Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Beware of the Teenage Driver

A learner’s permit is a piece of paper that allows teenagers to legally take revenge on their parents. It also tests a parent’s reflexes. I don’t like driving from the passenger’s seat. My horn doesn’t blow, my brakes do not respond, and I can’t steer from this side of the car. All I can do is yell. It makes me a nervous wreck to have my daughter take my car and me over the curvy narrow back roads in Williamson County. Give me the 6-lane interstate and the 18-wheelers any day, but please don’t put me on those hilly curves with a teenager that thinks she’s an experienced driver now that she’s been driving for a whole month. She’s driving me crazy, and in that she does have experience.

My Daughter took a job at the Kroger store. It takes 20 minutes there, and 20 minutes home twice a day to accommodate her. Yesterday I took the Blazer to pick her up from work. It doesn’t glide and hover like my Camry, and I thought that would give me a chance to get over the whiplash I have from yesterday’s excursion. On the way home today, daughter slammed on the brakes and jerked us both forward when she nearly ran the stop sign. The Blazer went dead. She cranked it, but it went dead again going up the next hill. This time the car behind us nearly smashed into us. We lost steam going up the hill until we came to a complete stop and started rolling backwards.

“Brakes!” I yelled while stomping the floor on my side.

We started the truck again and got over the top of the hill before it died again. We were picking up steam on the downside of the hill, and since there are no shoulders on this steep, narrow road, we could not pull over. I saw a street coming up on the right and suggested that she turn in. She was headed toward the brick wall of Twelve Oaks Subdivision when I realized that she’d lost power steering when the engine died. I grabbed the wheel, used my ‘yell and stomp’ brakes, and managed to bring us to a safe landing in front of a brick mansion. That’s when I noticed that our gas level was low, and I hoped we had enough to get to a station. Guess what?! We didn’t. The truck would not crank so I walked up the driveway of mansion #1 only to be chased back to the truck by a three-legged dog. Close call.

I went to mansion #2 and rang the doorbell. A nice man let us use the phone to call My Husband. My Daughter and I sat in the truck singing silly songs, styling our hair, and waving at the rich folks who were coming home from work while we waited to be rescued. My Husband arrived 45 minutes later with a gas can. He poured gas into the fuel injection jets. We tried to crank it and it fired right up. It caught fire, that is! He grabbed an old glove and started beating the fire out, but it didn’t extinguish. I was about ready to call my friends at 9-1-1 when the fire went out on its own. The plastic hickies in the fuel injectors were melted pretty badly, but can you believe it? – the truck cranked, first try.

The next day I was off work. I wanted to sleep late but I had a dentist appointment at 8:45 a.m. I questioned my intelligence the whole way there wondering why I had made the appointment so early. I arrived and found out that my appointment had been cancelled and My Daughter had forgotten to tell me that my dentist had called the day before. I fumed all the way home and had a plan for retaliation by the time I arrived. I made My Daughter get up out of bed, clean her room, clean her bathroom, and do her schoolwork before I would take her to her job at 1:15. I bet she remembers to tell me next time someone calls.


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