Like you, I’m a spiritual person given to pondering the great unanswerable questions of life. Like this little existential mystery:
Why in Saab’s name are 15-year-olds allowed to operate moving vehicles on public roadways?
I can think of no good reason why a person who still drops food from his mouth with stunning regularity — and alarming nonchalance — should be permitted to propel a half-ton, motorized murder machine through cityscapes occupied by innocent and unsuspecting humans.
It ain’t right.
So it’s only natural that I lurch into a sudden brace-for-impact stance when my son is driving and we are careening down a freeway off-ramp at rush hour into a snarl of ghastly gridlock.
“Mom, really? Can you not do this?” the giant child says, dramatically mimicking my dashboard death grip.
“Very well,” I say, calmly. “But what you didn’t see is that I stopped myself from screaming, ‘PLEASE, GOD, DON’T LET ME DIE IN AN UNDERPASS!’ So … that’s something.”
I fear for his safety, sure. And that of his fellow motorists. But it’s more than that. It’s bigger. From the first time he operated a wheeled vehicle — the Elmo lawn mower that helped him take his first steps, his fudgy feet flap-slap-flapping the ground as he pushed that thing from couch to kitchen and back again (boy, I hope he doesn’t read this) — I’ve been scared by what it signifies.