It is not my intention to cause alarm. I do, however, feel you should be warned.
The teenagers….they know.
They have found out our secret.
The jig is up.
I first became aware of this issue during a typical suburban carpool. The teenagers in my car were all enrolled in driver’s education classes. They assured me they were all very good drivers. As I approached an intersection, I turned on my signal. I jokingly asked the girls, “So how far before an intersection should you turn on your turn signal?” The girls all yelled out in unison, “100 feet!”
“Really? 100 feet?” I blurted out, surprised and wondering to myself how far 100 feet was.
I was informed that my signal was turned on 50 feet before the intersection. The car full of teenagers pursed their lips and shook their heads in disgust. They told my teenager not to worry. Their parents were all bad drivers too.
I knew those teenagers were wrong. I was a good driver. I had years of experience. Besides, they’re lucky I turned on my signal at all. It’s not like there was anyone behind me.
I sat in the passenger seat while the teenager drove to her driver’s education class the next morning. As we approached the school where her class took place I saw that we were in a long line of cars. Every car obeyed the speed limit. Every car used their turn signal. Every car carefully negotiated turns, avoided tailgating and stayed between the lines. Every car had a “student driver” sign in the rear window and was driven by a teenager.
After dropping off the teenagers, the parents ripped the student driver sign off the rear window and jumped into the driver’s seat, desperate to reclaim the control they had lost. And then they floored it. The gas pedal. And they dialed. Their phones. And they reached for it. Their coffee. And they raced out of the parking lot ignoring their partially airborne car that had just been launched off of the speed bump they had ignored. They turned the corner onto the main road flying right past the strongly suggestive stop sign. And their right tire strayed over the white line as they sped 10 miles over the speed limit down the road 6 feet off the bumper of the car in front of them.
I looked at those speeding drivers in front of me with pursed lips, shaking my head in disgust. And as I reached down to change the radio station button I thought to myself, “Those teenagers were right. Their parents really are bad drivers.
Later that afternoon I called the teenager out of the house to help me unload my newly purchased groceries from the trunk of the car. When the trunk lid was open the teenager and I both stared at the mess before us. The bags were turned over and much of their contents were strewn across the floor of the trunk. I rebagged the groceries. Except the onion. I was too short to reach the stray onion that had lodged itself in the farthest reaches of the trunk. As the taller teenager stretched her arm to reach the onion she looked at me with pursed lips, shaking her head in disgust. “So how fast did you take that last corner, mom?”
My jig was up.
The teenager thought I was a bad driver.
As we both hauled groceries into the house I realized that I had to make some changes. I was ashamed. I mean really? What kind of modern car trunk doesn’t have one of those grocery catching nets installed? I’d have to get me one.
Check This Out!
Speaking of onions, I made a tasty new sauce the other day based on a recipe from Mario Batali’s great cookbook, Molto Italiano-327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home. It was on page 341. Turkey and pork meatballs made with fresh bread crumbs, rosemary and hot red pepper flakes are baked first and then simmered for an hour in this sauce.
¼ cup olive oil (I used a bit less)
3 red onions, thinly sliced (yes, 3)
6 cloves of garlic thinly sliced (I used 8)
1 TBL hot red pepper flakes
1 cup dry red wine (I used beef broth)
1 sprig rosemary (I threw in some dry…1 tsp?)
2 cups basic tomato sauce (there is a recipe on page 71 of the book…I got lazy and just used canned plain sauce-probably close to 4 cups worth, some thyme and some garlic)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet or stockpot until almost smoking. Add the onions and garlic and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until well browned, at least 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and wine and rosemary. Bring to a boil and cook until the wine is reduced by half. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the meatballs to the sauce and place the pan in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Season with salt and pepper. Topped with Italian parsley if you wish. (We served ours over linguine.)