The final place we moved to in Downey, Calif. was just down the street from the high school, so I had an easy walk. Before that, my dad would have to drive me.
He did not enjoy this task. Since he worked nights, he would have to get up early just to drive me in, and then go back to bed to get a bit more sleep. He was also not a morning person, which added to his displeasure.
I was not happy about the arrangement either. High school was not a good experience for me, and I usually dreaded each day there. Having to hitch a ride in dad’s boat of a car just added to my adolescent anxiety. He always offered to drop me off right in front of the school, but I always made him park around the corner from the school because I was embarrassed of our car. I would glance around to make sure no one I knew was coming, and then dart out of the car quickly, not wanting to be associated with my dad or the car at that moment. I think I usually said thanks for the ride, but of course at that age, one doesn’t really appreciate the small sacrifices our parents make for us.
I still can picture those silent rides, with dad looking disheveled and unshaven, having just been rudely stirred from sleep to play chauffeur for his awkward, ungrateful teenage daughter. Looking back at it now, I wish I had taken advantage of those rare moments when we were alone together to talk to him, even if it had just been small talk. Alas, one cannot go back in time.