As I am being driven around the massive high school parking lot by my newly-permitted-to-drive son, I keep an eye on the road with him. I make sure both of his hands are holding on to the wheel. I answer questions and give gentle instruction when he needs it. It’s a nice, quiet slice of quality time that we don’t often get, so I focus on the enjoyment of it and not on the messes that await me when we return home.
After a little while, my eyes shift to the side and I notice another car on the other side of the parking lot, making large circles and figure eights, just as we are.
My son, who is puffed up from being told by his driver’s ed teacher that he is already a “superior” driver, asks me if we can “go freak her out”. I explain to him that he shouldn’t ever, even when he has a license, drive to “freak someone out”, but especially not when he is a beginning driver trying to “freak out” another beginner.
He smiles and says, “Yeah, I guess. But can we drive over there?”
“Sure,” I say, “but no freaking anyone out. Only safe driving.”
We make our way over to the other end and he practices his parking skills as she continues to circle. I notice her father in the passenger seat, looking weary but relaxed, just like me. As his daughter drives carefully by us, her father gives me a nod, and I smile back.
As our young adults continue to brake and accelerate–ever so gently–over every foot of that parking lot, the father and I make eye contact every few times we pass, and I’m wondering if this is funny or awkward.
I decide that it’s funny, and as my son finishes his practice for the day, I smile as we trade seats for the drive home, at the same time noticing another boy driving into the parking lot with his parent member of the Shotgun Club, wearily relaxing beside him.
©2010 Suburban Scrawl