The husband was clearly giddy when he walked through the front door last spring.
“How was the high school information meeting, dad?” the teenager naively queried.
“Oh, it was great!” the husband shouted, barely able to contain himself. “Did you know that you can get your permit when you turn 15 if you are enrolled in driver’s ed? 15!! That’s only a few months away! I have the paperwork right here! HOW. COOL. IS. THAT. Pretty soon, you will be able to drag race with me!” And with that he threw down the driver’s ed pamphlet on the living room table.
There was a family pause as the teenager, the boy and I all processed this shocking information.
The nearly 15 year old teenager finally stood up and announced with emphatic conviction to the family. “I am never, ever driving and YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!!”
The husband was dumbfounded. The boy called the teenager a big crazy chicken. I asked the husband if he had learned anything at this meeting about the benefits of AP Calculus versus AP Statistics. His answer to me was, “What does she mean she never wants to drive? How is that even possible?”
The disbelieving and disheartened husband spent the summer trying to convince the teenager that it was her innate destiny to become a driving enthusiast. Yet, when she turned 15 last week, she still had no desire to drive and she finally told us why.
“Well, I don’t want to drive…because…because…well…because I’m afraid that all the drivers on the road will be just like dad.”
Said the husband.
“I’m afraid,” the teenager continued, “That people like dad will honk at me if I do something stupid.”
The husband was gone a few days later when I took the teenager to an empty parking lot. She was not happy with me when she realized what we were there for. Eventually, however, she sat in the driver’s seat. Eventually she put the car in gear. Eventually she took her foot off the brake. And, eventually, we crept forward.
“Put your foot, gently, on the gas pedal.” I urged her.
And, eventually, she did. She pressed the gas pedal. Just enough. We rolled about 20 feet at 5 miles per hour.
And then she slammed her foot down on the brake. She turned her head toward me and I saw a look of satisfied shock on her face. Her wide, excited eyes and a huge, joyous grin filled up her face.
"OH………I LIKE THAT!” she said. “Now that…THAT was FUN!”
And as she pulled up the parking brake she looked at me again, this time with a look of panic on her face. “Oh, don’t you dare tell dad that I enjoyed that, ok? He can never know!”
The entire family was in the car the next day when the stoplight turned red. We came to a stop in front of a car dealership. The husband, as usual, surveyed the cars on the dealership’s lot. The teenager looked out the window and suddenly spoke up, “Oh, wow! Do you see that red sports car dad? Now that is a cool car! I’d definitely drive that car.”
The husband voiced his approval as a look of utmost contentment spread over his face. He turned to me and whispered, “Now THAT’S my girl. I knew she’d eventually come around to this whole driving thing.”
The husband grinned, looked forward to see that the light had turned green, and then honked his horn at the car in front of us who hadn’t started moving yet.
And from the backseat we could hear the teenager blurt out, “Not that I’m ever driving, however! In fact, I’m never, ever driving and you can’t make me!”
Check This Out!
Take a listen to RiverBend on their MySpace Music page. Mostly rock, a little grunge, a little bit indie--see if you like them. www.myspace.com/riverbendrock