The Eighth Page

Driving With Ms. Weiss

I dream about the day that I will step out of the doors of the DMV with my Massachusetts driver’s license in hand. But first I must put in the time. I have another 5 months to go, driving with my permit… with my mother. Mommy: Ok, go very slowly while backing out of the garage…very slowly. Sam: Got it. Mommy: You’re not in reverse. Sam: Sure. That’s what you’d think looking at the shift, but I just do what feels right. (Sam backs out and proceeds down his street. He approaches an intersection.) Mommy: Stop and look before you enter the intersection. Sam: But there isn’t a stop sign! Mommy: You’re still allowed to stop even if there isn’t a stop sign… Sam: You don’t stop for deer if there isn’t a “deer crossing” sign. Mommy: Yes you do. Sam: Touché. (Sam brings the car to a stop and turns onto a busier road.) Sam: What’s the speed limit here? 50 mph? 55? Mommy: It’s 15… it’s a school zone. Just go about 12. Sam: What? You go at least 40 on this road! Mommy: I am an experienced driver. And to be frank, I love this car. Sam: More than me? Mommy: Probably. (Sam continues down the road at a very reasonable 43 mph as a squirrel scurries in front of the car.) Sam: Did I get him? Mommy: Get who? Sam: The squirrel! Did I leave my first piece of road-kill on the road? Mommy: Good Lord, who gave you a permit? Sam: I’m just going to throw this out there: can we have code-names while we drive together? Mommy: Why on Earth would we do that? Sam: When you have a code name, you’re on a mission. And when you’re on a mission, you pay attention. Mommy: Well it is heartening that you realize you need to stay aware behind the wheel… Alright, fine. What’s yours going to be? Sam: Dale Earnhardt… er… Dale Earnhardt Jr. And you’re Bubba. Mommy: No. I will not be referred to as Bubba. (Sam approaches a traffic light. It is green…for now.) Mommy: Slow down… Yellow means “clear the intersection.” Sam: By “clear the intersection,” do you mean “gun it?” Mommy: Give me the keys. Sam: Whatever you say, Bubba.