I am leaving shortly to take my baby to the DMV to take his driver’s test. He will walk away with his first official ID, and the ability to take a vehicle, a large moving projectile, on the road all by himself without me stomping on the highly effective passenger side brake. I’m scared to death.
I’m not normally a worrier. Worrying is a waste of time and energy, and who wants to spend time thinking about all the bad things that might happen? Not me, especially when 99.9% of the time whatever horrible scenario I have dreamed up would be as likely to happen as California falling off. Surprisingly, this actually did come up when I was a kid.
I had a crazy great uncle who lived on a secluded compound with his cult somewhere in Montana. Occasionally, he would call my parents with dire warnings that they must flee the Bay Area as California was destined to fall off into the sea, drowning us all. I’m not sure if it was going to be a clean cut along state lines or if it would follow a fault line in which case only half of the state would fall. In any case, my parents moved us to the safety of Nevada when I was seven, so I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.
Thankfully, I’ve never worried about such dramatic events as the end of California like my great uncle did; however, I’ve never had a son get a license before either, and I’m finding that on a worry scale, its about as high for me as California falling off was for my uncle.
Two weeks ago, my son bought a truck, a little 2001 Ford Ranger. It’s a great little truck, and we probably could have got a slightly better deal on it but the lady who sold it to us had no teeth and was on oxygen, so my husband felt guilty chewing down her price too much. Happily, the truck has a 3 liter V6 engine which translates into relatively “gutless.” Despite that fact, I have had visions of it rolling, bursting into flames, the tires falling off on the freeway, any variety of disasters all of which end with my baby horribly injured.
I would love to say that my son is a responsible, extremely mature 16 year old who always considers the consequences of his actions, but he’s not. He’s typical. Two nights ago he took me for a drive to a nearly gravel pit to show me how he figured out how to pop the clutch and make it fish tail all over the place. Oh God. I just grabbed the “oh shit” handle above the window and shut my eyes, fondly remembering how he used to show me safe things, like how high he could jump.
When we got home, my husband asked where we had gone, and I could only glare at him. Our son has learned his love of crazy driving from his father. I would never make a vehicle go sideways on purpose. My husband lives for snowy days when each corner becomes an opportunity to go sideways; empty intersections become perfect places for brodies. For him, driving is much more fun in the snow when the truck is not in 4 wheel drive.
Apparently, he’s taught our son well, and it scares the crap out of me. I’ve been praying for weeks, worrying about this impending day. Feel free to pray with me. Or just pray for yourself as you drive down our roads and highways that are littered with 16 year old drivers. We’re adding one more today. Lord help us all.