Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Chip Off the Old Block

I am currently experiencing a rite of passage of every parent. I’m teaching my son to drive. Before we even started I warned him I’d be yelling a lot. My father had. How can a person who’s terrified for their very life help it?

He told me his Driver’s Ed teacher told him that wasn’t the best way to learn. I’m not sure I agree. If you can deal with the stress of a terrified parent, you can handle almost any surprise situation.

A month ago we were at a party in the country. Everyone there grew up in the city and learned how to drive in the parking lot of the Muny Opera. That’s were my dad taught me. My son, Dylan, decided a long time ago his heart was in the city, not the county. He determined that it was important to learn in the Muny parking lot.

Dylan has already picked up the St. Louis habit of rolling through stop signs. The stress is compounded when he rolls through a right on red and there are cameras at the intersection. I really hate those things. At least you can try to reason with a cop!

Dylan and I have a lot in common. Justice and being fair are very important to him. He hasn’t realized that life really isn’t fair yet. He’s not cynical at all. I hope that lasts a while.

By the time I was his age I was hitch hiking around the country, doing drugs, and having sex. I had been taking care of myself for years already. I can’t imagine any of this with him. Sometimes I think my kids have been too sheltered but I know they’re going to make it through school. I hope that makes life a little easier for them.

Dylan generally has very good taste in music but when he wants to be rebellious he’ll tell me how much he loves the band Journey. He really knows how to push my buttons.

It reminds me of the last time my mom tried to give me a haircut. It was the summer between 8th grade and high school. At some point she yelled, “Son of a bitch,” at me. “Yep,” I replied. It stopped the conversation cold.

Last week my girl friend Valerie and I took my kids to Soulard for Oktoberfest. Why there’s a German festival in the French section of St. Louis I’ll never know. Any excuse for a party I suppose. When we saw the beers were $13.00 we went to our favorite haunt The Shanti.

We went in through the beer garden where we ran into our friend David Classé. I introduce my kids to him. He took one look at Dylan’s long hair and said, “He’s a chip off the old block.”

Pic of Dylan is his school 2009 photo. The pic of my brother Patrick and me was taken by Matt O’Shea in the mid 70s some time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pat always told me your mom taught him to drive by getting in the car and driving off in rush hour traffic. i didn't even get my first license till after i got out of the navy at 24, i had a car before that, but never had glasses or the car wouldn't pass inspection at the same time.i just learned to use a stick 4 years ago, now i have an automatic's funny, i can't really remember the transition from you not driving to you driving, but i remember we used to get you to take us to electric palace and everywhere... Geo