Monday, November 21, 2016

Car Talk

As we head into the #1 traveling holiday week of the year, thought I’d offer a reflection on my years of driving. How well I remember cranking up the old Model T for a jolly Sunday ride down those dusty country roads!!

Just kidding! I don’t go back quite that far, though I remember the pre-seat belt days of my childhood. Now our little ones are so strapped in that they could safely rocket to Mars. 

Safety first!!

I recall the day in 1992, tooling up Highway 309, checking periodically in my rear view mirror to keep an eye on baby PJ. Suddenly—he disappeared!! Oh Lord, where WAS he? I hastily pulled over, to discover that I had indeed strapped him in his seat, but forgotten to attach the car seat to the car itself. My stalwart infant had silently slid off and landed on the car floor. No injuries, though Patrick may end up on an analyst’s couch one day with his tale of motherly neglect.

I learned to drive in Atlanta, a place so lax that my mother Joanie easily got her license there. At just 16, I was let loose on Atlanta’s highways and byways—perhaps not the wisest decision on the part of the Georgia DMV. While I was (and remain) accident-free, I was (and remain) a so-so driver and could not parallel park if that was my admission ticket into Heaven. 

One of the many bonuses of marriage to Steve is that the man LOVES to drive. On the road during our children’s theatre tour, I never drove once, preferring my role as navigator (though wait, I couldn’t navigate either. We would end up asking random small town pedestrians for directions to the local school where we were to perform. Alarmingly, many of them were unable to locate their local school.)

As the children came along I was forced to drive a station wagon, just to accommodate our growing family. I managed (barely) but was very relieved when we started to scale back to smaller vehicles. Nowadays a little Hyundai Accent suits me just fine, and I refuse to drive Steve’s current minivan, which we have nicknamed The Beast.

My sweet Accent!! (Looks less banged-up in the dark!)

On Saturday mornings, I love to tune into NPR’s very entertaining Car Talk. Every caller has car problems, and many of them, like me, can barely articulate what’s wrong. “When I put it in reverse, it sounds like kittens being tortured.” “It’s leaking something that smells like cookies.” Hosts Tom and Ray Magliotti ALWAYS know precisely what ails the vehicle. The program’s odd popularity with me I liken to the non-cook who is addicted to The Food Network.

So how long will I keep spinning my wheels, so to speak? Well, I’m already basically off night driving, and will go to great lengths to avoid expressways. I figure, Aiden will be driving in just 14 years, and I’m sure he will be delighted to ferry Nana to the senior center for BINGO. Meanwhile, I soldier on!

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