Tag Archives: North Carolina

Distraction Drama Dismay

The twitchier I get, the more inventive I get.

What with the youngest dude, Hyper Lad, starting to get behind the wheel now that he’s 15, I’m probably more twitchy then I’ve ever been when I consider having to teach this guy how to drive.

I feel like one of those short-timers from any movie about Vietnam. As the date they will rotate home gets closer and closer, they get more and more paranoid about something happening to them before they get out.

I’ve made it through teaching two other young dudes how to drive, but now that the last one is come around, I’m starting to freak out more than I ever have before.

Fortunately for me, I actually have made it through two other driving debuts so I do have a couple of tricks in my bag.

The first big trick in the bag is repetition, which is the trick I take out of the bag first. This is one trick I have been using for a long time with things like texting. Knowing I have/had three sponges sitting behind me, I make sure to loudly and often refer to the fact that I got a text, but can’t read it because I was driving. Or I will ask one of them to read aloud the text and respond.

They have heard again and again, seen again and again and again, that they should not text and drive. I get the feeling that they’re more likely than not to follow in those footsteps, if only to avoid having to hear me talk about it again and again and again and again. . .

Since the spawn couldn’t see my face while I was driving and they riding, I made sure to continually talk about how I was keeping my eyes on the road even when I had to change the radio or something similar. I recommend them getting to know their car/dashboard well enough that they don’t have to look to hit the radio buttons.

While this next step might be corny, I think it really does work. Before I allowed any of the young dudes to drive on their own, I sat them down and went over point by point exactly what was expected of them. For each point, they had to tell me specifically that they would not or would do that point. You also can do the same thing in a written contract they must sign.

Include repercussions that will occur to the young driver should he or she violate the terms of the promise/agreement. And enforce those terms.

While not necessarily distracting, one thing I have made sure they know is something that my mom made me understand. If I was ever out with friends and either I, as driver, or my friend, as driver, had been drinking, I could call my mom and she would pick everyone up, no matter the time, and never say another word about it.

I only ever called her once, but she was true to her word. I’ve made sure that my young dudes understand that as well. If there is any sign of impairment, they always know they have a free, safe ride without any sort of blowback for them. Knowing that we trust them enough that we’ll offer that kind of thing, actually helps them to do the right thing because they want to live up to that trust.

Or at least that was how I felt when I was on the other end of the bargain.

In North Carolina, new drivers aren’t allowed to stuff the car with their friends. Neither are new drivers with the last name of Jones, who live in Casa de Dude. We make it a point for our young dudes to understand that their first job as drivers is to make their way from Point A to Point B safely. Bringing along anyone else is way, way down the list.

Friends in the car can be even more distracting than driving by a 10-car pile-up of a circus truck, a shipment from a marble factory and a funeral home for mimes.

The two big takeaways from this would have to be make sure you model good driving behavior and communicate with your neophyte driver, which means both of you talk and both of you listen.

Distraction starts behind the eyeballs. Fortunately, safety does as well, so make sure there’s more room for safety.

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Let The Games Begin*

Today should be a national holiday.

I’m serious, dudes. Very serious.

Well, as serious as I can be when I’m jumping up and down inside and giggling and laughing and clapping my hands together and basically imitating a little girl who’s just been given a magical unicorn kitty who smiles rainbows.

Yes, it’s the start of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament today at noon. I cannot wait.

There’s nothing to compare with the feeling of sitting down a few minutes before noon, clicking on the television and seeing the first tip off, knowing it’s only one of many that will happen during the day. And tomorrow. And the next day and the day after that.

Could this be the year that a 16 seed beats a 1 seed? (Maybe, but not in the South. And I’m not just saying that because I graduated from the University of Florida and love the Gators with a frightening intensity**.)

Who will be the Cinderella story of the tournament, the team that comes out of nowhere and makes a strong run, beating teams it has no business even being in the same auditorium with?

Will I be able to make it through the tournament without wanting to hunt down a certain announcer’s parents, travel through time and slap them both until they no longer want to have children? Thereby saving us from the long national nightmare that is. . .

Sorry. I need to calm down a bit. Hyperventilating isn’t good for me, I’ve been told.

This Madness that is March is yet another thing I need for which I need to thank Hyper Lad. See, it was because he was born just before we moved to North Carolina that allowed me to stay at home full time to take care of him.

And, because I was home alone with the little dude, that I turned on the first basketball game of the 1999 tournament while he was napping and started to watch. And didn’t go anywhere for the rest of the afternoon except upstairs during a commercial break to fetch the little dude down with me.

Sarcasmo and Zippy the Monkey Boy came home from school and couldn’t believe I was so distracted and it wasn’t football season.

This was a revelation. An epiphany. A Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus moment.

“The band, Elwood! The band!”

Yeah, that kind of moment. Only with less gospel singing and no back flips.

And so that is where you will find me today. On the couch, drink in hand, smile on face and finger on the remote so I can switch back and forth to find the perfect game, to see the best play.

Because, even though today and tomorrow aren’t national holidays, I’m still taking the days off.

This is going to be good.

Footnotes & Errata

* I realize the gag First Four started playing on Tuesday, but I’m not counting play-in games. We’re talking tournament.
** Yes I am.

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A Thing Of Many Splendors

It’s not too late to talk about love, right?

I mean, sure, Valentine’s Day was a couple of weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean that love, itself, is out of date.

At least, that’s what I’m going with because I’ve got a good idea here and I’m going to roll with it, no matter what day it is. Because that’s how we roll here. So let’s roll. Rock and roll. Rock up the mountain and roll on down the hill?

Moving on.

Love, to return to my original point, is a thing. This thing that is love, you could say that it is splendiferous. That it has many splendiferousnessids. Or many splendors does this thing has.

Or something like that. I really think I’m close to an aphorism there. Just need to keep working on it. I’m close. Darn close.

Moving on. Again. Still.

Love sprang to my mind the other day when I was driving along the road from Charlotte to Wilmington as part of the never-ending treadmill of college and home.

There I was, just driving along and minding my own business when I almost ran off the road. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I mean, sure I grew up in the South, but I’ve always been the sort of liberal individual who doesn’t like guns and tries to avoid looking at them or thinking about them because they only get me in a bad mood.

Mostly I don’t ready the many, many billboards advertising gun shops or shooting galleries or gun shows. This one, though, I just couldn’t miss.

While this picture was taken in, I believe, Georgia, the sign I saw was Yes, it really does say that if you buy her a diamond, you will get a free hunting rifle, for those sorts of people for whom this would be attractive, I'm guessing this would be attractive to them.almost exactly the same, but in North Carolina.

Yes, it really does say that if you “Buy her a diamond,” you will “get a free hunting rifle.”

“Well, BillyBobRayBoy, I weren’t gonna propose to ArleneSue, but, hell, son, I needed me a new huntin’ rifle since I lost the old one running from them rabid ducks. . . You ‘member, right? Anyway, figured I might as well put a pull the trigger twice, nowutimean?”

Yeah, I’m sure that’s exactly how that conversation went. Or I might be stereotyping. But, either way, it’s a darn funny thing to see as you’re driving along the highway.

So. To love. And, no, I’m not going to end this by talking about how I “love” making fun of people who like things that are demonstrably stupid beyond measure different from what I like. Although, yes, it certainly looks like that.

Despite the somewhat cruel conversation I imagined up above, I’ll bet the purchase really was made with love in the heart. I’m certain the people who went and purchased a ring and a hunting rifle, did so for the ring.

Showing love for an amazing woman had to be paramount. The ability to blow the brains out of anything at 100 meters was just gravy.

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