Yesterday, drove the old Volvo down to Brother Dan’s, left it parked outside his place, and gave him the keys. Hard to believe I have had that car since 2001; I got it for 800 bucks, and I think it a pretty amazing car. It’s got 170000 miles on it, but you turn the key and it starts. I suspect, with minimal maintenance, it will go another 50000 at least. Not that it doesn’t have flaws; it’s an ’86 sedan. The paint is flaking off; the fabric on the ceiling is almost gone because at one time somebody left the sun roof open during a rain. The leather seats are split; one of the windows doesn’t go up and down anymore; the radio antenna got broken off, and when you lift up the trunk it won’t stay up, so I put a golf club back there to hold it up. Also it smells pretty bad.
But I drove it down to Brother Dan to see if maybe Nephew Dylan would be interested in registering it and getting a license and learning how to drive. It’s hard to know what interests Nephew Dylan these days or as was once said “floats his boat.” He’s 16. Carol and I have met a number of people who say the most awful things about their 16 year olds, male and female. Things like, I can’t stand to be in the same room with him. Or, she has made my life into a living hell.
I was buying a tomato at the farmer’s marker and the young tomato girl launched into a rant about 16 year olds being the worst because they think they know everything and it’s impossible to talk to them. She looked about 18, so I guess she knows whereof she speaks. And she has a younger sister who is 16.
What happened to sweet 16:
Sixteen candles make a lovely light
But not half as bright
As your eyes tonight
That’s a song I heard when I was about 16. Let’s see, that would have been 1961 or so, and come to think of it I had a pretty hard year. I almost got kicked out of English because of the stuff I wrote about the teacher in my book reports. Also the coach almost kicked me off the basketball team because he said my attitude was lousy, though I didn’t know what he was talking about, and years later Joan said they had thought of sending me to see somebody because I refused to talk the whole year. Honestly, I don’t remember not talking.
At sixteen, the damn adulthood thing starts looming over your head; the idea that you can stay kid forever seems increasingly remote. Of course, at 16 you don’t know that this is bumming you out completely….
And getting that first car is one of the symbols of the adult world that awaits…like the jaws of a bear trap.