On the Road with Gabe – Day Two
— Reading time: 3 minutes
It doesn’t take me long to forget that Gabe is on Day Two of driving. After less than a mile, I pull my phone out and start checking scores. I’m always curious to see if Albert Pujols is breaking out of his slump and starting to hit again. I’m an Angels fan now, which drives me wife crazy.
As I’m about to announce that Pujols is 1-for-3 with a two-run homer, Gabe pulls up at a stoplight and announces this: “I’m starting to understand why they require you to drive six months before you get a license.” Uh-oh. Clearly, I missed whatever spurred this announcement.
I think: Oh my Dog, that’s right, this is Day Two. I gotta pay attention. But I say, “You’re doing great, you won’t need six months. Let’s go get your license right now.”
Gabe, of course, stopped taking me seriously when he turned three. He ignores me without a glance or skipping a beat. He starts to ask a question as the light turns green. I stop him mid-sentence.
“Get through the intersection first,” I say. “No questions till you get across Lindbergh. It’s a boulevard. Boulevards should strike fear into your heart.” (He didn’t hear that last part above the honking from the guy behind us.)
That’s when I decide we’re going to come up with rules of the road for Gabe’s driving instruction. Each day, one new rule, I tell him.
He wants to know if today’s rule is this lame bit about no questions while you’re going through an intersection. Of course not, I tell him, that would be lame. Also, I get to retroactively make yesterday’s rule.
“So yesterday’s rule, the single most important rule: Hit no pedestrians. If it comes down to hitting a pedestrian or crushing my car, smash my car. I’m not a car guy anyway, I’ll only be pissed for about twenty minutes. Half-hour tops. After you move out of the house, it’ll be a funny story.”
After the intersection, I forget he was asking a question. He forgets to ask it. The rest of the day’s lesson is uneventful. Or I stopped paying attention. As we get home, he muses aloud that he’s getting turns down pretty well. I have absolutely no idea, so I say, “Back out of the driveway, we’ll see if you have turns down in reverse.”
He looks at me. Puts the car in park. Says, “Mom’s calling.”
“Calling you or calling me?” I say, knowing the answer is neither. He smiles, knowing he’s caught, and gets out of the car. This is the best we’ve gotten along in six years. I decide I’m going to take the instruction very slowly. There’s a lot more at work here than learning to drive.