Teenage Drivers

Two teenagers in the house, one of them wants to drive, the other doesn’t. Can you guess who is who?

If you said the oldest was in no hurry then you’d be right. He’s been eligible for a permit since June third. We got him the handbook to study and checked into driving classes, but he has no desire to act on that knowledge. My daughter, on the other hand, is chomping at the bit to begin her driving career. She is fourteen and won’t be eligible until November of 2018, but that hasn’t stopped her from getting behind the wheel every chance she gets. Not that she gets many chances, but Dad does let the teenagers pull the cars in and out of the driveway and garage on occasion.

This summer I came home from the store to an odd sight. Pulling into the driveway I noticed that the plants to the left of our house, both ours and our neighbors, looked like they had some kind of disease. The whole right side of one of our ruellia shrubs was completely missing. The same was true of our neighbors azalea bush. Getting out of the car I made a mental note to check into that more closely, then headed into the house with the groceries. Stepping in the front door, I was greeted by my husband. There was something he wanted to share with me, but first he helped me put the groceries away.

While in the kitchen he asked if I’d seen the bushes to the left our driveway. I said yes and mentioned my thoughts about an insect infestation, or possible plant disease. He laughed, said I needed to think bigger, then launched into a story.

Apparently he had given Sadie the keys to his Ram 1500, the same one that I have trouble backing up on occasion. She was supposed to pull the truck into the driveway, leaving enough room for the Ford to maneuver into the garage. She started out fine at first, but was being so tentative with the gas that she was having trouble getting over the bump at the beginning or our driveway. Dad told her to step on the gas so she did, but then got scared. The truck was veering too far to the left and before she could gather her senses to step on the brake, she had run over our bush and the neighbor’s, stopping inches from his main water valve shut off line.

KC said that as it was happening he saw $$$ signs flashing though his mind; Sadie said the same thing, but now they needed to inform the neighbor that Sadie had murdered one of his azalea bushes…did I mention that this neighbor is a police office, or that he is one of the most intimidating neighbors on our block? In light of this, KC told Sadie he would take care of alerting the neighbor and went over to knock on the door. The neighbor wasn’t home, but his mother was babysitting. KC gave her his phone number and asked her to have her son call when he had a minute, within five minutes the neighbor was calling.

Over the phone KC began relaying the events leading up to the plant massacre. There was a long, quiet, pause on the other end and then KC heard nothing but this deep resounding laughter. He let out a sigh of relief and then listened to what the neighbor had to say. He wasn’t mad. He had late teen/twenty-somethings of his own and knew from experience all about the teenage driving years. He wanted to wait and see how the plant did before considering a replacement.

This happened at the beginning of summer and it is now autumn. The azalea bush, and our own ruellia are doing well. You’d never know that Sadie almost took them out with the truck, but Sadie has been somewhat less enthusiastic about getting behind the wheel since then. Jericho is the same, no desire to take the test, no desire to get his permit; we threaten that we will surprise him with a trip to the DMV one Saturday to take the test whether he’s ready or not.

Teenagers! What are you going to do with them? I say this with a skewed sense of reality though. Here we are trying to force a milestone to adulthood. A milestone that will cost us tons in extra insurance premiums and third or fourth cars. So should I really be concerned, or will things come in their own time? I’m guessing they will come in their own time so I’m saving my money, for now.


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