The Ten Commandments for Using My Car

tencommandmentsI am the car owner, thy mother, and I have brought you out of my lady parts after eighteen hours and limited access to pain medication into the land of motor vehicles.

1. Thou shalt not drive when your judgment is  impaired in any way. At this rate, you might get to use the car when you’re thirty.

2. Thou shalt keep your hands on the wheel at all times. This includes texting, eating, and fondling your girlfriend or yourself. I know how well you multitask.

3. Your passengers shalt keep their hands off your wheel at all times (if you catch my drift). That only turns out well in the movies. In reality, say hello to the ditch. Not that I have personal experience with that.

4. You shalt not drink Caramel Frappuchinos in the vehicle.  Last week my steering wheel was stickier than a movie theater floor after The Spongebob Movie. This is especially true if you don’t have a Grande Skim Latte for your mother.

5. After picking up food at McDonald’s, thou shalt air out the car and spray with Febreeze (provided in trunk).  The same goes for dining at Chipotle, or after playing basketball in 90 degree heat. No, Axe does not take care of that.

6. Thou shalt not leave the radio turned up to 11 to scare the crap out your mother when she starts the car. If you do, when your friends come over, she will pipe NPR through the household audio system. Upon the second offense, she will rap Snoop Dogg. On the third, look out Beyonce–girl can dance. Or at least she will.

7. Thou shalt not leave discarded chewing gum in the cupholder. The same goes for straw wrappers, sunflower seed shells and used tissues. If you do, I shall instruct the cats to deposit their hairballs on your pillow.

8. Thou shalt not use my trunk as your laundry bin. If I find wet towels in my backseat, you will find your Dad’s dirty underwear in your beach bag.

9. Thou shalt not return the car on fumes. It’s only like leaving an empty Cheez-it box in the pantry, if running out of Cheez-its left you stranded on the shoulder of I-495. You have a gas card. Use it for something other than buying beef jerky from the convenience store.

10. The Golden Rule – Thou shalt treat the Prius as if it was your own, because someday, it may be. Because if this family gets a new car, it’s mine.

Just remember, if you want the keys to the kingdom, they’re in my pocket. My will be done.

Photograph – The Ten Commandments, by John Taylor © 2010 Creative Commons/Flickr

The Way Forward a.k.a. Ode to the dude coming out of Wells Fargo

turn indicatorI realize that sometimes, it’s hard to know which way to turn.

The options seem boundless, and the path unknown.

I see your struggle, and want you to know, that it only feels that way for now.

It’s really quite simple.

The options are right, left, and straight.

And it would help us all if you would use your turn indicator.

Thank you.

Photograph : “Turn Indicator” by Timothy Valentine © 2007 Creative Commons

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