Sunday, September 20, 2015

Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

As Ali nestles deeper into her teenage years, I've been a little sad that she's not always a chatterbox with me anymore, relaying the days news, her hopes and dreams and random facts at the drop of a hat. Our car rides home from school generally start with a greeting and end quickly with her plugging in her ear buds to escape my country music.

I'm was pretty sure it was the music and not me she was fleeing until I started turning off the radio and quizzing her about this and that. It's not that she's sullen; she's just growing up and I know better than to push too hard. But I AM curious and I was hoping for more communication in the car. At home. You know, anywhere.

When she was little, we used to recite passages from our favorite books -- Go Dog Go! at stoplights for example -- or just talk about whatever was going on. We'd play the ABC game or remark on stuff we saw along the way. So I was encouraged when she brought back a classic car ride game the other day.

Until my arms started hurting, that is.

We play a modified version of Slug Bug. It's the same game where you slug your co-rider whenever you see a VW Beetle, calling out the color, but we also count any car painted yellow -- you just call out "Tweety Bird" instead of "Slugbug" of whatever color.

And woe be unto the driver with weak vision and traffic on her mind if she mistakes a convertible MG with a convertible VW. That's a double punch from the offended competitor. As you might guess, Alison Reed has a quick eye and a quicker, harder punch. Damn those years of Tae Kwon Do.

It's been kind of fun arguing over whether a bronze or brownish-gold counts as yellow. In case you're ever brave enough to get into a car with her, construction equipment doesn't count, but taxis that are primarily yellow do. People wearing yellow shirts but on bicycles do not. The pedal-powered trolley does not. Dumpsters do not, even though flashes of them when you're moving makes it seem like they're moving too.

She usually rules in her own favor and pretends great frustration over confusion.

"Mom. It's not that hard. No school buses because Dad outlawed them. Orange is NOT yellow. But that car counts because it's like that mustard he has that looks like it comes in a paint tube."

"That's brown mustard," I say. "Brown does not equal yellow."

"It's mustard. OK? Mustard is yellow. It counts."

Why we let her decide the rules is beyond me. Also, how Jeff managed to ban school buses mystifies me. It's not fair. I can ALWAYS see a school bus. Ali knows every hidden drive harboring a yellow car between Broad Ripple and 16th Street.

My arms haven't hurt this much since I ran into Kelsey Taylor at the Angie's List gym and she made me start working out in the weight room.

This afternoon, we're road-tripping to Worthington to see my family. If you have just a speck of affection for me and you know anyone with a Beetle or a yellow car, please keep them off I-70 or anywhere in southwest Indiana after 1:30 today. I'll be forever grateful.

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