Baby you can drive my car

If all goes according to plan, my son will get his learner’s permit next weekend. This should be really interesting. It seems like just yesterday he was playing with the V-Tech steering wheel. You can’t disable the horn in that thing. I tried.

A friend of mine warned me to be prepared. There will be a fender bender. It is inevitable. I started to protest, thinking about myself and my siblings, and then decided she was right. I don’t think any of us emerged unscathed. I know I didn’t. Photographs of the smashed up tail light  of my father’s car next to my sister’s “Just Married” sign ensures that I will never forget. I won’t tell on my siblings. All I can say is that my eldest sisters’ story is really good.

My husband will be in charge of driving detail. It’s better that way. I, like my mother before me, would spend my time pushing the imaginary brake in the passenger side of the car. My husband, on the other hand, is rather unflappable. He taught me to drive a stick shift, maintaining a remarkable sense of calm as I stalled it time and time again in the middle of a busy Evanston intersection.

Sometimes I think my son having a driver’s license will be freeing. After all, I spend a lot of time driving him around, or waiting to drive him around. If he were driving, I wouldn’t have these tortured conversations over who is picking whom up and when said picking up is supposed to occur.

On the other hand, it would become one more thing to worry about.  I’ve seen him play Need for Speed. But then again, my son is one who colors inside the lines. He likes rules and routine, and the idea of him driving is preferable to that of his being a passenger in some other teen’s car.

The mitigating factor in all of this is that we only have two cars, and my car is the dreaded Prius, which my son asserts is a cred-killer on wheels. My husband can’t walk to work, and I’m not hanging home without my ride, so until we get another car, his driving options are limited.

A lot of kids around here get ridiculously expensive cars from their parents once they are able to drive. My son will not be one of them.  If we do get a third car, I’m thinking good mileage, high reliability, solid safety mechanisms, and limited passenger capacity. Maybe even one of those things U-Haul installs to limit the maximum vehicle speed. Something totally lacking in sex appeal. Sounds an awful lot like a Prius.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph by Tiffany Terry


2 comments on “Baby you can drive my car

  1. Veronica Roth says:

    Oh god how time flies. Happily my older two were taught by their father, therefore drive cars, articulated trucks, race motorcycles, drove from Vancouver to Maine and are rebuilding a 1969 Mach1 Mustang. Poor Chloe, 10 years younger and different father, got stuck into a driving school and drives my big Land Rover, but not on the highway. Jon and Kers are threatening to take her under their wings about this driving thing. I’m thinking a modern mini should be a nice, safe, cute car for her…when she graduates university…after she comes back from Japan…what the hell, she may as well buy it for herself by then! 🙂

  2. When I figured out that there seemed to be a need for speed but also a need for winter traction, we ended up with a 4 cylinder escape. The car looks cool but there isn’t much pickup.

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