Seems we hear it often these days that teens coming up aren't interested in driving. That is to say, they're not showing much interest in getting a driver's license and having freedom of mobility and independence. To quote an early programmer, "Does not compute!"
We can remember just itching to get out on that pavement. The idea of not needing Mom or Dad to take us somewhere anymore was pure beauty.
And yet, we've talked with parents whose kids didn't get their license until they were 18 or 19 and heading off to college.
When we were just a few months shy of 14, the announcement came over the intercom at middle school: Forms were available for students who wanted to take their permit test over the summer. We raced down to the front office to grab one. People knew better than to get in our way.
Mom brought us home that confounded book from the Arkansas State Police, and we did our best to study everything from how many feet away you need to be from other cars before using your brights to what all the different road signs meant. When test day came, we were a nervous wreck.
Dad drove us to the Hughes Community Center and sat outside on a bench while we took the test. A stern woman from the police department administered the exam. When the test was over, she dismissed the entire class except for us and one other fella. We were told that we passed with an 80 percent, the minimum needed.
As we high-fived one another, she told us not to celebrate too much. Because if we'd missed one more question, we wouldn't have a permit. Giddy, we took the paper she gave us and pestered Mom every chance we got for the opportunity to drive.
The night of our 16th birthday, Mom and Dad gave us permission to drive alone in a hand-me-down Ford Contour from Grandma and Grandpa. It was beautiful. The driver-side window had to be held back when you closed it, or it'd lean forward. But it had four wheels and a gas pedal. We were off.
The freedom to drive around held no comparison to any other freedom that came before.
Kids today don't want to get their license? It's a mystery to us. But then again, so is that weird dance the kids do that they record and put on Instagram.
Editorial on 07/22/2019
Print Headline: Editorial notebook