"She's got a ticket to ride
And she don't care. . .
My baby don't care. . ." - The Beatles
I approach the teenager with trepidation, acutely aware of the slightly crazed look in her eye. A deep breath, and, as the eyes meet, not a question, but a suggestion poses itself just beyond the edge of the statement.
"I have to go get your uniform from the clean-"
Reactively, she reaches for the keys. Slurping on her own drool she interrupts, "I'll drive! Can I drive?" And with stealth of Ninja proportions, she pulls on her shoes, grabs her wallet and air-walks out the front door.
"-ers." Defeatedly, I sigh and follow.
While we live in a residential neighborhood (all those houses give it away!), our street is fairly busy. It is rare that one encounters the commuter willing to observe any measure of courtesy while traversing our unfortunate passageways. Far be it from these travellers to refrain from reading and eating and speeding while they're texting and deleting just because we live there and would like to safely exist in and around our home. So we sat. And watied.
(Ten minutes later. . . )
"Sweetheart, it's pretty busy. Why don't you let me drive up and you can drive home."
"Mom, " she spoke calmly as she gazed pointedly down her nose and beyond my right ear, "I'm fine. I have to learn to drive in heavy traffic, too!"
(Ten minutes later. . . )
"I think I see a break, Mom, I am getting ready to go."
(Ten minutes later. . .)
"Okay. . .nope, here comes another car doing ninety."
But of course, I exaggerate. A little.
Eventually, we were able to leave the confines of our driveway and were given a moment's reprieve before the appearance of the usual car in our back seat. (Lay off the Scenic Heights Ricky Bobby already, will ya? You don't "gotta go fast" past homes and bikers and joggers and parks and kids. . .)
We made it past the light, around the corner and down the road, through the dry-cleaning drive-thru without incident, despite several poorly-muffled sighs on my part and a few fingers from the other drivers. As she approached the exit, she stopped and shifted into park defeatedly.
"Mom, do you want to just drive home? I'm sorry to have taken you on this excursion through Hell!"
I pried my nails from the armrest, put on my best Donna Reed smile and said, "No, you did fine. You were fine. Go ahead, you're doing great. This traffic is just crazy, that's all. You're doing a good job, Baby."
She put it in drive.
"And besides, " I continued, "We are in a Suburban, not an Excursion. So it is a Suburban through Hell. Now let's practice your hand gestures on the way home. . ."
She smiled and gave it some gas.
11 months ago