The Piston Cup Race to Work

“Okay, 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.”

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 won’t lie. The shiny silver vehicle really could use better cup holders. I don’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 digress…)

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 – get off my lawn!)

“I bought a car.” (This is not the first time she’s done this.) “I decided I needed something shiny for my 50th birthday,” she explained.

Way to go, Mom! I’d look seriously stylin’ as a new college grad tooling around my old stomping grounds searching for an entry-level job.

“You’re never driving it.”

Instead I puttered around in the Firemobile after any flight home for a visit. (Be glad I’m alive to tell these stories peeps!)

Look – I’m not a big driving fan. And yes, I failed my test the first go-round. (I’m going to plead extenuating circumstances here – it was pouring that day. And as a Californian, I am unaccustomed to rain.) So yes, I’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 can’t deny this mom. I’ve got witnesses.) Papa is a terrible driver; I’m just gonna put that out there. He learned how to drive in Italy – 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 Pixar’s Cars plays in our house these days. “Look Mommee! Twucks!”) of Lightening McQueen:

Turn right to go left! Guess what? I tried it, and you know what? This crazy thing happened – I went right!”

This week, in the ongoing adventures of retirement, my mom is up leading the charge of Stream Summer Vacation 2012. (It’s a whole week long! Wasn’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 mother’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, “I’m a precision instrument of speed and aerodynamics.”


Filed under Family Stories

8 Responses to The Piston Cup Race to Work

  1. Gramma J

    grandpa Stavo learned to drive in France , so im very sophisticated, with an international drive license, and only after 15 years i realized i need to renew every year; o well playing [ me no speak the inglish] once in a while it pay its dividends ciao tutti gpa Stavo

  2. Joanne Hamann

    Oh gpa Stavo, you crack me up! Well, Tricia, how was it driving the BMW? She’s never let me drive it either… And, for the record, I HAVE read the newspaper in the back seat of the car in front of me while Janet was driving…

  3. I WAS feeling PRETTY GOOD about my 2011 Honda Pilot (because before that it was a 1999 Dodge Intrepid lol) and NOW… I’m just… *JEALOUS*


  4. In high school, I hit a gas pump. That’s up there with a fence.

  5. I have never hit anything… but I have also never driven anything that hitting foreign objects would significantly disfigure! 😀 The current junker is a 12-year-old Mitsubishi Mirage, which sounds like it ought to be fancy and is totally, totally not. But it gets great gas mileage so I can’t complain.

    The people who gave me rides to church in my college days had a Porsche. Such luxury. I was almost afraid to ride in it, never mind drive it!

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