PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Friday, February 18, 2005

Learning to Drive.....Part I.

I figure since I lambast so many other people's driving skills, I should tell some stories on myself, and that means the starting point is usually a good place to start.

First off, my mother wouldn't let me take driver's ed. I know, I KNOW. My memory's a bit fuzzy on what the Iowa laws were back then, but I'm pretty sure you could get a learner's permit at 14. Because of all the tractors and whatnot. You know, farming communities. There were all sorts of restrictions on what and where you can drive, obviously, but I think most of my classmates took driver's ed in 10th grade. I was a year younger than my classmates, so despite the GRAVE insult of having to take driver's ed with those idiots in the class behind me, I began lobbying my junior year to take the class.
Mother: "No. Our insurance will go up."
Me: Excessive amounts of pleading.
Mother: "NO."
And around and around we went. You remember how it was when you were 15. The world is your oyster and give me the Tabasco, bitch.

The Spring of '84 brought us the Grandest Fight Ever over Driver's Ed. We had a foreign exchange student, Maria, living with us, and she and my mother were sitting at the kitchen table. I was preparing dinner and had launched into yet another full-scale attack on the impenetrable walls of my mother's decision.

Mother: "NO, Jennifer. You're not taking driver's ed. That's final." She and Maria went back to whatever the fuck they were doing, obviously not realizing what was coming next.

Now, let me give you a quick snapshot to set the stage. I started doing all of the baking for our family when I was in junior high. By 9th grade, I was preparing dinner every night. On the weekends, I had a large list of chores, and basically cleaning the entire house to the inspection of both parents was the first business of the day on Saturdays. I did not have a job outside of the home, but I sure had a buttload of jobs in the home. I also trace my dislike of housework to those formative years, when I could have spent more time perfecting my Sheena Easton and Cyndi Lauper renditions with my curling iron microphone, instead of serving as free labor to my parents. I digress, but it's relevant.

Where were we? Oh yes, on an emphatic NO from my mother. I was making spaghetti sauce, as I recall, because I started waving the spoon while I LOST MY MIND.


And she & Maria collapsed into laughter. Which only made me start to cry as I repeated my argument. My mother was doing that gasping thing, holding her stomach, as she said to Maria, "Oh yes, that's me, just driving around and around in front of the house! Poor Jennifer, stuck in here COOKING!"

Ohhhhhhh. I can still remember the white-hot anger I felt. The absolute frustration and powerlessness, magnified by the fact they were LAUGHING at me.

I wouldn't be 15 again for all the money in the world.

I think my dad came in eventually and stopped all the screaming and crying.
And the bitch still wouldn't let me take Driver's Ed. A decision she - and my father - would mightily regret later. Because teaching your own child to drive? Now that's where the screaming really starts.

This, my friends, is what we call foreshadowing.
posted by PlazaJen, 8:30 AM