That Thing

Younger identifies three categories of vehicles — cars, trucks, and vans. I have encouraged him to add a few categories, but he is happy with his three.

“Younger,” I have muttered with exasperation. “One day, you will witness a crime, and you will tell the cops that the criminal jumped into a white van, and meanwhile, he’s escaping detection in a white Chevy Blazer.”

But he says the odds of him witnessing a crime are low, so he sticks with his categories.

The other day, we were circling the school’s parking lot at halftime of the football game, watching for fans leaving early, when the lights of a van flashed in the darkness. Circling around one block of cars, we came back to search for the empty space.

“Is that where the van was parked?” I asked Younger, frowning.

“Yeah,” he assured me.

“Huh,” I mumbled. “I thought it was farther down the row.”

“Huh-uh, it was parked right by that thing.”

In the process of pulling into the empty space, I touched my brakes to glance at Younger then follow his pointing finger.

I blinked. Twice.  Unlocked my jaw.

Then finished angling into the spot.

“Younger,” I said quietly, killing the engine with a twist of the key. “I think you may be the only male in America who would point at a Corvette and call it ‘that thing.’ ”

“It’s just a car, Mom,” he reminded me.

Well, yeah, sure, just a so-shiny-you-can-spot-it-in-the-dark, blue, convertible, fairly expensive, sports . . . car.

The Corvette.

Or, you know, more commonly known as “that thing.”




The Wise One

The other day, as Younger and I were driving home after a visit with his grandparents, at most a fifteen minute trip, he asked, “Can I turn the heat down?”

“Oh, yeah,” I told him. “I was getting hot, too, but I thought I could wait it out.”

From the corner of my eye, I could see him turn sightly towards me, his head at an inquisitive tilt. “Mom, the knob is right there.” He pointed towards the dash. “You can reach it. No problem.”

“Yeah. I know.” I shrugged. “I just thought we were almost home, and I could wait it out.”

He shook his head, settling back in his seat. “Usually, Mom, you are wise and like the exact opposite of stubborn. But then sometimes . . .”

Well, huh, I’m wise.

As a mom of a teenager, I take that as a real proper compliment.

And I’ll just overlook that whole “usually” part . . .

Because, you know, I’m wise that way.


In a discussion on teenagers, driving, and the preferred pace on roads with lettered names, Elder happened to assert, “I don’t speed.”

“Everyone speeds,” I responded with a shrug.

“Nah,” Elder argued. “I usually stay between 55 and 60.”

“Sixty is speeding. The posted speed limit is 55. Anything over it is speeding.”

Elder rolled his eyes. “Well, sure, if you’re going to take it literally.”

Well, my mistake

The law is obviously no place for a literal translation.

Just ask a member of Congress.