“Can I drive?”
The big boy has his learner’s permit and is taking driver’s education. Because my husband claims to be “patience challenged,” ride-along duties fall to me.
My son is 17 — a little late to the learning-driver game. When I was his age, I was ferrying carloads of teenagers in our wood-paneled station wagon and riding shotgun in a friend’s souped-up Firebird.
I felt so old.
He seems so young.
So far, he’s a careful, conscientious driver. But I break out in a sweat when I picture him on the DC beltway. My stomach knots up when I imagine him on Interstate 95. Heck, my mother bear rears her ferocious head when we’re navigating our neighborhood streets.
It isn’t him I worry about.
It’s the other drivers.
So far, we have had a white Ford truck tailgate us through our neighborhood streets, gunning its engine and whipping around us when we turn onto a side street. We’ve had a sports car pass us on the incline of a 30 mph two-lane country road. We’ve had a middle-aged man scream at us in a parking lot (he was backing up just as we passed him; I honked our car horn), zip around us, then stomp on his brakes and come to a stop right in front of us.
I guess he was trying to teach us a lesson.
In all these cases, my son was driving at the posted speed limit and obeying the rules of the road.
What is wrong with people? What makes a grown man, a grown woman turn into a wild-eyed monster when they get behind the wheel? My son’s driving teacher — who is a policeman — says he witnesses the same behavior when he’s out with his students. (And his teaching car is bright yellow with STUDENT DRIVER plastered all over it.)
I’ve ordered a raft of “Student Driver … Please Be Patient” stickers from Amazon. I can’t wait until they arrive, yet I’m doubtful they’ll make any difference.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to practice. He’ll continue to learn. I’ll continue to worry …
… and I’m going to start recording and reporting license plate numbers.
Other drivers can be wild-eyed monsters.
I can be a mother bear.