Adventures with a stick shift

I think I am going to take about a month to seek the peace and asylum of a monastery. It is because the last remnants of my serenity have been destroyed. I am suffering from uncontrollable body twitches brought about by sheer panic, (with a sprinkling of cowardice). The source of this new stress in my life is the fact that I am about to unleash another teen driver onto the streets and highways of America.

It gets worse. I am teaching her on a stick shift. (standard transmission) Not only has Cleopatra declared the vehicle “stupid” but she has done so in excruciating detail. “*+#@!?%@# stupid pick up! #+@!?*&%$# clutch!  #@%$&*+!?#$ stick! I was dumbfounded at her outrage that would have had sailor blush. I confess that I am not good at preserving my own sanity in a home containing teenagers. And especially teenage girls.

I am not sure what the final arithmetic will be on that noble experiment. It depends on whether I am allowed to count pain and suffering and a couple of suppressed heart attacks. I vowed to myself that when Bathsheba came to driving age, I was going to sign up for a four-year hitch in the Biosphere.

The thought of another teen girl being at the wheel of a 2000 pound mass of moving steel that the finance company has entrusted to my care makes flaming splinters under my toenails seem like a day at the Magic Kingdom. My insurance agent is considering a quiet vacation to a war-torn country or writing full coverage home insurance to residents living on the San Andreas fault line. We are both looking for some sort of spa where we can bathe twice daily in tubs of warm sedatives.

I have been regaled by Cleopatra in painful detail of all the benefits to me by having her behind the wheel of the family car. She tantalized me with the mental pictures of how she could use the car to run little errands that I find so irritating. And she could pick the younger siblings up from things like piano lessons and basketball practice that I have to take time out of reading the newspaper to do. Yeah! Right! Until the first day the windows need to scraped and her fingernails were at risk.

I was wooed with the warm, fuzzy, cozy family images of her giving her younger brother a ride to the place where he needs to be so that I need not get off my rocking chair or lay down my lap quilt. But I knew the wooing and trip to “promise” land was at best temporary. The first time she was to do an errand for me or Brunhilda she would have thought we were asking her to be dragged by wild horses with piano wire tied to her thumbs over a cactus farm.

I am no longer dazzled by the presentation of logistic voodoo. I went down fighting folks, but sadly, I did end up surrendering. Please, hose me down with Valium.

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