Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Driving skills

My mom is great. Love her to pieces. She is a beautiful, witty, smart, at 81-still-vibrant, former school teacher with an advanced degree who taught gifted and talented 4th and 5th graders. We've always been close. We learned how to play tennis together, and have had many adventures through the years. I don't think anyone's a bigger fan of all things moi. I grew used to old boyfriends through the years falling under her spell. Several even went so far as to say they wished I were more like her...Well, she is more diplomatic -- and sweet. For all that, though, I am a tomboy. Funny, since my dad's first name is Tom.

My family aren't 'shouters,' or demonstrative. I've never been 'grounded,' -- it's all very 'civilized' -- my SIL says we're the most repressed family she's ever met (we don't hug; drives her crazy). Only once when I was 22 did I engage in a heated argument with my dad that resulted in raised voices. "Why can't you be more like your mother?!" "Because I'm, just like YOU!" I retorted. We both glanced at mom who shrugged and smiled, yes.

As mom's grown older, her driving skills, never strong to begin with, have grown more and more impaired. That and a few minor health issues enabled us to wrest the keys away from her, and her beloved vintage Camero (I call it the cram-ero) sits in the carport. Between dad, me, my SIL, and mom's friends, she gets out as much as she wants to, but every once in awhile she brings up the issue of driving again, which traumatizes the family to no end, except for dad. I think he's getting worn down from her arguments. Maybe from living with her, like Stockholm syndrome or something. Not even in a sherman tank should mom be allowed on the road. I promise to send out an all-points bulletin if she is, so you and your loved ones can watch out for a silver '80s Camero that looks like it's driving itself weaving slowly down the road...The last time mom drove a car she 'parked' it at the top of their steep drive to get out and get the mail, and it flew down the driveway, bounced off the curb, and stopped on the front porch inches from their huge glass window front. I regret missing that incident.

So I knew better the other day when instead of pulling out of a parking spot, she suggested I drive forward, and when I glanced forward it looked level and I did -- I attribute it to some little reptilian part of my brain going, "It's your mother -- she's never wrong!" and found my little Vibe almost straddling the parking bumper...a female motorcyclist insisted on staring and smirking at me forever...with as much dignity as I could muster, I extracated the car from the block and snarled at the manky cow that I guess she never made mistakes (as if she could hear through the windshield) and drove with as much dignity as I could muster, calculating that it really should be about 30 years before anyone wrested the car keys away from me....

7 comments:

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Did you ever see the episode of South Park where they end up taking away the licenses of all the elderly in town? There're some great scenes of kids playing in the street when bingo lets out and everyone realizing and running for the hills as though a Tsunami was coming. This is what your mom reminded me of for a minute.

Talking of driving mishaps, the day I passed my driving test I remember pulling up outside my house and hitting the gas instead of the brake. Ooops! Lucky I already HAD the license really.

Rook No. 17 said...

What a beautifully written article! Your mom sounds like an amazing lady, and even if they're not huggy, your family sounds great ~ Tom, tomboys and all. I love your profile. What a fascinating career you and your husband have! The picture on your banner is beautiful. Thanks for stopping by Rook No. 17 today. I look forwad to continuing to follow your posts. Warmest wishes,
Jenn @ rookno17.blogspot.com

Tater Tot Mom said...

I love your article. I remember when my Grandpa stopped driving. He was none too happy, especially since he was a stubborn man! My Dad is the same way so I can only imagine what that will be like.

I also have a very close relationship with my Mom and can't imagine a time without her although I know there will be one.

Aunt Juicebox said...

I hate to drive so much. I'm sort of looking forward to the day they take my license away. ;)

MamaOtwins+1 said...

Wow - tht is a great post - luckily I have a long time to go before I deal with any of that.

Thanks for stopping by - I really enjoy reading what you write.

Chris said...

It was probably fifteen years ago that my Dad started tossing me the keys whenever we went somewhere together. But he kept driving to the end. I'm glad we never had to try to take his keys away. Mom still drives, but she's the stereotypical little old lady that only drives to church.

The Daily Dose said...

Definately taking this as a lesson for what to expect when my own mother has to have her own vintage Cram-ero taken away. Your mom reminds me alot of my own.Mine is just younger and fiestier- which I believe will only get worse. You've got a great blog here! :)