Kids grow up with a general idea of who their parents are…very seldom do they stop to wonder who their parents have been. One of the things that helps our relationship with J and TGG is that, for better or worse, we’ve been candid about the fact that we once were exactly like them: kids, goofy kids, messy kids, screwy kids, weird kids… At the age we all are now it is easier to laugh at the things we’ve done and they’ve done that we reveal in conversation. Today was such a day.
TGG will be 21 in fourteen days. Childhood, it seems he believes, is over and done with; the rites of passage that he’s been looking forward to over time are basically complete. His statement, as we drove out to look at the car he IS buying, was “in two weeks no one will say I can’t get married, buy a car, buy a gun, buy liquor, buy porn, go to war…is there anything left to look forward to after that?” I told him “sure, the AARP card when you’re 50.” Insert expletive here.
I then went off on the tangent in which I explained that the things he will look forward to are the things he determines for himself. By the time we got to the car dealership, his mood was lighter.
Of course, J was in the back seat and puzzled as to our destination. We don’t often go “to buy a car” around these parts. He behaved beautifully, though, and was tremendously polite and friendly with the salespeople.
And here is the slice of the day that has us tickled pink still:
TGG is paying for his car in cash. He’s been saving and he can pay for the whole can in its totality with actual money and we won’t owe one red cent once we go to pick it up. Yep. That’s our kid. Starting out adulthood without a huge debt to his name, and a nice used car to boot.
The salesman, of course, said “why don’t you finance it? You can drive it home TODAY!!!” TGG, in his newfound (and hard-fought) maturity, resisted the temptation and said he doesn’t want to commit to a monthly payment for now. And that’s when I chimed in…
I’ve mentioned before, I believe, that I don’t drive. I know HOW. I CAN do it. I just don’t like it and, quite frankly, I don’t think I have the temperament for it. If the need should arise (and this is what I explain to everyone) I will be behind the wheel of a vehicle faster than you can say “OH CRAP!” if any member of my family needs immediate medical assistance OR if the zombies are closing in on us and we need to get out pronto. I just don’t drive recreationally; I don’t like the notion of “going to the mall” or “going to get my hair done.” When my husband and I hop in the car together to go grocery shopping, it’s a date…we savor it, we relish it…
So I told the salesman: “what TGG is not telling you is that if he drives THAT car home today, I will have to drive the van. You don’t want to see that. Trust me.” J remained silent. We all smiled and laughed.
Ten minutes later, TGG’s new car got brought round so J could sit in it; we want him to be familiar with the new vehicle, to connect it to TGG. I stayed outside, standing next to the salespeople, while TGG sat behind the wheel and J took the passenger seat. They closed the doors. TGG started the engine.
Because the windows were rolled up, we couldn’t hear anything they were saying, but J’s hands were motioning towards TGG and the key, and then towards the family van. He looked pretty horrified as he moved his hands from one side to the other. The salesman leaned in and asked me “does he not like the vehicle?” Yes, I told him, he DOES like it, but he’s under the impression that I will be driving the van and he’s not particularly comfortable with this notion.
TGG killed the engine, opened the doors, let J out and they moved to the back seat. Same thing. Hands moving, J looking around and pointing towards the van.
The salesmen looked at each other, and I moved towards the door. I knew, see, that the question would be bounced again, this time towards TGG. They wouldn’t want to lose a sale on account of a kid with two hats who seemed unhappy with the car.
I was almost inside when TGG approached and I heard, quite distinctly, “does your brother not like the car?” TGG laughed. “Yes, he really does like the car, but -truth be told- he wouldn’t want my mom driving because that would mean we’re going to the hospital. J doesn’t like the idea of going to the hospital.”
My kids know me. J calmed down once we sat in the office again and I said “TGG and Dada will come get the car soon.”
Hands were shaken, deal was hammered out and we moved towards the van. A little sign that reads SOLD was put on the dashboard of the lovely used car that TGG will soon be driving. The salesman called out “so you DON’T like to drive? You don’t want your own car?” Nope, I said; I know how to do it, but it’s not a form of entertainment for me. Huh, he said…that’s unusual! “Let’s just say if you see this face behind a steering wheel, clear the way, sir…I’ll be in one hell of a hurry…”
“I know how you can get her to drive!,” TGG said as he ducked into the driver’s side. “Get her a Panzer tank and tell her there’s a really well-stocked dirt-cheap clearance rack of clothes J will want to wear.” I said “yeah, that would probably do it!”
And J chimed Nononononononono…
Yeah…my kids know me…all too well…and THAT is pretty funny.