â€œOkay, here we go.
Focus. Speed. I am speed. One winner, forty-two losers. I eat losers for breakfast.
Breakfast? Maybe I should have had breakfast? Brekkie could be good for me.
No, no, no, focus. Speed. Faster than fast, quicker than quick.
I am Lightning.â€
I adjusted the seats. I adjusted the mirrors. I turned the ignition. The BMW 5-series roared to life. THIS was the ultimate driving machine (or, you know, not a MomMobile). For the next five miles, the 225 horsepower whirring away at 5,900 rpm were mine. I was the cool kid commuting today.
(I wonâ€™t lie. The shiny silver vehicle really could use better cup holders. I donâ€™t care how swanky the car is. If I spill my coffee, I will be less than gruntled. Dear car manufacturers, you need to have a place to put coffee! But I digressâ€¦)
Ten years ago my mother called me.
I scrambled around my tiny apartment looking for the cordless phone. (This is the thing that came before the mobile phone. I also own a record player that plays 45s AND cassette tapes. Damn skippy, whippersnappers. And also â€“ get off my lawn!)
â€œI bought a car.â€ (This is not the first time sheâ€™s done this.) â€œI decided I needed something shiny for my 50th birthday,â€ she explained.
Way to go, Mom! Iâ€™d look seriously stylinâ€™ as a new college grad tooling around my old stomping grounds searching for an entry-level job.
â€œYouâ€™re never driving it.â€
Instead I puttered around in the Firemobile after any flight home for a visit. (Be glad Iâ€™m alive to tell these stories peeps!)
Look â€“ Iâ€™m not a big driving fan. And yes, I failed my test the first go-round. (Iâ€™m going to plead extenuating circumstances here â€“ it was pouring that day. And as a Californian, I am unaccustomed to rain.) So yes, Iâ€™m an LA driver. But I grew up in (wait for it) LA!
Also. GrammaJ drives firmly placed in the backseat of whomever is in front of her. (You canâ€™t deny this mom. Iâ€™ve got witnesses.) Papa is a terrible driver; Iâ€™m just gonna put that out there. He learned how to drive in Italy â€“ so basically bumper cars.
LA drivers. KILL MODE!
Granted, I am totally directionally challenged and the summer before I left for college I drove into a fence. In the immortal words (or at least the three times a day Pixarâ€™s Cars plays in our house these days. â€œLook Mommee! Twucks!â€) of Lightening McQueen:
â€œTurn right to go left! Guess what? I tried it, and you know what? This crazy thing happened – I went right!â€
This week, in the ongoing adventures of retirement, my mom is up leading the charge of Stream Summer Vacation 2012. (Itâ€™s a whole week long! Wasnâ€™t it three interminable months when I was a wee one?) I have to work. We traded cars.
It only took a decade. But I am now trustworthy enough to drive my motherâ€™s car.
Oh fine. This rare turn of events had nothing to do with my driving abilities. It had to do with the two car seats securely ensconced in the rear row of the MomMobile. Grandparenthood really does do things to the frontal lobe.
But today as I speed down the straightaway of the local expressway, â€œI’m a precision instrument of speed and aerodynamics.â€