Posted by: Patti Dickinson | 06/24/2016

Zoom zoom

109355180Okay. I’ll just put this out there. Collectively, the Dickinson’s are not very good drivers.

Don’t judge.

Fortunately, all of the car stories can be retold with an element of laughter. None of the car mishaps involved injury to other drivers, eighteen-wheelers or flipped-over vehicles. Nothing smacking of drama. No red and blue flashing lights. No screeching of sirens. No police leaning in the driver’s side window. No forgotten infant car seats on the roof. No one having any field sobriety issues.

Three days before Mother’s Day (hold on….the significance of that particular Hallmark holiday? I’m getting to that.) Kid #1 backing his car out of the garage. Kid #2 leaning out the kitchen door, yelling something. Kid #1 slows down a bit, opens his driver’s side door, continuing his exit from the garage, leaning out of the car in an effort to hear what his sister is yelling. This is what you call ill-advised multi-tasking. Kid # 1 is able to accomplish two, no three things — continue ever so slowly toward his destination, try to hear what his sister is screaming about and um, tear the door off the car with the side of the garage. And what was all the ruckus about from Kid # 2? “SIGN THIS MOTHER’S DAY CARD”. Yeah. I guess the silver lining is that Kid # 1 could, if he was so inclined, could now sit in the driver’s seat and pretend he is in a jeep.

First day of solo driving for another kid. Hands on the steering wheel at ten and two o’clock. Seatbelt on. Rear view mirror adjusted. Ditto the outside mirrors. Not sure if she kicked the tires or not. Drives down the driveway. Stops at the end, blinker on. But…but she is driving down the road with two wheels on the sidewalk. How can this be going so wrong, when her first two minutes in the car were chapter and verse out of the driver’s ed manual? She finally wobbled and then bounced her way back to four wheels on the street…….

Fender bender at the gas station. Not my kid’s fault. The teenage girl who hit my kid got out of her car, crying, distraught because she was already late for work. She begs my daughter to just take down her information and sort the details out later. Always accommodating, my kid agrees. The kids exchange information and my daughter drives off. A week later, I get a call from the kid’s mother. “Why didn’t you contact me about the collision your daughter caused at the gas station?”

Teaching an almost-ready-for-solo-driving kiddo how to put gas in the car. On our way out of town, it was her turn to put all her fill ‘er up skills to the test. Tank’s full and she removes the nozzle from the gas tank, only she forgets to stop pushing on the metal piece that activates the release of the gasoline. There is a virtual geyser of gasoline shooting in my direction while I scream “STOP”, heard by everyone in a ten-mile radius, while looking down at my sandaled feet that are being splashed with a continuous supply of fuel. I spent all afternoon worrying about how flammable I was.

Then there’s parking tickets. A kid who shall remain nameless has racked up enough campus parking ticket fines to put another kid or two through four years at an Ivy League school. He keeps telling me that it’s cheaper to get parking tickets than it is to get a parking pass. I am not sure he has done the math on that.

Lest I be accused of throwing the other family members under the bus, I will admit that I have a little issue with speeding. I have attempted any number of ways to try and talk my way out of said tickets. Last time I got pulled over, the policeman was so nice that I thought maybe he would humor me and go along with a deal I was attempting to make him. He said, “Do you know how fast you were going?” I said, “How about this? How about if I guess the right number, you could just give me a warning.” My husband, in the passenger seat, has his head in his hands. The policeman can’t figure out whether I am kidding or not playing with a full deck. A little of both. Fast forward to me having to mail in money for the ticket.

My speeding issue has only gotten worse, as technology has brought us increased ability to use GPS to get to a destination. Unfortunately for me, the GPS also tells the approximate time of arrival. Cuts right to the heart of my competitive spirit. GPS says arrival time is 4:37? I immediately go into how-many-minutes-can-I-knock-off-the-time mode. I am really over the top, and I recognize that. I am irritable when it’s time to fill up the gas tank, because it messes with my arrival time. Get something to eat? I think that a human being can go four or five days without food, so why would we need to stop? It kills me to pull back onto the highway after refueling and having to pass the same cars all over again.

Zoom zoom.



  1. Seems like a long time since I have gotten a blog from you. I loved this one. I forward your blogs to my niece and she is the same way about the GPS. Has to beat it. Always a fun story. Carol Odelius Odasso.

    • Thank you Carol. It has been a long time. We are in the middle of a move, and once the dust settles, I am going to be doing a lot of blogging. I miss it when I don’t. So kind of you to write. Only found your message by accident. Glad I did. xoxo

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