Be Careful, She’s Old

I warned my daughters about drivers like me.

When we moved into our home 24 years ago, our girls were 13 and 11.  It’s a neighborhood of houses built in the 1950’s. In 1991, original owners lived in many of them.  I was 40, they were in their 60’s and 70’s and often drove a Buick or a Mercury.

One of the worst tasks of parenting is riding with a 15-year-old who is quite sure she can drive just fine but really she can’t. She never starts braking soon enough for a stop light and the imaginary brake on your side does nothing to help. Neither does yelling, but it feels like it helps.  As the girls got their learner’s permits and began driving, I consistently warned them about cars where you could barely see the driver’s head over the headrest or drivers with grey hair. “They can be kind of unpredictable,” I’d say.  “They don’t always drive at a steady speed and sometimes they stop way far behind the car in front of them.”

Yesterday, I got the OK from my neurosurgeon to drive for the 1st time since my neck fusion surgery Dec 2.  I was thrilled.  He did suggest a co-pilot until I got used to not being able to turn my head like I used to.  I skipped that step and drove on not-busy streets yesterday and today.  The only problem I can see is when I back out of a parking place.  My car has a backup camera that helps a lot, but it’s still hard to tell if a car is coming.  Maybe you should be careful around bright blue Prius’s in parking lots for a while.

I used to be 5’3” tall.  Not tall, I know, but not totally shrimpy, either.  Unfortunately, I shrank to barely 5’1” at my last measuring.  I hope my neck fusion stretched me back up some, but I don’t know yet.  I doubt you can see the top of my head if you drive behind me.

So here I am: the driver I warned my daughters about.  Short. Grey hair. Driving real carefully. With a foam collar around my neck.  (I don’t stop way back from the person in front of me and I don’t drive a Buick.  I guess for baby boomers, it’s a hybrid. We have 2–a Prius or a Camry.)

So, you young whippersnappers, someday you, too, will become the old people you warn your kids about.

You won’t feel old, though.

It helps if you can laugh about it.

Published in: on January 21, 2015 at 5:34 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment


    And how was your doc’s appt on Monday?


  2. Steve and I were recently in NYC for a niece’s wedding and took the subway many places over the 3 days we were there. On no less than 3 occasions on crowded trains, “young” people (read 30’s) offered us their seats. This has never happened to either of us on public transportation. On the one hand, New Yorkers are a lot nicer than you hear about. On the other hand, who the (expletive) do they thing we are…old people??? We had to laugh looking in the mirror, he with very little hair, I with grey streaked tresses. To each other, we are still those young kids who met in high school and fell in love. I guess that part is a very good thing.
    PS So glad you are out and about again. In Asheville, warnings are issued after Memorial Day as the retired Floridians migrate to the mountains: “Be careful. The blues are running!” (as in little blue-haired ladies barely peeking above their steering wheels when they pull out in front of you with no warning causing you to almost have a heart attack.

  3. The good thing about tangling with a senior driver is that it will be a low-speed crash. It is rare to see one of us (shoot, when did that happen?) zig-zagging impatiently in and out of traffic. We just grip the wheel and putz along with a reasonable measure of fear in our hearts.

    I’m glad you are on the mend Robin!

  4. Glad you’re out of house and able to drive. You can pick your time to travel and set your own pace. I hope things smooth out from now on.

  5. This was a great story. I hope everything starts going well for you. Thanks for sharing.

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