Posted by: cassymuronaka | April 14, 2010

Baby you can drive my car

A week before his 20th birthday, my son bungled his first driving test. No, he didn’t flunk it; he never even made it to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Anyone familiar with the average teenage male also is acquainted with their flea-like memory retention for anything that does not involve electronic games or when the next “Iron Man” movie will be released. In this case, my son directed us to the wrong DMV branch where his driving test supposedly was scheduled.

Jake also neglected to bring paperwork proving he had any appointment at all, so my son got to undergo the sort of deep bonding experience with stone-faced Department of Motor Vehicles employees that has provided so much fodder for several generations of nightclub comedians.

After the first fiasco, I expected my son to draft a kind of NASA launch checklist for the second DMV driving test attempt, scheduled for several weeks later.

But no.

Instead, my only child proceeded to give new meaning to the word “airhead.” The old car that his grandmother gave him a few months ago was almost out of gas and had a dirty windshield when we left the house. My son also realized halfway to the Whittier DMV that he had left his driver’s permit and legal identification at home.

We had 20 minutes to go home, get gasoline, and make it back to the DMV.

“Move over, Mommy’s going to drive now,” I said flatly. After flooring the 14-year-old Honda Accord back to Hacienda Heights in record time, I practically pushed my son out the door of the moving car before it came to a halt in the driveway.

The afternoon continued to deteriorate.

At 3:08, I deposited Jake outside the DMV while I raced up the block to slam $5 worth of gasoline in the car. During fueling, I dropped my keys between the driver’s seat and the gearshift divider. After five long, grueling minutes, and with my rear end waving wildly in the air outside the driver’s side of the car, I finally clawed my way down to the neatly-stuck keys.

Not surprisingly, Jake had only just reached the greeting and information window when I rolled in at least a half an hour after his appointment was scheduled. After proving that we owned the vehicle, my son went to get his car and wait for his test, while I leaned against a wall of the crowded building, waiting for one of the uncomfortable plastic DMV chairs to free up, and wondering what had ever possessed me to become a mother.

It was now an hour before closing time. And for most of that hour, I played musical chairs as people vacated the seating and the building. First, I sat next to a young man well on his way to deafness who was playing an iPod so loudly that he might as well be listening to a radio without headphones. Then, I sat next to the toddler with the large wad of gum who kept dragging it out of her mouth and thoughtfully pulling long, thin green strings off of it, which she occasionally deposited on herself or on the floor below the chair. Lastly, I sat behind the mother whose chimpanzee son battled his boredom by climbing on top of the plastic chairs and leaping off of them to the row behind, somehow miraculously not breaking his neck. His mother only interceded to halt these gymnastics when he attempted to return to the front row by trying to ascend her from the back, using her long hair as rope, yanking it firmly as he anchored one foot on the back of her chair to begin his urban mountaineering.

At 4:57, my own son returned to the DMV parking lot with a broad smile, waving a piece of paper which I took to be a temporary driver’s license. As he drove us home, he thanked me profusely for my driver training efforts and apologized for his ditziness and the occasional screaming matches. I nodded in exhaustion and told him he could thank me by buying me a large diet Coke at McDonald’s right now, in lieu of the even bigger jumbo Margarita that I really wanted.

As he drove up to the McDonald’s window, my son blanched slightly and then took a deep breath. It was then that he confessed to me that he not put any money in the wallet he retrieved when we had made our return to trip to our home for his driver’s permit. He was fresh out of cash.



  1. a classic. you summed up the parental experience in 14 paragraphs.

    • Apparently, we are as one on this subject. Clementine has her license already, right? Did she drive on your recent tour?

  2. You are a great parent — mainly, for not having engaged in any criminal activity toward your son

    • Don’t think it didn’t cross my mind.

  3. So, so true. What a hoot. You should get mother of the year for not killing him. HA! He so looks like Dave in this photo.

    • That’s what my mother said!

  4. I don’t think I’m going to be looking forward to this particular part of adolescence…

    • Anticipating it is like waiting for the plague. You know it’s coming. You know you can’t get away from it.

  5. ahh- what we do as parents!! our only hope of salvation is that their children will repay them in spades!!
    LOVE your writing!!

    • Yes, Payback might be a b—- for them, but unruly grandchildren are our only hope for the species.

  6. oh god is this what my blog post will be in a year and a half? My son will be using his duct tape wallet I bet of course with no cash in it as well. Thanks for the laugh I LOVE YOUR BLOG!

    • Hahaha, anticipating it is half the fun. I’m glad the blog post hit a funny bone and not a raw nerve. Thank you so much for the compliment!

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