Sunday, March 26, 2006

And a Great Stereo, Too

Garrett is driving. Much to the chagrin of my Uncle Jack and Aunt Alice, he is actually old enough to possess that plastic card of identity that to him means total, absolute, FREEDOM. To most of us now, that card denotes nothing but "Please-God-don't-let-me-

I remember my first car. It was a hideous, pea-green, Chevrolet Caprice. Actually, they had the audacity to use the word Classic at the end. I am just young enough to not have grown up in a time where you say, "hey, I was just happy to have a car." With my high school group, in the early 80's, what you drove really, really mattered. The Have's drove at best, BMW's and at least, Buick Regals (preferably with faux leather tops); the Have Not's a Caprice or a Gremlin. But, I do remember enjoying the freedom. Driving around (or in most kids' cases, away) anywhere meant possibility, a future in a different spot than you were in now.

I wonder if Garrett feels that way now. Or do kids have so much less from which to run away? I know Garrett's driving experience has one difference that would not have been lost on me. As he dashes off from one event to another, he does not have to endure the snickers that a pea-green car causes...he pulls away in an Audi A8. Way to go, Garrett. (Just be careful with all that horsepower.)

The car isn't freedom when you're my age: it is trips to the grocery store, racing to various sports practices, panicky flights to the pediatrician. It is the feeling that I am pouring gold into the tank during a fill-up, and a constant gnawing sense that I am late somewhere. I want to get in to the car, sixteen years young, and be excited that I am heading off on my own. And in a car that most adults would relish owning.

Enjoy that untethered feeling, Garrett. I'll think of you today, during a trip to the market. I will go by myself, thanks to Eric, and I will roll down the windows and open the sunroof. Maybe I will find some Foreigner on the XM Satellite 80's station. And I will deeply breathe in that feeling of space, of time being my own, and of possibilities.


Walter said...

"Driving away" instead of "driving around?" Brilliant!!

I didn't drive away. I drove TO girls' houses. I was definitley driving TO something. But what a brilliant comment on youth, driving, and independence.

I have lost the joy of driving. I could go on and on about your Mom and Dad. Your Dad especially. He always went on Sunday drives for the sheer pleasure of motoring. Jim Fritsche thought an old three cylinder Saab was a joy. My Saturn still has what it takes. It's my heart that has changed.

Great writing!

Uncle Walter

Anonymous said...

I felt that pure joy of driving last week on my way to see you. For me it was certainly not the car...a Mitzubishi Lancer(ugh!) It was the freedom of no kids in the car yapping away or their music from their Gameboys, plus the added bonus of going to see you and Jake. Was it driving away from something or to something...for me it was both and man was the ride great!