Hugh got his driver’s license yesterday!  Third time’s a charm.

I will spare you the details of the long, tedious wait next to the litter-filled scrubby hillside behind a grocery store, which is where cars line up for the test drive.  The wait is usually an hour, so bring entertainment.

I will also spare you the details of the long, tedious wait inside the building for the photo and documentation.  Let’s just say that I have renewed sympathy for all Kafka characters caught up in nightmarish Russian bureaucracy.

Instead, today’s post features three short stories about driving.

1.  My brother Tom called me in early January from his Colorado cabin.  He reported on his family’s outing to the ski slopes, in which his wife and teenage daughters had gone off on one ski lift, and Tom and his kindegarten son Griffin had gone in another direction.  “We got to the top of the slope and started down, but then Griffin’s boots hurt, so I readjusted them.  We got a little farther down when he realized he was hungry.  Then he had to go to the bathroom and started crying, so I ended up taking his skis off, putting him under one arm, the skis under the other, and skiing us both back down to the lodge.”

My response was “Hey, my son went skiing today too.  His friend drove over early in the morning, Hugh ran out with all his gear, and the two of them headed off for a fun day trip with no pesky parents involved.  You see, you won’t always have to play nursemaid to Griffin!”

There was silence.  Then Tom said in a small voice, “Tell me that story again.”

2.  Before Ian got his license, my friend Helen (mother of 5 boys!) shared her experience.  “When my eldest got his license, I was so nervous about him driving his little brothers around that I wouldn’t let him take them anywhere.  This lasted for a week or so.  After that, I was completely over it.  ”Drive your brother to soccer practice!  Then pick up milk, come home, and take another brother to his lesson!”  So true.  It’s wonderful to have another driver in the family, and very quickly, the convenience trumps the anxiety.

3.  As we walked to the car yesterday, I handed the keys to Hugh and said “I’ll be your co-pilot.”  “No,” he responded “Malcolm is my co-pilot.”  The backstory:  Chris’s brother Ken called me in December to report that he had seen a car on I-95 with a bumper sticker reading “Malcolm Reynolds is my co-pilot.”  Since that is exactly the name of our kid, he did a double-take.  I told Ken that, having seen some inappropriate Facebook fan pages for a Malcolm Reynolds while looking up my own Malcolm’s page, I knew the name belonged to a character in a sci-fi TV show called Firefly – and the car he saw must have belonged to a Firefly fan.  Ken immediately went online and ordered the product for Malcolm’s birthday.  What could be a more perfect gift from an uncle?

And hey, seeing how grubby our auto is at the end of a long and messy winter gives me an idea.  Maybe Hugh can take it to the carwash!

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