From T-ball field to the driver's seat. Kids grow up so fast.
I reached a milestone of sorts last week when my oldest son received his driver's license. Just eight days into this previously untraveled terrain, it hasn't taken long to realize our lives have changed forever.
Gone are the days of Benjamin asking dad for a ride. Now he asks for my keys and money for Taco Bell.
All this started innocently enough when Benjamin got his learner's permit about seven months ago. Looking back, it seemed so cute at the time.
Those first few trips on the road with him, when driving was so unfamiliar, were the real adventure. I must admit steering was never really an issue for Benjamin. It was braking -- or rather his failure to understand braking should be done gradually way before you reach a red light.
He would approach the intersection at normal driving speeds, wait till the absolute last second possible, then slam on the brakes with such force I expected the airbags to deploy.
Fortunately, there was steady progress along the way and Benjamin had the luxury of months and months of practice before it finally came time to take his official driver's test. He passed on the first try and decided to go with the tough-guy scowl for the photo on his license.
In case you're wondering, kids think of smiles as a trendy concept from the 1990s. The hip thing today is to look extremely grave when posing for a picture, sort of like you just had a kidney removed.
With his license in wallet, I guess you could say Benjamin believes he has inherited my car. That would be fine, but I'm still alive and need to use it too. That didn't stop him from driving it for most of last weekend and making it into a teen mobile.
When I climbed inside Monday morning, it looked like a fast-food restaurant had exploded. I expected someone to pull up next to me and try to order fries. A strange onion odor was still present as if someone had just eaten a Krystal burger in the backseat and burped.
I soon discovered many of my car settings had been hijacked. My stereo volume was on 95, my seat was reclined back awkwardly (I'm sure to provide a more chill appearance while driving down the road), and any personal item belonging to me had been banished to the trunk.
It was an odd feeling to be hit with the realization that I'm now the embarrassing geezer my dad always was.
Using my Spidey senses and gazing into the future, I see battles materializing over the use of my beloved car. As driving becomes more of a normal routine for Benjamin, the car requests are only going to increase, not diminish.
That's why I think the wise thing to do is to bring a new car into the Clark carport. And I believe this new car should come to daddy.
I may be a bit of a geezer, but I'm thinking I might still look OK sitting behind the wheel of a new Ford Mustang.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.