If case you haven’t noticed, teenagers’ ambition to drive is stuck in neutral.
I can’t remember the last person who celebrated a 16th birthday by getting a license. Some wait months, even years to become legal behind the wheel.
Social media is to blame. Anyone who needs a friend fix can text or Tweet. And if you’re craving face time, well, there’s Facetime.
Who needs a strip to cruise when you have a Web to surf, right?
I grew up when socializing meant sharing a handshake. Or a kiss. Or bottle of Strawberry Hill. And having your own transportation was the berries.
My first car wasn’t even a car. It was a van handed down from my father.
Dad owned a flower shop and when he upgraded his delivery vehicle, I inherited the 1967 Ford Econoline. When I learned I was getting it, I ran out to get some Easy-Off to remove all the painted advertising from the sides.
Sandbags left over from its delivery days littered the cargo area. Its muffler could be heard from two neighborhoods away, and it may have been able to reach 55 mph with a tailwind.
But I cherished that baby. Driver and passenger sat right over the wheels, and in between was the engine, covered by a hard black shell that served as the third seat.
I never grew tired of shifting the “three on the tree,” nor did I miss air conditioning or FM radio.
At that time, in that place, being your own boss on the open road was all that mattered.