My students for this session are already competent drivers. We covered the entire program plus everything else I could come up with in the first four sessions. So today I’m mostly directing turns and fine-tuning their driving.
Adam drives first. Originally from L.A., he’s cosmopolitan and fashionable. As we cruise down the road Adam debates aloud which car his parents should buy for him once he completes his training. I propose cars that I know don’t fit his style, since I enjoy hearing his retorts. My first suggestion is a Subaru Outback, the low-mileage car middle-class liberals buy in a futile attempt to avoid SUV guilt.
Adam looks over at me through large, amber-colored women’s sunglasses.
“Riiight,” he says, “I’ll get the Birkenstocks after I pick up a white sweater to wear around my neck.”
Adam’s choice of cars is hindered by his religious affiliation. He’s Jewish. The last time Adam argued with his brother about which car to buy, the younger sibling suggested he get a Jetta.
“I’m like not,” Adam says, turning to face me for a bit too long. “Could you see me driving up to the synagogue in a car designed by Hitler?”
I point toward the road ahead. Adam looks back through the windshield and turns the wheel a bit to correct our car’s slight drift toward the curb. He laughs and continues with his conundrum.
“What I really want is a Mercedes. But that company designed the gas chambers.”
I have no idea if any of these claims are true. If so, it’s quite the dilemma. I mention that my first car was a Camaro.
“A Camaro?” Adam asks incredulously. “That is so Fresno. Did they throw in a wife beater for you to wear?”
“Yup,” I respond, “I changed my whole wardrobe but I could never get the see-through mustache quite right.”
I look out the window and see a PetCo. It’s enormous, covering half of an entire city block. Are they selling dinosaurs now? I realize that I have absolutely no idea where we are. I’m hoping my two students can get us back to the school.
I take a swig of coffee and then try a different tactic.
“How about a Yugo? The Yugoslavs never screwed over your people.”
I know the response I’ll get. Adam’s going to college like everyone else in this affluent suburb, not delivering pizzas.
“A Yugo?” Adam responds. “Please.”
We roll back to the high school and park twenty minutes later. In the end Adam chooses to go for the Mercedes.