Well . . . what do you have to say?
BTW, if you've done any commenting over the past couple of hours and it hasn't been approved yet, don't sweat. My son's due back from Ohio today and I'm probably on my way back from BWI Airport by now. The past few hours have been autoblogged posts (written in advance and postdated) with the intent to keep burglars thinking I'm actually at home blogging when I'm not. So maybe I'm home now. Or maybe I'm not.
Comment moderation and Rule 2 FMJRA's will resume shortly. UPDATE 3 p.m.: OK, now I'm actually home. Alive. On the way back from the airport, we stopped somewhere in Howard County to get McDonald's, and the 16-year-old boy says, "Hey, Dad, how about letting me drive." To which I agreed in a grand gesture of paternal magnanimity. And foolishness. But mostly foolishness.
Now, I began teaching the kids to drive when they were 12, and we've got those hillbilly NASCAR genes, so even though the boy has only had his learner's permit a few weeks, I have a fair degree of confidence in his automotive skills. There were, however, two problems with this scenario:
- My son has never driven on the interstate; and
- Mrs. McCain was in the car.
We've been married 20 years and I've driven a gazillion miles in that time without ever being responsible for an accident. (Years ago, I got rear-ended by a toothless meth-head woman with no license or insurance. Last year, I had my front end scraped by an idiot girl who ran a redlight.) Yet every time she gets in the car with me, my wife relentlessly criticizes my driving and wonders aloud that I haven't gotten myself killed driving so crazy.
Well, Junior takes the wheel and we get out on the road. I instruct him how to set the cruise control, give him helpful tips, etc. His mother is mainly concerned that, if at all possible, he should never change lanes. And under no circumstance is he to obey that Y chromosome's orders to hop into the left lane, jam the pedal to the floor an cruise 80 mph all the way home. A dynamic tension is present, and it's his first time driving on the interstate.
We did OK most of the way, until we found ourselves behind a Food Lion truck coming out of Frederick, with two mountains -- Braddock and South -- over the next 16 miles. If the boy had obeyed his Y chromosome, he'd have been left-laning it with nothing to worry about, but Mom was in the back seat on the verge of a heart attack, so the Y-chromosome was stifled.
As we began the ascent of South Mountain, the Food Lion truck was still ahead of us. We were doing a little over 60 mph in a 65 zone. Cars doing 80 were flying past on our left. Past the Middletown exit, a slow-truck lane opens up on the right, and the Food Lion truck got over. Which is when we saw the Subaru station wagon that had been ahead of the truck.
The Subaru was driven by an elderly man with his wife in the passenger seat and, as we ascended the mountain, the Food Line truck in the right lane actually started pulling ahead of the Subaru. It was a rolling roadblock situation, basically, and now there was a more of less solid line of cars filing past on our left, working their way around this 50-mph vehicular obstruction in the right two lanes.
We approached the crest of the mountain and I see the yellow sign: "Right lane ends 2,500 feet." That's roughly half a mile and, judging the comparative progress of the Subaru and the Food Lion truck, I'm saying: "No way." That truck will have to merge somewhere. He doesn't have the power to pass the Subaru, and the geezer at the wheel of the Subaru is too freaking clueless to realize he should speed up to get ahead of the truck. Whiich meant, we had about 40 seconds to get to our left, or we were going to be driving into serious trouble.
I'm calculating this and, attempting to remain calm, am explaining this to my son while checking the left-lane traffic for an opening. My wife is not attempting to stay calm. But as we close in on that "lane ends here" point, I spy a gap on our left and yell: "OK, Bob, get it!" and then, "Punch it!"
He accelerates into the gap, but there's an Aspen SUV bearing down on him, which freaks him out, so he tries merging over to the right a bit sooner than was absolutely safe. Which is to say he cut off the old geezer in the Subaru with about 4 feet to spare. All of which is accomplished with my wife screaming in the back seat and threatening to kill me if we survive the final 5 miles home.
We made it. I live to tell the tale. And the moral of the story is: When you take your son out driving on the freeway, it should be a male-bonding Y-chromosome experience.
And I love my wife.