About Cars: She’s Not That Into You

She’s Not That Into You

March 22, 2015

By Jane Tawel


I’m not that into cars.

People, men especially, my men especially, have these strange conversations around me sometimes. Dad: Hey, I saw an Aston Martin today. Son: What color was it? I saw a GT 5000, 1974. Black. Dad: Silver. Well, I saw the new Mercedes Benz S Series. Son: Cool. Do you think Rolls Royces are cool even if they aren’t chauffer driven? Dad: Hey, look it’s the new Tesla. Mom (trying to contribute): I see a car. Men: ignore the mom as they should. Son: (Hits Dad hard on shoulder) Smartie! Dad: (hits Son back) I saw a Smartie five minutes ago. Son: Hey, at Resnick I saw the…… Dad: That car costs $143,000!!! Son: I KNOW!!

Vehicle discussions between men go on, and on, and on, and on like this, day after day, after day, after day. Some women like cars too. My friend of the Sillies, Heather and my daughters Justine and Clarissa, like certain cars. All these people spend time thinking about cars and dreaming about cars and discussing what they want and like in cars and talking about cars. And sometimes trucks.

Here is what I think about cars. There are too many of them. Here is what I want in a car. Does it work? Can I sit down while driving it? Where do I put my purse? Here is what I dream about cars. Never having to drive one again. Here is what I think about the cool car you drive. 0000.00000 This is because I have absolutely no clue what car you drive.

Friends have gotten miffed at me for my ignoring them when they drive by me, waving wildly. It’s not that I don’t care about them, I just don’t pay any attention to what people drive. I do not care about their cars, hence I do not recognize said friend if said friend is in a vehicle. This is not personal. I often don’t recognize the car I am driving. Many a time I have left my older kids waiting in the car for me in a parking lot, (I said older kids because I don’t want you to think I leave small children unattended in hot cars. I only leave teenagers unattended in hot cars.) and while I push my little grocery cart out to my car, my kids watch in a mixture of horror, embarrassment and amusement as I try to unlock a similar looking car elsewhere in the lot. Sometimes its not even the right make – only a similar color and size. It’s a miracle I’ve never been arrested for trying to break into someone else’s car. That day may come if I am still alive. My children may kill me before I can be arrested because…

I have several strange habits that only occur when I’m driving. These habits have made my children who they are today. Evidently I do this odd irritating thing with my thumbs on the steering wheel every time I drive which makes my children go absolutely insane. I was completely unaware of this habit that makes people want to kill me until my children pointed it out. My daughter, Clarissa, says it’s not the rubbing motion so much as the sound it makes on the steering wheel that makes her want to kill me. According to Gordon he only stops himself from killing me when I do “THE THUMB THING”, because if he killed me then the car would crash and he might die before he could grab the wheel and take over driving. He believes of course that he is a much better driver than I am. Gordon has not yet driven a car. But he is still better at it than mom, especially because he does not do The Thumb Thing. But then, everyone knows that teenagers make the best drivers even while texting, watching a youtube video, chewing gum, rubbing their tummies and patting their heads, all at the same time. I think I do The Thumb Thing out of constant nervousness and it is a way for me to release nervous energy. This is an important skill in stress reduction while driving in Los Angeles. I am positive I would not do The Thumb Thing if I were raising my family in South Dakota or Ohio.

I wish I could say this little tic of mine, and it seems to be a tic since I have tried to stop myself but find myself completely unable to  – I wish I could say this little tic affectionately known as The Thumb Thing Mom Does, is the most irritating thing I do while driving, but it is not. I also talk to other drivers. I have been known to say things like: “There you go Love, you can do it.” Child: He’s not your Love, mom. Mom: You moron, watch out! Child: Mom, He can’t hear you. Stop talking to him. Mom (pretty glad the big hairy driver CAN’T hear her).: You’re right, Child. Whoa!That guy almost hit us! Child: Mom, it was a woman and she was like three inches away from you.

I also, according to the non-paid expert witnesses that I haul around everywhere as a non-paid driver, slurp my coffee from my to-go canister and when I close it, I spray the entire car and everyone else in it. My children believe the mini-van is literally covered in mom’s coffee graffiti. I can’t see it, but I guess that is because I am driving with one good eye. (See previous blog posting).

When I drive, I do not stop often enough for fast food before, after, and during school nor does any one in the universe like “MY” Music. I turn on my turn signal too early, and I dance to the music the kids play, embarrassing them in front of all their friends who constantly are lurking just outside our car in order to catch The Tawel Kids’ Mom doing embarrassing things to her cool children. I think several of my kids’ friends have been told I was adopted.

I will admit that I’m not always that focused when I’m driving. I did scar for life my children the time I was thinking of something else (Maybe because I was concentrating on trying not to do THE THUMB THING) and I almost killed someone in the cross walk. I can still see in my mind’s eye, this short, middle-aged, Latino handicapped man (yep, he was actually handicapped!) crossing where I was trying to turn left. The memory has been imbedded onto my family’s collective memory retinas. There was I evidently carelessly and wildly turning, and that poor little Mexican man with dark-framed thick glasses and one leg shorter than the other, hobbling madly, frantically, hop, hop, panic, hop, hop, panic across the intersection cross walk. Making a sort of background music were my children in bug-eyed, hand waving, slow- motion, screaming, “Mowowowowom, Mowowowowom, Mowowowowom!!!!”, And their oblivious mother, snapping, “Be qui-i-i-i-i-et, I can’t…” then, Mom FINALLY seeing her hobbling victim, and swerving just in the nick of time, missing him by inches, as he gull-upped, hop, hop, panic, hop, hop, panic, gallupping through the rest of the crosswalk. I thank God every day I did not kill that man. My four children often bring up this close call about the time when Mom almost killed a guy. It often used to be a praise during prayer time since if mom was in jail, who would drive them places. Any prayer praises? Yes, that mom didn’t kill that poor handicapped man. Any prayer requests? Yes, that God will help mom stop doing That Thumb Thing.

My friend, Stephanie, said something that stuck with me. She said about her new relationship with her teenage daughter, Katelyn, “Now I’m just the taxi driver who loves her.” And once you have teens of your own, you realize it is better to be the taxi driver who loves them than to be the “worrying- at- midnight -because -they’re –driving- themselves mom.

Now that my kiddos are all grown up, I really miss my kids all piled into the crumb –decorated mini-van, nagging me about my driving. I miss them imprisoned in their little car-seats, hitting each other and throwing up on the child next to them. I miss putting Raffi in the tape player AGAIN! I miss making U-turns to see cherry picker trucks or to go back for frozen yogurt. I miss not having enough room for all their friends and having to meet them there. I miss having to pull over because they dropped a crayon or turn around because we forgot something (or someone). I miss the laughter about silly things, the songs they made up, being the Unseen Listener, who only had to drive. (By the way, for my friends whose kids are still toddlers and babies: It becomes increasingly difficult to strap your kids into their car seats, especially once they pass the age of twelve and if you’ve already put their bubble wrap on. My advice is to start feeding them less around age ten and put the bubble wrap on after you have already strapped them into the car seats.)

Lately, it has been mostly just Gordie and I driving along. He picks good eclectic music to listen to. Sometimes when I am nervous about other drivers or stressed about something, I will jokingly start twanging, “Jesus Take the Wheel”.

Mom: (singing) Jesus take the wheel. Take it from my hands. Gordon: Mom! You don’t want Jesus to take the wheel. Jesus couldn’t drive. They didn’t have cars back then. Mom: Well, Jesus could drive if he wanted to. He was Jesus. Gordon: Mom! (Teens always say Mom with an exclamation point at the end!)  Mom! No, he couldn’t drive. You don’t want Jesus taking the wheel, cuz I don’t want to crash and die. Oh, cool, Mom look a Buggati!

But, secretly, between you and me — Now that I don’t have all my children trapped in my minivan, howling, screaming, crying, laughing, singing, coloring, arguing, nagging,– Now that they don’t need me to drive them places, I pray — for each of them –every day as they drive all alone in this great, big, rushing, World – Jesus, dear Jesus, please take the wheel.

And then I do The Thumb Thing.


My Children in My Dream Cars for Them

Published by

Jane Tawel

Still not old enough to know better. I root around and explore ideas in philosophy, spirituality, poetry, Judeo-Christian Worldview, family, relationships, and art. Often torn between encouragement & self-directed chastisement, I may sputter, but I still keep trying to move forward.

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