My daughter Amelia turned 16 on Sunday. At 8:00 am Monday morning, Chip took her to the DMV. We have a teen driver and thankfully our house on the lake is walking distance to Anyela’s Vineyard. A lovely 2011 Dry Riesling is in my hand now as I write this overlooking the lake; my family continues the driving lessons with Amelia and Izzy and I rest easy.
For the past three days, I have been reduced to the back seat with Jack. He and I sit there silently pretending not to watch while checking our phones for emails and Facebook updates. Every once and a while, I hear Jack let out a ‘wow’ and a snicker. If I dare to speak with a simple, “use your turn-signal”, or ” it’s only a 30 mph zone”, I get a chorus from the front seat, “stop back seat driving!” Really Chip?
For those of you that follow this blog, you know we are an Audi family. We drive a Q5 SUV and an S4 sedan. I am sure the founding fathers of Audi had not expected their German engineering to be tested so heavily by a young Italian driver. I should write them a letter:
To Whom It May Concern,
Thank you for making your Audi automobiles so safe and sturdy yet fun and strong. Your desire to create a driving experience is perfect. Please note, however, that when one of your primary drivers becomes a parent to a new driver and is relegated to the backseat, you may wish to install additional controls, a wet bar, and/or a Plexiglas divider for the early ‘driving experiences’.
A new driver’s Mother
Amelia is perched, bend over the wheel. Gerta is the Q5 and is a great car. Amelia is in good hands, speaking of which, her hands are at 10 and 2; sweaty palms as she turns the wheel to make a bend in these winding country roads; never moving her hands from 10 and 2. I didn’t think it was possible to do that without breaking a limb. Poor Gerta strains wondering why she has not left second gear in the past 20 minutes, why her windshield wipers are going and it is not raining and why she has not felt the breeze of a 55 mph zone all week. I can tell her: Student Driver.
Question I know you are all thinking: Is Amelia driving Fredrick? Hell no. There is no St. Christopher medal large enough for that. Fredrick and I are a kindred spirit. We love the open road, the speed and the handling and the infrequent glance we get as we pass a BMW 535 or random hot rod Mustang. Amelia cannot be that driver, not yet, maybe not ever. (but I bet she would get a few dates if she did)
So my view from the backseat is somewhat scary and somewhat sad. I remember her with a binky in her mouth, a sticker or two on her forehead and Barney playing on the cassette deck. Someday she will be driving me in my old age. I will still be in the back seat and this time, I will have a silver plated flask with a lovely Dry Riesling in it…for the road!