Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Cross-Eyed Trooper

Getting Stuart's driver's license was a three year quest. In hindsight, I know that I started him too soon, even though it's legal at 14. It began well when he passed Driver's Ed and the written test with ease. It was just the driving part that seemed to get in the way. Fact: Our Expedition is as appealing to a young driver as maneuvering an Abrams tank through the mall parking lot. (My first driver got his license at 16 but chose a year-long no-driving strike before conceding to the tank.)
For Stuart, the biggest obstacle was the Cross-Eyed Trooper - Arkansas Department of Motor Vehicles self-appointed Gate Keeper. He was fat, tall, and extremely mean. Stuart failed twice under his watch, once out of sheer nervousness. Hated by all, including his co-workers, he handed out failure slips with maniacal glee.
Our third effort to get the license proved successful. I stood in the waiting room praying and peeking. "Please, God, don't let Stuart get the Cross-Eyed Trooper, pleeeease."
Test-givers manned desks horizontally placed before the excessively long line of licensee-hopefuls. One-by-one they were called forward.
"Please, God, please," as Stuart inched his way to the front. "Let it be the smiling, jolly African American Trooper or the woman."
"No, God, no!" as Stuart was called to appear before the Cross-Eyed Trooper.
"Why, God, why?" as Stuart joined the smaller Road Test Group.
Then, I don't how, another Trooper appeared like an angel sent directly from Heaven, and Stuart was ushered out to his test and came back with a pass slip and we laughed and rejoiced and did high fives in line for his license photo and celebrated with a hamburger.
I have Cross-Eyed Troopers in my life...obstacles so scary that I become paralyzed. The Cross-Eyed Trooper means failure. He doesn't go away; he grows meaner and bigger the more I ignore him.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Operating Heavy Machinery

I like to be in control. For this reason even thinking about small, tight places causes my palms to sweat. The "tight space fear" is actually the result of a childhood hide-and-seek game when, while I was hiding in the laundry hamper, my brother sat on top and refused to let me out. Loss of control.
I'm not a fan of flying. I only do it because it takes me fun places; the result trumps the fear. But, I'd much rather have my feet on the ground.
I don't like prescription drugs. If I have a short-term affliction, I'll take something for that (usually has to be quite dire), and if I'm ever struck with a life-threatening disease, okay. But, long term drugs for regular stuff, no way. It represents to me a loss of control.
I especially don't like prescriptions whose bottles caution: May cause drowsiness. Do not operate heavy machinery while taking this drug.
Stuart challenged me on this one, "Mom, when have you ever operated heavy machinery?"
"Are you kidding?" was my appalled response, "A mom needs to be ready to operate heavy machinery at any given time!"
Any mother knows this fact is true. If my children need me, and I am called upon to do so, I need to always be ready to operate heavy machinery. I care not if I have ever done so in the past, this mother of three teenage boys is at all times on standby.