HOME page                  NEW STUFF page 
          WRITING CONTENT page       GUEST ARTISTS pageHome_1.htmlNew_Stuff.htmlEssays.htmlGuest_Artists.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3

Youth and Driving

John W. Pinkerton


I visit my barber about once each month and a half…not much hair left.  I go mainly to trim my beard and my mustache so that it won't continue to be a soup strainer.

After my  haircut and beard and mustache trim the other day, the barber, a nice woman who tolerates me pretty well, and I were discussing local events and national and international affairs when she unexpectedly blurted out, “Kids don't care much about driving anymore.”

I felt as though I had been slapped with a wet towel.  I was still slumped in the barber chair when she made this pronouncement, but my posture became more alert, and I immediately wanted to hear more.

She explained that she had had several customers who passed this news on to her.

Still incredulous, I asked, “Why?”

She didn't seem to have a lot of details, but she did say that it was just easier to get their mommas or daddies or grandparents to drive them where they wanted or needed to travel.

I staggered away from her shop in a confused state.  Linda was waiting outside the shop in our automobile to drive me home.  I used to drive, but Linda thinks it's for the best if she does the driving now.

I immediately told Linda what my barber had said, but she didn't make much of a response.

A couple of days later a good friend of ours visited with us so we could visit our favorite restaurant to eat out.

I immediately asked her if she had heard anything about young folks not caring much about driving anymore.  She responded that she was well aware of the phenomena and offered that the youngsters really don't want the responsibility of driving.  I don't know if I buy this explanation but was surprised that she immediately confirmed the basic premise that young folks aren't turned on by driving.

At this point my world was spinning.

When I was about fourteen and fifteen, driving was a major step toward being an adult and the exploration of the larger world. 

My mother---not my dad---taught me to drive.  She began the lessons by putting me behind the wheel of a huge Buick in among a field of tall pines.  As an adult, I question the wisdom of the location, but…I've never hit a tree in all of my years of driving.

At fifteen I failed my first driving test.  It seems that I did not come to a full stop at a stop sign…in my defense the field of pines did not have any stop signs in it.

I failed the second driving test because when---according to the fellow administering the test---I had not looked to my left when I made a right hand turn at an intersection.  What he didn't know is that I had and have amazing peripheral vision---what’s left of it.

I finally passed the test on the third try.

I was a licensed driver and the world was my oyster: I could drive to the country store down the road; I could drive with Mother aboard to visit her relatives way down in the country; I could drive to school; and…and I could drive girls around in a car.  Life could hardly be any better.

Of course, driving led to a lot of other activities most of which were wholesome---but enough about me.

My nephew showed up at our home the other day.  He's almost fifty now, got a degree from A&M, did a tour of Iraq as a medic and did a tour of Afghanistan, has been a teacher, counselor, and principal.  Presently…wait for it…he's working as a nurse.

Anyway, I asked if he believed that kids today don't care about driving as much as kids once did.

He confirmed that my proposition was absolutely true, and he offered the most plausible explanation to this point.  “It's the I-phone.”   He went on to explain that youngsters no longer need cars to visit with their friends.

That made sense…but not to me.

There's a lot to be said for driving around with a girl in your car.  Just saying.