21st Century Kid

Only Old People Can Drive

“I got my license!!” Mickey messaged to me today, ecstatic. For what seemed like forever yet no time at all had passed and little (“little”) Mickey is finally a full fledged driver, on the cusp of being a real adult.

“Niceeee,” I send her, excited to hear the news yet a little weirded out that she was legit driver. It was less congratulatory, more affirmative that, if I acknowledge it, I am validating that it is fact. I am validating that this little person who I used to drive around and babysit and walk to school can now drive my butt around or drive around and get stuff for me if I wanted her to. I guess I should feel slightly victorious now that I can make her do things for me?

“Have you been driving a lot?” I ask.

“Yes…kind of,” she says, “I get Mom’s car whenever she’s not using it…which isn’t a lot.”

“Don’t you have your own car?” I ask, as I thought she was getting some piece of poop car that was from 1991 or something.

“No, sadly,” she says, “But Mom and Dad said maybe toward the end of the school year!”

“Ahh, that makes sense. How was your driver’s test?”

“The driving test was sooooooooo easy – I got a 97! I had this very scary looking guy who ended up being really funny. He kept saying ‘Now, don’t kill me now!’ and stuff. The only hard part was the parallel parking–and that was because mom’s big car was so high I could barely see the cones!”

“Wait: I thought you had grandpa’s old car for things? I was visualizing you in a burgundy Toyota Camry from the early nineties. That changes everything!”

“Nah, Dad still needs that car (which was going to be mine!).”

“So, you won’t be driving to school or anything then?”

“Right,” Mickey says.

“Then what is the point of you having a license?????!!!!!”

She laughs, “Well, since Mom is a walker (training for a marathon), she lets me drive to school then walks to get the car if she needs it. Or, she drops it off at the end of the day and walks home. But I’ve mainly used it to go on coffee runs for her during rehearsal for the dinner theatre we volunteer at.”

“I guess Mother’s marathon training is helping everyone! How is driving by yourself? Scary?”

“Not really,” she says, “But I have started to lose my voice because now I can sing as loud as I want since I’m alone.”

“I know that feeling! Man. Singing and driving and…texting. Are you texting and driving?? That’s one of my biggest pet peeves.”

“Never!” she says, “I’m too nervous to text and drive. And it’s illegal!!”

“Good,” I say, like a proud father who benefitted from PSA’s that taught his daughter what he should have taught her, “Stay that way!” I then proceed to make a victim out of my boyfriend, outing him on his texting (well, checking Twitter) and driving habits: “Bobby will sometimes check Twitter and drive and it makes me insane because it’s sooo dangerous. He doesn’t even watch the road, he just looks at his phone. So, I yell at him. He can text or Tweet while driving, sure – but not when I’m in the car. It stresses me out!”

She laughs, “Same with dad – he checks his email and such. It scares me so much! People in Georgia are awful drivers. Point blank. Phones aren’t helping that.”

“Aren’t you also one of the only kids in your class with a license? I didn’t get mine until the end of my sophomore year and you got yours…at the beginning?”

“Yeah,” she says, “I am the second person with it.”

“What?? How is that? Doesn’t everyone have a license now?? And do your friends ask you to drive them all the time??”

She laughs, “Well, I’m old, so that’s why I have it. But I can’t drive my friends because Mom won’t let me (and it’s illegal to have non-family passengers the first sixth months). Oh, I’m the oldest person in my grade – did you know that?”

“WHAAAAAAT????” I ask, “That is INSANE.”

“Yeah, I’m used to it. I mean, my best friend just turned 15 this summer…”

“Man, you old. That’s crazy! Does you being ‘old’ interfere with your school life? Is it weird being the eldest in the class? I was always a younger one because I was born in May.”

“Well, it never interferes with anything: I’ve just gotten used to it. I would rather be an old Sophomore then a young Junior. But, I will never know how it feels to be a young Junior because I’m the old Sophomore.”

“That’s funny,” I tell her, “Since you don’t have a car, what kind of car do you want? Well, your ‘dream car.'”

“I really want, like, a small car,” she says, “Like, a bug or a compact car would be ideal. What’s your dream car?”

“You should take my car – which is a bug – because I hate it and I have spent thousands on it and it has burned through all of savings and it is the worst. I’m selling it as soon as I pay it off (in a year, ugh).” I calm down and say, “But, I do want a Prius, which would basically be my Los Angeles Yuppie status symbol.”

She laughs and asks, “Were you a nervous driver when you were taking your driver’s license test? It rained when I took mine.”

“Nah, I wasn’t nervous,” I say being all tough, “I didn’t even care about getting a license but I knew I needed one because I needed to drive around to so many places.”

“Interesting,” she says.

“And my test wasn’t in the rain but in broad daylight and with a large man, who may have been eating as I did the test. I may be making that up but I don’t care because it sounds interesting for all intents and purposes of this conversation.”

“If you’re serious, you’d be my favorite brother in the world,” she says.

“I am serious – I think that did happen during my test.”

“No, I’m not talking about that dumb-dumb,” she laughs, “If you gave me your car, you’d be my favorite brother.”

“Well, I wish I could but I hate it but I need it and I’m going to sell it because I have no $$$$$$$$.”

“I’m kidding! I really couldn’t care less about what I drive as long as it’s automatic and drives…” she finishes.

“So, I’m not you’re favorite brother unless I do that?”

No repsonse.

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