Some of you might remember that when I turned 15, I got The Bobcat. And while I was initially dismayed at its Pinto-like appearance, I actually got a little excited when I realized that I was going to get to drive it that very day.
There was only one tiny hitch. It had a manual transmission and not only did I not know how to drive a stick, I didn't really know how to drive ANYTHING.
So we headed out to the country, which is where every self-respecting southerner learns to drive. The back roads. On the way, my dad and I stopped to pick up my grandfather, who gamely climbed into the backseat while I climbed behind the wheel.
My dad is, to put it kindly, a control freak. He is a little bit of a yeller. When he gets excited or stressed it's like he can't really help himself. He just automatically switches to yell mode. And maybe I'm that way a little bit too. But honestly, I don't really remember him yelling that day, though I'm sure one of us probably did some yelling.
What I remember most is my grandfather keeping up a running admonishment from the backseat, "Now, don't go too fast. Slow down. Slow down. When you start going too fast, that's when you start to get in trouble." I was going maybe 35 mph. And not smoothly. There was a lot of jerking and stalling as I tried to find the gears. I'm not sure I ever went over 40 mph, but sitting in the back seat with no access to the brakes, real or imaginary, probably made Pa Pa feel very vulnerable and I guess he couldn't help himself.
But I often find his words coming back to me. Slow down. Slow down. When you start going too fast, that's when you get into trouble. Sometimes life goes too fast and we need to slow down. I do, anyway. So that's my goal for the coming holiday season. To slow down. And enjoy it.
5 years ago