Pimpin’ His Dream Ride
Over the last year I’ve really had to force Jack to learn to drive. At his age, I was absolutely chomping at the bit, tugging my way toward independence and freedom. Not Jack.
“Driving makes me nervous,” he’d say. I’d tell him that he’d become less nervous as he got used to it.
“Please, Mom, can’t you drive this time?” he’d plead. I’d tell him, no, that he really needed the practice.
“You just want me to drive you around,” he’d complain. Yes, I’d tell him, it was part of the whole slave idea that so excited me when I decided to have children.
His tune has started to change over the summer. His cousin, Andrew, who is just four months older than he is, turned 16 in May and suddenly grew wings. Andrew happily carted Jack around all summer. I was able to send them to the grocery store and to the dry cleaners. They went to movies without their moms having to take them. They got together for marathon games of pool, Risk, and Halo. They still played World of Warcraft from home and chatted with each other online.
“Mom, what kind of car am I going to get?” Jack started to ask.
He has to have a car of his own. After what he did to the Jag (not to mention the garage) in March, driving it on a regular basis is simply out of the question. Besides, I need transportation while his vehicle is parked in the school parking lot. No, I will not be driving him to school after September 18, 2007. I am particularly looking forward to retiring from that occupation.
Jack seems very worried that I’m going to put him in some jalopy held together with duct tape and baling wire. He was annoyed when I told him that power windows and locks aren’t exactly standard equipment on the type of cars we’ll be looking at for him. I told him that the key fob that automatically unlocks the doors and opens the trunk won’t be an accessory, either. He sighed.
He was driving down the street in my Jaguar the other day when he grabbed a disk and put it in the CD player in the dash.
“You know, son.” I offered hesitantly, “the car you get probably isn’t going to have a CD player.”
He slapped the steering wheel in anger. “Jeez, Mom!” he cried. What kind of piece of crap are you going to make me drive, anyway?”
“Um, you know, you can replace a car stereo for a couple of hundred dollars, maybe even less,” I informed him.
“Where am I going to get that kind of money?” he demanded.
I thought to myself of the money he has stashed in his savings account because he squirrels away every penny he gets. I also thought of the doting grandparents whose only grandchild he is, who get him everything he’s ever asked for, even over my objections. And there’s his uncle, who showers him with gifts because the uncle has no progeny of his own. There’s an aunt and uncle on my side, as well as a grandmother who won’t say no to him. Hmmm. Just where will he come up with the money, or with the car stereo and CD player?
“I’m sure it will work out,” I told him confidently.
“Sure,” he said glumly.
Things were going along better, then when I got home from British Columbia last week Jack approached me with his laptop in his hand, a page from eBay displayed. “Mom, I found the vehicle I want!” His almost-sixteen-year-old face was open and hopeful.
I looked. It was a beautifully restored 1971 VW Microbus. My hippie aunt and uncle got one just like it in light blue as a wedding gift that year. Jack’s dream machine has shiny burnt orange paint, brand new chrome everywhere, new gaskets around the door handles, new mirrors, new window seals, a new antenna (for that kickin’ stereo he wants), new lens covers on the turn lights and taillights and reflectors, new kick panels inside the vehicle, brand new bright white upholstery (complete with seat belts, which I don’t think were included in the original 1971 model), new floor mats and carpet, new hubcaps, “jailbars” in the rear window, new door seals, new chrome bezels for the headlights…
Now, the stereo doesn’t work, but that, of course, is a minor annoyance since I have it on good authority (this just in) that his dad would have satellite radio installed. All that remains would be for the regular car stereo to be obtained.
I wonder what Jack will do when he realizes that this gem of a vehicle doesn’t have power steering? That it lacks power brakes? That he’ll have to learn to shift gears and work a clutch? Or that both Dad and I have nixed the “PARTYVAN” and “SHGNWGN”vanity plates?
Should I just find a nice, gently used Taurus like I had originally planned?
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