Posted by: Patti Dickinson | 02/07/2013

It’s just a hubcap.

88352540Margaret, my 17-year-old daughter managed to get a 98 on her geometry test, a new debit card and a driver’s license all in the same week.  Not too sure what the latter two will do to the global economy or highway safety, respectively….but I’m delighted with the 98 on the math test.

So she takes her first solo drive.  To her Kaplan ACT Prep class.  A straight shot down Johnson Drive and a right turn at Merriam Lane and there’s the Irene French Community Center where the class is held.  I tell her to call me when she gets there. Check. I tell her to call me when she is leaving. Check. Life is good, right?

Wrong.  I go out to my car the next morning about 7:45 to go to work.  I throw the bookbag in the back, along with my purse.  Cup of coffee nestled safely in the cup holder.  I back the car out of the garage, careful not to knock over the basketball goal that my older kids moved between the two garage doors to play at Thanksgiving.  It’s still there.  I put the car in drive and the car is shuddering.  Hmmm.  So I drive a little further.  I’m still in the driveway. No, can’t get on 635 with a car that has no conscience and is driving like a Fisher Price factory reject.  So I get out of the car and the front passenger tire is flat.  I mean flat. Minus the hubcap. Well, I’m not going anywhere in this car.  So I run into the house and ask Wood if he can drive me to work.  (Ahh, the advantages of having a husband that works from home…)  Oh, and did I mention that I had a meeting with the principal that morning?  So I unload the bookbag and purse, put my coffee on top of Wood’s car while I get all my stuff arranged and leave it there.  About two blocks away, I say, “Oh no.  My coffee!!!” This has gone from bad to worse and it’s only Tuesday.  I get to school, right in time for the meeting, get through the day and wait outside, for Wood to pick me up.

So we leave from there and go and get Margaret at school.  She doesn’t have a car yet and I am assuming at this point that there is no need for further explanation.

By this time, I am ready to have a little fun with this.  Margaret gets in the car and wants to know why we are both picking her up.  I explain the morning glitch, that I had a flat tire.  I wait to see if she says anything. Nothing.  I said, kind of nonchalantly, like I’d just thought of this, “You know, Margaret, if you hit a curb or something last night when you drove my car, it’s a good idea to let us know that.  Not to get you in trouble or anything, but just in case something was wrong…..” Nothing. I’m really warming up to this conversation now….any mother of a teenager knows exactly what I am talking about.  Margaret says, “Well I don’t think I hit a curb or anything……”  (So how does a kid not know whether or not she hit a curb hard enough to send the hubcap into orbit?????)  I said, “Well the tire was flat and the hubcap is missing.”  Silence.  Margaret says, “Maybe you hit a nail or something….” Even she has to know how lame this is sounding….and how did we shift from her to me maybe hitting a nail????

So I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of this story and by the time all her siblings hear the story, she will have unwittingly signed up for years and years of “Remember the time Margaret drove for the first time…..” or “Lend Margaret your car and you better count the hubcaps…” or “Make sure there’s air in all four tires when you get home….”

So I guess the moral to this story is that it’s just a tire.  It’s just a hubcap.  In the great big scheme of things laughter wins every single time.


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