35 miles per hour!!!

There’s nothing quite as frightening as sitting in the passenger seat while your 13-year-old accelerates to 35 miles per hour.


It was our first driving lesson, and it was on my sabbath. Who knows why I said yes. Maybe because he asked nicely. Maybe because I reasoned that I would be more relaxed on the sabbath. We took off  in my Hyundai for a mostly-abandoned subdivision.


We spent about an hour learning to turn right, to turn left, to stop, and to go. He never went over 25 mph. I opened the sunroof and rolled down the windows because it was a perfect spring day. He cracked jokes and tried really, really hard to drive perfectly. I did grip the side door more than I should have, but I never once raised my voice.


Until we left the secluded subdivision.


I hadn’t intended to sent him up Cherry St., but this big ol’ pick-up truck got behind us, and the best way to lose him was to keep driving toward the “No Outlet” sign. My son, invigorated by the open road, proceeded to crank it up to the inhuman speed of 35 miles per hour.


“SLOW DOWN! SLOW DOWN! SLOW DOWN!” I yelled, not so loud that I would scare him, but loud enough that he could hear me over the wind whipping through the open windows.


He tapped the brake, and as soon as that truck went on its merry way, we found a place to pull over. Then I drove home and put myself to bed, exhausted.


Our drive got me to thinking about the pace of our lives. 35 mph doesn’t sound very fast, but in my son’s inexperienced hands, it might as well have been 85 mph. It seems that not all speeds are created equal. My daily and weekly pace, including a sabbath, might seem fast to some people and slow to others. Sometimes the Sabbath drags along, and other times it speeds past.


I was amazed at how time seemed to warp during the two days of my mom’s life. After years of waiting, everything happened so fast, and yet, at her bedside, everything moved so slowly.


The next week, my son and I went driving again. After a few laps in the subdivision, I let him drive up Cherry St. again. This time, 35 miles per hour didn’t seem fast at all.