This is your one and only warning. Patrick is in Driver’s Ed. Which only means that he is weeks or perhaps months away from actually piloting a vehicle across the pavement of our fine metroplex.
Is he prepared, you ask? More so now than on Monday when he was nervous about the class. That, I’m sure, will reappear once he has his learner’s permit and will actually be piloting the vehicle.
But for now, it’s a vague concept simultaneously real and surreal, like a young Mick Jagger, or Republican support of gay marriage. Yes, Patrick driving is like an episode of the Twilight Zone, where you expect Rod Serling to step out from behind a street lamp to tell us it’s a world gone mad where teenagers are allowed to drive.
Driving is that next step to being “grown up.” Freedom opens up at your feet when you can drive, because you’re removed from the chains that bind you to needing rides from parents and friends, and relying on public transit. It really is a rite of passage, and I’m excited for him to do it. I’m also scared, but that’s probably natural.
My gut instinct was to think about my grandfather and think about Willie’s reaction to Patrick driving. Clearly, he was excited for Patrick to get to that age, otherwise he wouldn’t have willed the car to Patrick.
Actually, now that I’ve really been thinking about it, he was excited about every one of us learning to drive. Cars were one of the central parts of his life, and he truly appreciated the freedom they afforded them. He’d had one since he was a teenager, and I recall the stories he’d told me about buying his first car for $25 when he was young.
We worked on fixing up my first car, and later in life, we shared stories of problems with our cars. Having that car and having that license, even with the responsibility it brought, was a great thing in his world.
And so it should be for Patrick. I just hope I can properly foster that feeling in him so he knows just how excited I am for him as well.
So don’t stay off the roads. He’ll be a good driver because when he needs to be cautious and attentive, he can be. Just be aware we’re getting one more (hopefully) good drive on the roads. In the meantime, I’ll be over here, taking donations to help pay for his insurance.
See you tomorrow.