Tuesday, September 3, 2013


They're baaaaaack... back to school that is.  It's official: the school year has begun.  Time to reroute trips to the grocery store to avoid school zones and schedule every errand around peak school bus and minivan carpooling hours.  Crosswalks, slow zones and never ending bus routes may drive you to insanity, or in the very least, remind you of the days when it was you, walking to and from the bus stop.

As for me, I was spared from riding the big yellow school bus.  My means of transportation evolved in three stages: K- 8th my mom drove me, 9th grade I rode with my brother who was a senior, and from my sophomore year of high school, through my senior year of college, I drove myself.

Those mornings driving to school with my mom were some of the best memories I have from my childhood.  My mom has a way of making even the most mundane task extra special.  If we had an extra ten minutes to spare, we would go through a drive-thru and get breakfast.  Those mornings are intertwined with my entire academic experience.  It made me a happier kid and it undoubtedly showed.  Showing up on time with a hot breakfast was a pretty great way to go to school. I was the envy of all the kids in my grade because it was no secret that I in fact, had the coolest mom in school. They were the good old days.

Then... came high school.

Halfway through my freshman year of high school I was called into the principal's office.  When I sat down in the chair opposite to him, I could tell I was in big trouble but I wasn't exactly sure why.  "You've been late 17 times so far this year.  You're suspended."  Suspended?? But I don't have a driver's license yet!! It's my brother!! He is suffering from an acute case of Senior-itis!

I had to explain to the principal that I was at the mercy of my older brother who was rapidly approaching graduation.  Every morning, I would carpool with him and would wait patiently as he color coordinated his shoe laces to match his jacket and hat.  As an owner of a clothing store and yes, also a high school senior, my brother was quite particular about his fashion statement... every single day. 

And to his logic, as long as we were already running late, we might as well go through the drive-thru and get breakfast. What's another fifteen minutes?? Late, was late.

I never did get suspended.  I actually think the principal was even a little sympathetic to my case.  He let me go with a warning and a detention slip.

After that first year of high school, I finally drove myself to school for the rest of my academic career. And although I was driven to succeed and to be on time, I never forgot those mornings where I was not behind the wheel.

They were the best mornings ever.  Perhaps it was a relief in some way, to be at the mercy of whoever it was behind the wheel; sitting in the passenger seat, without a care in the world, along for the ride.

When I was in the driver's seat, I realized something both exciting and a little sad: those carefree days as a passenger were behind me. My course, destination, ETA and means to get wherever I want to be was and is entirely up to me; the driver.  It was a realization that changed the way I looked at the road ahead.

And... I've been rather driven ever since.

In retrospect, I kind of wish I hadn't been in such a hurry to take the wheel.  But isn't that typical?  When we are young and dependent, we long for the day when we can take the wheel.  And when we grow up, we look back and think; Wow, I had it pretty good.  

Perhaps that is why our parents and teachers always warned us kids to not be in such a rush to grow up; because once you are, you'll never again have the luxury of letting others drive you everywhere you want or need to go.  

If you want to get to where you're going as a grown-up... you'd better be punctual, have a good sense of direction and above all else: be driven.  

Because if you can't get to where you're going, you won't have anyone else to blame.  For once you're in the driver's seat, it's entirely up to you to take the wheel and hopefully arrive safe and sound.

I just hope all these kids today know how good they've got it! Life is a journey, so you'd better enjoy the ride whether you are in the passenger seat or behind the wheel.  Slow down... It goes by so fast!    


Tijuana Taxi 

2 oz Gold Tequila
1 oz Blue Curacao
1 oz Tropical Schnapps

On the rocks in a highball glass
Splash of Sprite!


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