I couldn’t wait to get my permit.
I was just a dumb kid in Colorado with the delusion that acquiring my permit would automatically result in:
1) Getting a brand-new Pontiac Fiero;
2) Driving my butt from Greeley, Colo., to Seattle
3) Actually making it back home.
How could I forget? I was also going to pick up my cousin, Raquel, in San Francisco. All this, before I’d even learned to parallel park. But I was ready. Kids these days? They’re not so ready. Why be ready to drive, when you parental Uber toting you around?
I’m okay with this.
My best conversations happen with Madison in the 30-minute ride home after I pick her up at work. I get to hear the goings-on of Dick’s South Park, and also her rantings and ravings of current politics and what she’d do if she called plays for the Carolina Panthers.
1. Could I drive outside of North Carolina with my permit?
This state is stricter than Quaker parents when it comes to anything behind the wheel.
Alabama, Arkansas and Colorado say yes, you can drive here, North Carolina learner. Others say no: District of Columbia, Hawaii and New Hampshire, for instance. Other states, such as New York, try to make their rules sound like War and Peace:
New York will recognize another state’s learner’s permit subject to the restrictions printed on it and the New York State restrictions for junior driver licenses under 18. A person with a valid out-of-state license for the vehicle being driven may accompany a junior driver. You may not drive in New York state if you are under 16, even if you’re licensed in another state. An Out of State learner’s permit is “NOT” valid in New York City. In all areas of the state except New York City, Nassau or Suffolk counties, a non-resident under 18 years of age may operate a vehicle from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. when accompanied by a licensed driver over 18 years of age. He may operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. only when accompanied by a legal parent or guardian.
That’s a lot of ifs, ands and butts. Better just let me tote you around, kid.
2. Didn’t a woman have eight babies?
Yes, and they called her Octomom – which sounds like something that would try to vanquish Batman and take over Gotham City.
It happened in 2009. Her name: Nadya Suleman. Her doctor, Dr. Michael Kamrava, said he didn’t know she was having octuplets (which are eight babies, not just babies born in October.) He claims to have implanted her with 12 embryos in-vitro treatments.
Then, she disappeared, he said. Wouldn’t even answer her phone.
He suggested four, because, you know, the law of averages. Usually, a woman Nadya’s age would get two. She insisted on 12. It was a bad idea from the start. She agreed to fetal reduction, which is an injection to kill fetuses if more than one starts to grow.
The whole pregnancy is at risk with fetal reduction.
That’s a lot of embryos. That poses other risks for the mother and babies, including:
- Cerebral Palsy
- Development delays
- Premature birth
So the good doc found out with the rest of us. In February, the kids celebrated their eighth birthday. Mom – now known as Natalie – named the historic kids Makai, Josiah, Isaiah, Jonah, Maliyah, Jeremiah, Nariyah and Noah.
Next time, ask me about Kate Gosselin, would you?
3. Could you get drunk from eating beer bread?
You’d have to eat, like, eight loaves.
You could even bring it to school. I could even bring it to work. I wonder if I could eat it while driving. No, I won’t go there. Unless it’s used in a sandwich made of whiskey ham and rum cheese (sounds kinda delicious), beer bread is harmless.
(I just typed in beer break! Then I typed in bear instead of beer which means I should slow down on this buffalo chicken pasta I’m eating for lunch.)
The beer gets all evaporated out, and only the flavor (and yeast) remain. And yumminess. The crust, especially. Any time I get beer too bitter for my white-bread beer palate, it gets poured directly into the pan, deliciously, for beer bread.
You’re welcome. Now pass the butter.
4. What is it called when you turn trans?
My belief is that one doesn’t turn any way as far as sexual orientation, and, extensively, to becoming transgender. The transformation in transgender awareness, in my eyes, is in the revelation or realization of it.
It’s a tough concept for me to describe, because I am not transgender.
I’d struggle similarly with an explanation of being a vegan or a dodgers fan. (Not that there’s anything wrong with the first one.) Transgender means a person doesn’t associate with the gender they were born into.
I’m going to try and explain this in simple terms.
(Any offense taken is unintended. I will not apologize, though. As a parent, we have to try to describe the world’s challenging concepts as well as we can to our children. This happened in our own home, and now, with my child’s question, it’s on this public blog.)
Once, I bought a 12-pack of Pepsi Max.
Stick with me. It was filled with regular Pepsi. This is the closest I can come to understanding this myself. For whatever reason, the outward manifestation of a person doesn’t match what is inside. It’s very real and I can’t imagine how it must feel.
Support and acceptance is crucial.
It’s not as simple as the Pepsi example, of course. Some people don’t identify as either gender. And I know for some, that has changed. Can you blame them? It has to be an incredibly confusing spot to be in.
Also, I can imagine, being able to identify what gender is to you, to finally be able to label it and find others who also do, that has to be liberating. Isn’t that what any of us want? An identity, a sense of place? I know I do.
5. What happens if they pull the mask?
I’m nearly certain this question arose while we watched football, not some construction worker welding something.
Or a patient in a hospital with an oxygen mask. Man, that could have been it, though. Curiosity doesn’t seem to know bounds as far as the profane, and pulling the oxygen mask of a person? Well, that’s a story, and probably not a good one, but a story, for sure.
Let’s stick with football.
Back in the day, you pulled the facemask, it was automatically a 15-yard penalty. It was swift and authoritative, the call, in contrast to the general vibe of football, what with no regard to concussions (have we come that far, really?) or hydration.
(I played in the era just after coaches would limit a team to one water break if they were lucky, to share the same ladle and water bucket.)
In modern times, the facemask penalty has branched into two:
Intentional: You yanked this dude around by the face. 15 yards.
Incidental: Oops! Hey chief, that was his facemask. Say you’re sorry. 5 yards.
Pulling off Batman’s mask would be tougher than Robin’s, whose was bought at a dollar store in HIaleah, Fla. Pull off Darth Vader’s, you see the facial equivalent to leaving a bandaid on too long. Pull off Hannibal Lecter’s, and you risk becoming dinner.
Any of those should be 15 yards. Easy.