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.