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Marg-Ins - Full Speed Ahead

POSTED February 1, 2012 12:42 a.m.

Time just has a way of sneaking up on you.
Those of you that have reached a certain age plateau – and you know who you are – can probably attest to the fact that once a certain age comes that ends in a ‘0’ time seems to move a little faster.
Perhaps the thing that made this most abundantly clear was the recent class I took with my daughter. We were required to attend a ‘Start Smart’ course hosted by the California Highway Patrol before she could start her (yes, I have just gasped here) driver’s education class at school.
The roughly two-hour CHP course was packed with information, a good introduction to the driving world and full of statistics that are very scary. True, but scary. Such as the fact that distracted driving has taken over as the leading cause of death among drivers, especially those in the 16- to 21-year-old range, more than any other cause. And the distractions are many, from talking and texting on cell phones to putting on make-up to trying to eat a burger and fries while keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
My daughter, who incredibly turns 16 this month, has been hounding me for about two years about wanting to drive. Of course, when I went to school back in the dark ages there was a full-blown semester-long course, with instruction in the classroom and then a driving portion with a teacher, getting your practice in at school before having to take your test. (And sparing your parents the scary thought of driving with you to teach you the ins and outs of the road.)
Now you can do the ‘classroom’ portion on line if you want, or take a class, and then pay for driving lessons and do a little extra practice. She still has a long way to go before she gets into the driver’s seat and, after hearing the statistics and viewing some rather grisly footage of what can happen when you are a) distracted and drive; b) intoxicated and drive; c) don’t buckle up and drive; and d) ride with an idiot that takes stupid risks; she isn’t sure she wants to drive. That will change; but I hope the information we received in the class stays with her. And you also have to be defensive on the highway. Not in a road rage way, just in making sure you watch out because the other guy might not be paying as much attention as they should be.
So she has been through the first week of the classroom portion, which goes on several more weeks. Then she can get signed up to take lessons and get a permit. You will all be forewarned. And I will search for a deserted parking lot for her to practice in.
With time flying by, and all of us getting older, we’ve also started a ‘wellness’ program at work, with the company challenging employees to do 100 miles in 100 days. It can be any way, walking, running, bicycling, treadmill, etc. and you can do a mile a day, a couple miles every other day, however you want to do it for it all to add up to 100 miles. Several of us here are participating, and my walking partner Michelle and I have logged our 30 miles in January so we are well on the way to reaching the 100-mile goal. My suspicion is we’ll get there well in advance of the deadline and just keep walking. Frankly, I think that’s the point. And we hardly ever had to dodge any raindrops during the month; we are hoping February is a bit wetter. We’ll just take an umbrella.
I’m glad the challenge was put out there; it was a good motivator to get moving and, really, the socialization and sharing Michelle and I do as we walk along is as beneficial as pumping up the heart rate, helping nurture body and soul. Plus, it never hurts to get out from behind the desk and into the outdoors to take a little break and refresh the mind and spirit. Just simply walking can bring a calmness to me, a little peace and serenity … something I’ll probably be needing in abundance when I first hear those words: “Mom, can I borrow the car?”

Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times and The Oakdale Leader and assistant editor for The Riverbank News. She may be reached at mjackson@escalontimes.com or by calling 847-3021.

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