“Hurry up and lets go!” my mom hollered at me as I ran into my bedroom to grab my glasses.
“I’m driving!” I hollered back as I shoved my glasses onto my nose, grabbed my cell phone up off my bed and briefly debated grabbing my iPod.
“Driving me fricking crazy!” mom shouted back at me as I dug through the suitcase of clothes I’ve been living out of since moving home in an effort to find a sweater.
It’s a common conversation my mom and I have had since I turned 16 and got my learners permit to drive. When I was younger I would have insisted on being allowed to drive to and from Kamloops on our trip to the movies, but last night? Nah. Normally I let my mom do all of the driving these days. Now that I’m older, have my Class 5 license and can drive without supervision and can have more than one passenger, I don’t care so much about driving. Don’t get me wrong, I love to drive, but being in the passenger seat is so much better for my relationship with my mom that I’m willing to chill out and sleep whenever we go anywhere. You’re welcome, mom.
You see, when I was a teen, it was a battle to get my parents to let me drive. An uphill battle that I mostly lost. While other kids my age were allowed to drive through our small town, my mom would drive out of town and then let me drive a whole 40km/h down our old dirt road home. It took me forever to get mom to let me drive on the highway and I never actually drove in the city with her until well after I got my New Driver driver’s license and had driven in the city a whole bunch on my own. My mom was really strict on when I got to drive, where I was allowed to drive and then she was really tense the entire time I was driving as though I was going to deliberately drive us into the ditch at any moment. I only ever driven three times with my dad: The first time was the day I got my Learners permit and he let me drive home…at a whole 30km/h the whole way! He claims I almost took the passenger rear view mirror off when I drove off a cattle guard, but I was driving so slow that hitting the mirrors off of anything would have brought us to a complete stop. The second time was after I’d bought my first car, a silver Saturn-SC1, and I got to drive my car for about 10 minuets before he made me pull over so he could drive and “see what the car could really do”. The third time was on an empty highway where I got stuck driving behind a truck doing 20km under the speed limit and he wouldn’t let me pass it.
I never understood why my parents were so spastastic when it came to me driving, but now looking back on those days I realize why. It was because a) I was fucking stupid, b) I was fucking crazy and c) I was fucking irresponsible. Stupid, crazy and irresponsible are not good combinations for any situation unless you’re in some sort of Olympics for morons. It’s also not reassuring when you let your 17 year old kid drive and she gets into the drivers seat and immediately begins to giggle in glee. I get that now.
But now that I’m older, I’m much more responsible, less stupid and I might be a little more crazy, but being a responsible human being evens the crazy out. I also know how to talk to my mom to help ease her fears about my driving. Like last night! Last night I had a good conversation about my driving with my mom over something she yelled at me last summer (the last time that I drove with her).
“Could you at least pretend like you are pay attention?!”
Yeah, my mom yelled that at me while I was driving home late one night from the movies. She was too tired to drive, but not too tired to yell at me about my driving.
Last night I calmly told my mom about a conversation dad and I had about my driving with mom when he asked me if mom ever lets me drive. He laughed when I told him what she had yelled at me one time and we left the conversation alone after that in favor of us debating whether we wanted Booster Juice or Starbucks. Mom laughed when I reminded her of what she yelled that one time and she laughed again when I said that I look like I’m not paying attention because I have that “sharp, useless look about me”. I assured her that I really am paying attention, it just doesn’t look like it.
Especially when driving with mom because she makes me nervous.
So last night when I drove use home because she said I could, I did what I like to do when I drive. I plugged in my dads iPod nano that I’d loaded with music that I like, turned up the volume on the stereo, rolled down my window a bit because I’m that person who will always have the window down even when it’s the dead of winter and I tried to relax driving home. It worked to some small extent because my mom didn’t yell at me and because I didn’t drive like a complete turd canoe like I usually do when I’m with her.
It’s taken me a few years and a weird amount of maturity to realize why my parents hated my driving as a teen and into my early-twenties, but now that I’m all of 25 years old, I think I can start to build their trust in my driving skills when they’re in the vehicle with me. Or at least my moms, because dad still refuses to drive with me.