Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Going for a drive on roads where I used to run



My daughter, Katie, is doing well behind the wheel

I realized that I’ve been writing much more about tennis than about running or biking. That’s because with a hematocrit of around 26 when last checked, playing doubles and walking the dog are all I can do when it comes to exercising outdoors. I have been doing some stretching, yoga and light exercises in the house.

With doubles, you don’t have to be constantly moving, plus you can save your energy by shouting “yours” to your partner. I took the bike for a little spin but couldn’t make it up a small hill, so I put it away for now. Just for a test, I’ve run maybe five or six steps, but I don’t have the energy.

Instead, I’ve been a passenger on the roads where I used to run. Katie got her learner’s permit earlier this summer, and she’s been practicing on quiet streets around us. Some of them are on my running route. The driving has actually been going fine; she’s my third child, and I am past the white-knuckle stage.

I kind of mumble the same thing every time, having a conversation with myself. “I used to run here,” I say. “Well, you will again,” I answer.

When the other runners glide by, I feel a pang of jealousy.

After we switch seats and I am driving again, I change my focus by retelling my own Driver’s Ed story. We did our on-roads on the streets of New York, navigating traffic while learning the basics. The instructor took us to the Gracie Mansion area (home of the mayor) because the streets around there were among the quietest. This part may be apocryphal, but this is what I remember: My friend Amanda and I are in the back seat, and our friend Johnny is in the front, taking his turn at the wheel. Manda and I lean our heads together and giggle. One of us pulls out a water gun and starts squirting Johnny. Somehow, nobody got hurt.

My mother loved to retell the story of the day I took my test. “I was wearing my good red wool suit. It got ruined because I was sweating so much,” she’d say. Then she’d explain that she had let me drive downtown to where I’d take the test, and I did a terrible job – hence the ruined suit. She hoped the instructor would fail me. But I passed.

“Just because you were pretty,” she’d say.

This is where I’d roll my eyes and say “Mommmmmmm,” just like Katie does today when she’s annoyed with me.

Now here I am watching my own daughter learn to drive. The running, I hope, will come. The driving outings are kind of fun.

8 comments:

Susan C said...

Driving outings "kind of fun"? How nice to have reached that stage with your third!

I only have one (age 19)and I am still on the edge of my seat when she's behind the wheel.

And I can see you running those roads again, you cardio animal you.

PJ said...

What, driving instruction's not an Olympic sport? Gets my hear rate going. Where I live, the driving test doesn't include parallel parking, hence nobody here knows how to do it. I imagine you can do it blindfolded.

Nancy said...

Enjoy the scenery!
Do what you can, and do your best to avoid regrets. Ronni, you find so much joy through your children, and they all seem to be thriving. Enjoy the accomplishments of your children and take small steps towards your own recovery. There is satisfaction to be found in the small jewels found in life every day. You are our gift!

Rose said...

I will remember reading this blog as I ride next to my daughter. I am sure all will be fine, but I am also sure that I won't be nearly as calm as you!

In fact, I am a terrible passenger when my husband drives. Yikes! I'm in for it!

SheilaH88 said...

I can't believe you squirted the guy driving and still managed to pass driver's ed! Somehow I managed to get through driver's ed and my license test without ever having to park in an actual parking spot, I couldn't even begin to imagine learning to drive in NYC...

As a friend of Katie, that picture is CRAZY!

Vytas said...

I don't really remember my driving test. But I'm sure it involved my Dad's dark blue, 1964 Chevy Belair sedan. Now that was a car. I can remember taking my bike to where he worked, then polishing it and cleaning the inside so it would be ready for me to borrow on a date later that night. He thought it was a good trade! It had that good old full bench seat in the front so you could drive around with your arm around your girlfriend sitting next to you. Try that with a bucket seated Prius!!! Fuggedaboutit!

What I do remember well is my poor daughter Cathy trying to pass her road test. She was a great driver (and the best in the family now). But she always got so nervous when a big butt, intimidating Trooper sat next to her in the road test car. There would always be some stupid, asinine little infraction he would flunk her on while her nerves were rattled. She was a devastated. Twice she failed. Round three in front of her. She's shaking and read to cry. In steps the Trooper. "Your Learner's permit Ma'm." She hands him her permit, her hand shaking uncontrollably. He looks at it. Looks at her. Says, "Did your Dad work for blah, blah company?" "Yeas" she mumbled. He smiled. "He was my boss there. I owe him one." He handed back her permit, told her to pull the car back around the parking lot and come in. She walked out with her license...and has never had an infraction or accident since!!!

So there!!!

It is ALWAYS good to know someone in the "business".

Yeah Ronnie, you'll be running again as soon as you start cracking the whip over those red blood cell producing stem cells. They seem to need a little "discipline". And your first assignment will be to make it up the DFCI incline without "whining" !!!!!!

You're a hoot, keep your blog going. It's great and you are too.

PS Your daughter has your smile.

Lea Morrison said...

Wow, this is such an amazing blog. I grew up outside of Boston (Arlington) and now live outside of San Francisco. I miss the late summer/early fall there so much!
I found this site through the LLS group and wow you have such great perspective and writing ability! Thanks for being so open and honest!
-Lea
www.caringbridge.org/visit/leamorrison

Saul Wisnia said...

Hi Ronni--
Congratulations on the blog -- it's wonderful. A very inspiring and informative page, but I would expect nothing less! I guess those kitchen sessions with the laptop are paying off, eh? ;)

Saul