked late.  Practice took place right in the middle of dinner.  Load everyone up, drop Laddie off, back at home feed the other 5 kids, race through baths, load them all up again, and return to pick him up.  It was exhausting.
This is what our table looked like frequently as I raced off to get Lad to practice.
Laddie pointed out to me that while his team played on half court, the other half of the court was utilized by the 6th grade boys' team.  Mary Ann’s 6th grader, Ryan, practiced at the same time.  I took a deep breath and called her to see if we could work something out.  

Ryan's rides were organized already.  His coach, Mr. Smith -another school dad, drove Ryan home after practice.  No offer to find out if there was room for Laddie.  I didn’t know the Smith family well, because they weren’t in Laddie’s grade.  I now realize that at a small Catholic school there were very few people who would not offer to drop a kid off across the street from one of the other riders.  

Mary Ann was quick to explain that for the other practices when she dropped her son off, he liked to arrive early.  Of course Laddie could have been dropped off early as well, but apparently she needed an out and this was it.  I hung up and thought of all of the things I’d like to say into her answering machine if I called it again and heard the outgoing message, ‘Have a blessed day!’
Imagine having a neighbor like Mary Ann and hearing her voice wish you a blessed day from her answering machine.  
Fortunately, I soon met a few women in the neighborhood across the street, whose memory of the importance of nap-time and the hassle of buckling into car seats hadn’t faded.  They insisted on driving my boys home if I ever needed their help.  Just when I was beginning to doubt that there were supportive people in the world.  I called them sparingly, but was very relieved to have a back up option if Curly really needed a long nap or something else came up.  

A few times Mary Ann pulled into her driveway and watched my kids hop out of one of these cooperative cars.  Laddie and Eddie emerged overjoyed.  Their eyes bugging out as they proudly showed me the smoothie or shake treat that their ‘chauffeur’ had picked up at a drive thru on the way home.  I beamed and loudly thanked them repeatedly from the driveway.

Do you have a wacky neighbor story you'd like to share?  Please don't let me think I am the only one with this issue,  Share your awful neighbor story in my comments.  I admit it is tempting to print Mary Ann's land line phone number here, so you can all dial it and hope to hear her bless your day!

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