A Day in the Life of a Teenager’s Dad
I have a seventeen-year-old daughter. She is a darling young lady and I love her to death, but I swear she’s going to kill me. I don’t think she’s planning to or anything like that. I think it’s just a consequence of her being seventeen and me being nuts.
Yesterday, for example, she wanted to get a Christmas tree after school. Since I drive a Miata (which is completely unsuited for carrying a tree or anything else larger than, well, me and a none-to-large passenger), we took the car she normally drives to school, a small station wagon. I bought it well used not long ago to replace the station wagon she drove previously, a picture of which is shown above. It provides some indication of why a replacement was required. (The roads were wet and the truck in front of her stopped suddenly. The resulting impact caused no damage to either her or the truck, but the poor car was left with the towing company as compensation for removing it from the road. I’m assuming they gave it a good burial.)
But, back to the current story. She wanted to drive. Okay. She drives to school every day. She can do this. No need to be concerned. She just wants to show off her driving skills to her dear old dad. Unfortunately, well, let’s just say that dad may be a tad stodgier a driver than his darling daughter. She pulled out of our neighborhood with too little room between her and the car approaching on the main road, especially if you’re driving a station wagon that accelerates like an overloaded dung cart pulled by an asthmatic goat. I’m not sure I would have tried it even in my Miata, and that accelerates like a rabbit surprised by a drooling fox.
The approaching car swerved around us (thanks for not honking) and everything was fine except for my heart and, regrettably, my language. This may have made her nervous, but I was nervous by then and had an overwhelming need to share.
All the way to the store, I was giving driving advice, to which she replied with increasingly exasperated claims of, “I know, Dad.”
Yes, I’m sure she did. She drives every day. Of course she knows all about lanes and signals and whatnot.
We arrived unscathed at the store where a tent filled with freshly cut trees stood outside in the parking lot. She parked, a bit crooked but, as she told me, between the lines. We selected a tree, which I tied securely to the top of the car. She got in the driver’s seat and I held my breath until she pulled forward — into a chain.
More explicit language ensued, which proved unnecessary since she noted her error immediately and put the car in reverse.
The drive home proved uneventful. She’s fine. The car remains undamaged. I may have a few more gray hairs, and the tree will end up being mulch in a few weeks, but it was doomed anyway.
Now, as a dad, I worry whenever she is not home. It’s part of the job, I suppose. And I can’t say this experience does not make me even more concerned. I won’t restrict her mobility, though. She has to learn, but next time we go anywhere, I’m driving.