Whose truck is it anyway?

Now that the teen has her license, she tries to drive as much as possible. She not only wants to, but expects to. She drives to school every day. She drives home from practice. She cruises down to the pier to take photos some afternoons. She is in her bliss of motor vehicle independence. Oh how I remember when driving was a novelty. I was happy to pick up groceries for my mom or drive someone home. Of course I had my own car.

Our kid doesn't have a job, which means she doesn't have money to buy a car. This is very different from when Mr. Harris and I were teens. We both worked; after school, weekends and all summer, so we could buy cars, pay insurance and afford fuel. Our teen spends summers volunteering, which pays life experience, not dollars. This is wonderful, but it won't buy a set of wheels.

Thus, Mr. Harris' pickup truck has been commandeered by his darling daughter and he's taking it really well. This surprised all of us because neither he nor I were ever allowed to drive our parents' vehicles. We find we don't have the "hands-off my stuff" attitude we grew up with, so her driving his ride didn't squeal his tires. I'm beginning to think this might be shifting into overdrive though.

Our problem isn't "not-your-truck," but more the "we need-to-share" model. Mr. Harris wants to take the truck for service, but this removes transportation for the kid. (Cue the weeping and gnashing of teeth here please.) To his credit, he planned to do it on a day when she didn't need to drive herself to school. He's not cruel enough to sentence her back to riding the bus for a day, because we appreciate just how traumatic this would be for our licensed driver. Instead, he planned to do it at a mutually convenient time. Thus our problem comes hurtling down the straight-a-way. There is no suitable time for her to be without a car anymore.

Even if she doesn't have to drive somewhere, she's been driving enough to taste freedom and she isn't about to leave this buffet. She's got plans and if those don't work out, contingent plans, because now she can do that sort of thing. Losing her transportation for even one day is a major crinkle.

An easy-going gal, who rolls with the waves of life, she didn't bother pitching a fit, but tried to negotiate other options. As she explained why she really, really needed to have her truck, Mr. Harris cut in. "Your truck," he echoed, "Sorry, but that's not your truck."

This led to the "I need my own truck" discussion, which usually ends with my assertion she needs a job first. As we drive this track of conversation, I hear all about how all you other parents bought their kids their own cars or gave them your Lexus so you could buy yourself a new car. Screeching around this hairpin of parental competition isn't hard for me to negotiate at all though. "Sorry," I reply, "Our family is not like theirs." Shifting in and out of this car conversation, she realizes she's going to have to share her dad's truck until she can produce an income stream. The crew chief is calling for a pit stop, so unless she can land her own sponsor and team, she'd better start calling another crew for a ride.