Thursday, April 18, 2013

Car Envy

I suppose it is too much to ask teenagers to be grateful for what they have.
I was reminded of this yesterday when Tucker was complaining about the black car. He drives the black car, a 1999 Ford Taurus, to school and back most days. Earl and I, along with Grace, juggle the other car, which mostly works because I work days and Earl works evenings.
Tucker, 17, sees it as a necessity to have a car even though most places he ventures to, like school, are about a mile away. I understand that driving has to do with status rather than need.
Yesterday though, as he started to ask when we were going to replace the black car, complaining about the squeak when he turns the wheels, or the sun roof that doesn't work, and the way it vibrates on the highway (which he rarely goes on), I started to get fed up.
"You know, you just came back from France and New York, so money is a little tight," I told him.
It's true that he helped pay for the France trip, and the trip to New York was required as part of his Singers class, but the family still made financial sacrifices. And this at a time that my second job has dried up due to low enrollment at one of the colleges where I teach.
My feeling was, if he didn't want to drive the black car, then he could walk.
I was complaining to my mom later about how ungrateful Tucker was when I remembered a story about myself at his age.
My parents bought each kid a used car for their 17th birthday. They started the trend with my sister, so continued with each of us. My car was a dark green pinto.
I worked at Kings Island amusement park during my high school summers so I had to take the freeway to get there. As I pulled onto the freeway, getting up speed, the Pinto stalled. I was able to coast to the side and sat in the car wondering what I would do. This was long before the days of cell phones. I was just bracing myself for a walk down the highway and exit ramp, when a car stopped in front of me.
My older brother.
He drove me home and my dad took care of the Pinto. He had work done and swore that the car was road ready.
I refused to drive it again.
"I will not drive that Pinto," I stated indignantly. I was an insufferable teen and my parents, who had lost my sister around the same age, indulged me.
My dad found a blue Mustang II that I drove through the rest of my high school and college years.
So as I complained about Tucker, I recalled that insufferable teenager that I was. I hope I've changed a lot since then and I'm sure Tucker will too.
But he still has to drive the black car.


Lucia said...

It's a good thing you didn't drive the Pinto. Those cars were send to explode if hit from the rear. I drove whatever was available. My first car was a 1968 Newport and then I drove a 1970 Chevy Nova,then a Mazda 626, then a Tornado, a Grand AM and now my Kia Forte. We have an equinox but I loathe that car and only drive it if it has gas and I don't in my Kia lol.

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

I thought this post was really moving....remembering what we must have seemed like to our parents when we were teens can be a real eye opener....I often gently remind my daughter of her teenage days when she is having difficulty understanding the changes in her 13 year old daughter. It is so easy to forget.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Those Pintos were a death-trap, glad you protested or you might not be here to tell this story.

I think teens at that age "test us" to see how we will react....I say this based on experience:)

Linda said...

My oldest son totaled three cars before it was over so there's that.

Just Me said...

Dear Future 3 Car Owner (just kidding), Most parents only pull memories that show they had worse as kid. Three cheers for your insight. Moving post.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi Paulita .. my eldest son (youngest does not drive) had to buy his cars ... right from the start ... so I think Tucker is very lucky :-)

Oh btw , I would love to take you around Oxford if you ever came over :-)

Jackie/Jake said...

We stayed near King's Island a couple of weeks ago on our drive back to Toronto!!
Love the colour of your pinto.

Alyce said...

I remember being that way about some things too, although for some reason not cars. :) I think it's a normal stage of being a teenager.

Ali said...

What a sweet story. I never had my own car as a teen, and we're getting by with one car right now in our family of 3 drivers. Luckily, my teen driver has access to good public transportation (and he's saving up for his own car).

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