Rivers & Roads – NEW DRIVER ALERT
Updated: Oct 20
I reached out to my boy, Eric, as I was contemplating writing about Luke and driving. “Was he really as bad a driver as I remember?” I asked him. “Most definitely,” was the response. “The worst.” lol It was true. Some people, like Eric and my good friend, Sue, were born to be behind the wheel. Doesn’t matter the weather or the traffic or the vehicle, good drivers confidently navigate the roads with ease and love every minute. Luke was not that guy.
Luke was looking forward to the freedom that comes from having your license. I don’t think he was prepared for the steps and practice that needed to be completed to achieve this goal. First up was the permit. I told Luke to study, made sure he had a hard copy and a digital version to review, and he must have looked at it at least a time or two because he passed. Barely. lol. Like by just one point passed. I remember him walking out, practically in a cold sweat because he was worried he wasn’t going to get his permit. Oh, Lukester.
Luke went through driving school at CMSC in West Boylston. He hated having to go in every day and attempt to pay attention, but he managed to make it through. The driving lessons were a bit more complicated. I don’t know how it works where you live, but the teens were expected to put in so many hours as the driver, as well as so many hours observing others drive. Sigh. Apparently Luke slept through a good portion of that time, and twice he told the instructor he had appointments so he needed to be dropped back at the high school early. Crafty bugger! I was Luke’s co-pilot most of the time and managed to keep him between the lines. lol But in classic Luke fashion, he took from each driving session only what he thought he needed and when the time came to take his test, he was incredibly anxious. Luke was surprised to learn passing on the inside was frowned upon during a driving exam and the resulting *Fail* totally pissed him off. Take two got him his license, but I wish you could have seen his face when, at the start of his test, he climbed in the driver’s side, buckled up, and hit the gas without putting the car in drive. lol We all heard the roar of the engine and when he looked my way, “For fuck’s sake!!” was written all over his face.
But he was off! Driving to Dunkins, driving to work, driving to school. I am certain he and the Altima had some adventures together, lol, but some things a momma just doesn’t need to know. I do know the snow gave him a hard time, as well as highway driving, and he tweeted about almost biting the dust coming back from Solomon Pond Mall once. Of course, it was the lady driver’s fault. lol Sassawanna Road in Rutland is where Luke and a tree had a run-in. I only found out because he tweeted about the incident, and I was *stalking* his Twitter, as the kids like to say. Of course, I was a naïve mom and asked him about it. Sigh. Classic parenting gaff. Never ask about something you read on social media when you are not supposed to be on there!!!. So he told me his version of what had happened. Sort of. And promptly blocked me on Twitter. HA! I earned that one.
So here’s what I need you to know: I worried every time Luke went out in the car. Heaven forbid a siren go off when he was out driving. I immediately would go into panic mode and text him. But the truth is, kids need to get their license. It is an important step up in responsibility and one of the first things kids can do on their own, separate from mom and dad. I think that is what is so scary. We aren’t with them, can’t be with them, and have to trust and have faith that they will be okay. It is a BIG deal and excruciatingly difficult to watch as they get in their car and head out into the world. It’s not exactly the same as pushing them out of the nest and hoping they will fly, but it’s close. Prayers to all you parents of future drivers. You’re going to need them.
By Patty Inwood