When a parent’s first child gets their license, it’s a bit unnerving. There are too many unknowns. There’s the concern of which parent they’re apt to drive like … more cautious mom or lead foot dad? (I may be in denial of my recent speeding ticket here.) Will they get from point A to point B unharmed? Or, will they actually go directly from point A to B without making several side trips just because it’s fun?
Well, my daughter isn’t thinking about any of these things. Her only concern is where’s her car? I believe I clearly explained that until she learned how to put money in the bank, her car would remain in a car lot somewhere. For now she could just be ecstatic we’re willing to lend her our cars and not charge her for gas. (Oh my gosh, I am my mother!)
I got my first car when I was a junior in high school. It was torture waiting, and what did I get? A beige, four-door 1976 Plymouth Valiant. It screamed “Granny Car” from the moment I laid my eyes on it. During a serious lapse in judgment, this is what my parents picked. How could they? They were obviously trying to ruin my life. In hindsight, I think my parents were probably trying to teach me humility and to be grateful I even had a car. Whatever! It certainly was humbling parking next to brand new convertible VW Rabbits, MR2’s, 4X4 trucks, and Camaros in the school parking lot. (I’m an 80s girl.) And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. Eventually the driver’s side door didn’t open. I had to get in on the passenger side and slide across the front seat in order to drive. After two years of humiliation I sold it for $500 and pocketed the money.
My sister’s torture was similar; she got stuck with a bright yellow Pinto station wagon. The only upside was she could easily spot it in a parking lot. No need to remember where she parked it, just follow the glow. As the car got older, it got a little dangerous. Every time she turned a corner she had to hold on to the door because it flew open. For some reason this didn’t concern my parents. Go figure. My uncle reminded me his first car was a blue Pinto hatchback. It was the kind that blew-up if it was rear-ended. (minor detail.) He was convinced his parents didn’t love him. While he was in college, his key broke off in the ignition and every time he wanted to start his car he had to use a screwdriver.
My husband drove a 1965 Chevy Bel Air, in other words a boat. I think his parents had safety in mind with that choice or optional backup transportation in case of a flood.
With two cars in our household, my daughter insists, pleads and begs to drive only one. In her words, “she’ll die” if I make her drive the mini-van. She’s repeatedly told me, “I’m not a mom! Why would I drive that?” My matter-of-fact response is always, “Fine, then stay home.” I think a teenager with no vehicle shouldn’t be that picky.
With no summer job, constantly saying she doesn’t have any money, and her social life coming before anything else, I think there won’t be another car in our family for a while. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees. (Great. Now I sound like my father.) I could always start shopping for a car like my first one. I think that might prompt her to earn a little cash.