By Mike Pound
Our 14-year-old daughter Emma has started to listen to me.
Normally, Emma listens to the first three words that I have to say to see if any of the words contain the words “shopping,” “One Direction” or “shopping.”
Since I seldom use any of those words, Emma seldom listens to anything I have to say.
“Man, I had a tough day at work,” I might say. “First of all my computer crashed and I lost my feed to the St. Louis Cardinals’ website, then I spilled part of my sandwich and then fell asleep on a stapler on my desk, and I don’t even have a stapler.”
“That’s nice,” Emma will say as she passes through the kitchen reading something on her phone while she walks.
But lately I’ve been talking about driving. Specifically, I have been talking about things that I think Emma will need to know when she starts to drive. When I do, Emma listens.
Tuesday morning, when I was driving Emma to dance team practice, I asked Emma if she knew where the gas pedal was located.
“Uh, on the right?” Emma said.
“Yep. Where is the brake pedal?” I asked.
“On the left?” Emma said.
“Yep,” I said.
Clearly, Emma feels she is ready to take her place next to Danica Patrick.
By the way, it takes Emma almost an hour to get ready for dance team practice. Apparently it’s important to look nice at dance team practice. I was on several teams when I was in high school (although dance team was not one of them) and I don’t ever remember worrying about what I looked like. I basically remember worrying, when I was a freshman, that the seniors would hurt me and perhaps what I might look like after they hurt me, but I never gave much thought to what I looked like before practice.
But I guess I went to high school in a galaxy far, far away.
Many of Emma’s older friends are either currently driving or very close to driving, and Emma is anxious to join them. I am too, sort of. I look forward to Emma being able to drive herself to things like dance practice while at the same time I worry about Emma being able to drive herself to things like dance practice.
It’s your basic double-edged sword is what it is.
I also worry about Emma actually learning to drive. I know she can learn to drive because I was able to learn to drive. I figure if I can do something, anyone can. It’s sort of the reverse of that song from “Annie Get Your Gun.”
But, still, I worry about the whole learning-how-to-drive process. I worry about questions like “How do I turn the car off, again?” or “Do I have to use the brake or can I just put it in park?” or “How can I text if I have to keep both hands on the wheel?”
I can, and will, teach Emma some things about driving, but I’m not sure about teaching her everything she needs to know. That’s why my wife says that Emma will take a driver’s education class. I didn’t know that they offered drivers education anymore, but my wife says they do.
“But, I think we have to pay for it,” my wife said.
“They can have our house if they will teach Emma to drive,” I said.
My wife told me that we wouldn’t have to give the driver’s education people our house.
“But if we need to, make sure they know that we will,” I said.
So, sometime next year — I’m unclear about when exactly — Emma will go to her first driver’s education class and go back to ignoring me.
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