Monday, September 7, 2009

driving miss daisy

My son's sixteenth birthday will occur this November. Nevertheless, in the state of Kansas, one can get a learner's permit at the age of 15 that allows a youthful driver to drive to and from work or school. It is not a particularly smart law to allow 15 -year- olds on the highway, but the legislature has given its approval because Kansas is still a primarily rural state and a little extra help around the farm is always needed. Moreover, busy parents don't always have the time to drive their kids from the family farm to a school miles away. Finally, here in Kansas, we simply don't have the traffic congestion that one finds in Chicago, L.A., or New York City.

As I say, it is not a particularly smart law and needs to be changed. So with more towns, cars, and people, there are more accidents involving youthful drivers. In recognition of this, Kansas is raising the minimum age for a driver to sixteen. It is still too young, mind you if safety is the question, then the minimum driving age for girls should be twenty-five and for boys thirty.

The terms "work and school" to which a youth can drive to and from, are left rather inexact in their definition. Left up to the fifteen-year-old, these two words work and school encompass the known universe. For instance, driving to a football or soccer game at school is driving to school. And by extension, passing by your school to visit friend from school, and then mentioning school becomes okay. The same with work, stopping off on the way home from work or going to work is really just going to and coming from work.

This morning my son had a soccer game at another school ten miles from home. Naturally, he wanted to drive by himself. Armed with the law of the land, he argued that he should be entitled to drive. He would be safe and buckle up. He would keep his speed down. He would not allow any other kids in the car. But parents must be parents and regardless of the law and the plaintiff appeals of a fifteen-year-old, parents must err on the side of caution and wisdom. The car after all, is over ten years old and a clunker that looks better in a demolition derby than on the highway.

And so, like the character who drives Miss Daisy in the movie, I drove my son to his soccer game. And like the driver, I took the verbal abuse. I listened to how life isn't fair. I heard many things that are unrepeatable, but like the driver, I was doing my job.

1 comment:

debbie said...

I laughed when I read your blog this morning. I am not sure if I laughed because it brought back memories of my own kids telling me that "I was not being fair," or just a thought that your mother is finally getting revenge for what you put her through.