PILOT: “Recalculating” By Peg Scarano

Word: PILOT
Word Count: 502

Word: PILOT
Word Count: 502

“Recalculating”
By Peg Scarano

We all go through it – teenagers learning to drive. “It was the best of times,” because they could start running errands and drive themselves to and from practices. But “It was the worst of times,” because you had to let them go and suffer the internal bleeding that occurred every time they backed out of the driveway.

Julie was a week shy of 17 and had had her license for about six months when I got the dreaded question, “May I use the car to drive to the sectional game in Cooperstown?” Dear, God, what do I do? Her boyfriend was the star pitcher and it was a really important sectional game. “What time does it start?” I asked, hoping it was 9 o’clock and too late for her to be driving. Her eyes were shining with anticipation, “It starts at 7. I will leave at 8:30 no matter what. I promise. That leaves me 30 minutes to get home without breaking the law.” (They couldn’t drive past 9 without an adult in the car and if she got within the city limits, I think they would leave her alone as long as she wasn’t driving like a jerk). “Is Erika going with you?” “Oh, yes! I would never go alone.”

OK. So she had a co-pilot. And she had driven by herself out of town on two other occasions, but they were to places she had co-piloted with me countless times before. My thought process continued. This was Cooperstown. Only 35 miles and it was a beautiful day. I finally decided it had to happen at some point and reluctantly said yes.

The internal bleeding started immediately. It was slow and relatively painless at first. I kept myself busy while never taking my eyes off of the clock. We had no GPS or cell phone in 2001. Nine p.m. came and went. The internal bleeding was making me nauseous. 9:30. Nothing – my pounding heart increased the bleeding. 9:45. Nothing still. By 10 o’clock I was hemorrhaging and my heart was leaping out of my chest with every beat.

The call came at 10:15. “Mom?” (She’s alive! I am so happy! I am going to kill her!). “We’re at the Thruway in Schenectady and I don’t know whether I should go east or west to get home. Do you know?”

Stay calm. She still has to drive home…I sounded like a very composed Horace Greeley when I said, “Go west young lady.” “OK. Don’t worry! I’ll be home in a little while.”

The hemorrhaging slowed, but the internal bleeding continued until I saw the car pull into the driveway a little after 11 – only two hours late. Julie hopped out of the car and announced, “Boy, my co-pilot sure needs some more practice! We left Cooperstown right at 8:30 and ended up in Schenectady. I have no idea how that happened! I like it better when you’re my co-pilot!”
I was going to kill her, but I hugged her instead.

We all go through it – teenagers learning to drive. “It was the best of times,” because they could start running errands and drive themselves to and from practices. But “It was the worst of times,” because you had to let them go and suffer the internal bleeding that occurred every time they backed out of the driveway.

Julie was a week shy of 17 and had had her license for about six months when I got the dreaded question, “May I use the car to drive to the sectional game in Cooperstown?” Dear, God, what do I do? Her boyfriend was the star pitcher and it was a really important sectional game. “What time does it start?” I asked, hoping it was 9 o’clock and too late for her to be driving. Her eyes were shining with anticipation, “It starts at 7. I will leave at 8:30 no matter what. I promise. That leaves me 30 minutes to get home without breaking the law.” (They couldn’t drive past 9 without an adult in the car and if she got within the city limits, I think they would leave her alone as long as she wasn’t driving like a jerk). “Is Erika going with you?” “Oh, yes! I would never go alone.”

OK. So she had a co-pilot. And she had driven by herself out of town on two other occasions, but they were to places she had co-piloted with me countless times before. My thought process continued. This was Cooperstown. Only 35 miles and it was a beautiful day. I finally decided it had to happen at some point and reluctantly said yes.

The internal bleeding started immediately. It was slow and relatively painless at first. I kept myself busy while never taking my eyes off of the clock. We had no GPS or cell phone in 2001. Nine p.m. came and went. The internal bleeding was making me nauseous. 9:30. Nothing – my pounding heart increased the bleeding. 9:45. Nothing still. By 10 o’clock I was hemorrhaging and my heart was leaping out of my chest with every beat.

The call came at 10:15. “Mom?” (She’s alive! I am so happy! I am going to kill her!). “We’re at the Thruway in Schenectady and I don’t know whether I should go east or west to get home. Do you know?”

Stay calm. She still has to drive home…I sounded like a very composed Horace Greeley when I said, “Go west young lady.” “OK. Don’t worry! I’ll be home in a little while.”

The hemorrhaging slowed, but the internal bleeding continued until I saw the car pull into the driveway a little after 11 – only two hours late. Julie hopped out of the car and announced, “Boy, my co-pilot sure needs some more practice! We left Cooperstown right at 8:30 and ended up in Schenectady. I have no idea how that happened! I like it better when you’re my co-pilot!”
I was going to kill her, but I hugged her instead.

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