When the Husband departed three weeks ago from South Florida, to reenter the frozen wasteland that is my hometown, he returned the rental car that we had been using. There was really no need to leave me the car. In the first place, my parents reside close enough to me here, (2 floors down!) that if I required the use of an automobile I could easily borrow theirs. Not only that, since my other parents are also here (1 floor down!) there is rarely a time when both cars are being used at the same time. If I need to get out for groceries, sundry items or a sanity trip out of Hallandale, a car is always ready and waiting. In the second place, I absolutely loath driving down here. I struggle for the right words to describe the drivers down here---MANIACAL, CRAZY, PSYCHOPATHIC---all come to mind, but these adjectives are really not descriptive enough. In the two plus decades that I have been coming here, the stories of road rage that I could share would curdle the blood of even the most seasoned of drivers. I have seen people physically attack each other over parking spaces. I have witnessed right hand turns from extreme left lanes and left hand turns from extreme right hand lanes. I have seen drivers flip the bird to ambulances with sirens on and lights flashing. I have been trapped on the Hollywood Roundabout for over a half an hour, endlessly circling in tears, because no decent human being would allow me space to switch to the proper lane to get off. I have watched in horror as people drove on the sidewalks in order to get two car-lengths ahead in traffic, without any regard for the pedestrians that they clip. In short, the drivers of Miami are amongst the worst in North America, (Allstate Insurance says this, not me!) and I have the emotional scars to prove it. Thus, when the Husband said that he was returning the car, I was just fine with the plan. Transportation down here is essential to mental health, however, so just knowing that a car was at my disposal was comforting.
A week after the Husband left, a friend of mine joined me here to spend a couple of weeks. She was perfectly happy not to go to the added expense of renting a car, and was more than happy to act as my chauffeur in Dad's SUV if we wanted to head to the mall or a movie. The day she arrived the weather turned frigid, (Don't yell at me!! For Florida-this is frigid!) and as such, we needed to find ways to entertain ourselves. That meant borrowing my parent's car. Now, I don't know about all of you, but the last time I asked for permission to borrow a car from my parents, I was 17 years old. Last week, I felt 17 years old. I mentioned this phenomenon to my mother while I was apologizing for leaving them stranded yet again. The conversation went something like this. Really!!!
Me: "Hey Mom! Could I possibly borrow the car for the umpteenth time this week. I am really sorry if I am inconveniencing you and Dad, but I really do appreciate you allowing me to use it."
Mom: "No problem, honey! Happy to do it. Now let me remind you of the rules. No drinking, no phone use while driving, no wacky behaviour and your curfew is 10:00pm!"
Did we ever laugh. It was a real reminder for both of us as to the way things used to be. It got me thinking about the roles of parents and children, and how as we age, those roles can often become blurred, as is evidence by the following conversation with my father the next day. Really!!!
Dad: "Hey Faigel!"
Me: "Hey Dad."
Dad: "Can I borrow the car, tomorrow? I only need it for an hour to run some errands and I will have it back for you at around 1."
We had a good laugh, but there was a seriousness to his comments. He wanted me to know that they really didn't mind us usurping their transportation and that it was truly their pleasure to give to their daughter. Parents! Just when I thought I had mine all figured out. I only hope that I can be half the parent to my adult children as mine have been to me.