Driving Miss Brenda

Have you seen the movie Driving Miss Daisy? It’s about an 80-year-old woman who should probably hand over her car keys, yet really doesn’t want to give up the feeling of independence that comes from driving her Hudson Commodore sedan into a ditch. Backwards.

Her son—afraid that his mother’s car is going to turn into a 4,000 pound steel coffin—hires a chauffeur to protect her from her own driving.

I loved Driving Miss Daisy. First of all, because Morgan Freeman was the chauffeur. I’d watch a documentary about cardboard if Morgan Freeman was in it. But mostly I loved that movie because I want to become Miss Daisy. Now, I’m not saying I want to become crabby and difficult when I don’t get my way (I’ve already mastered that). I’m saying that, when I’m older, I want someone to take away my car keys and insist on chauffeuring me everywhere.

My driving is already stunningly mediocre, and I have no reason to believe that’s going to change. I still can’t parallel park, I’ve knocked off two side mirrors—both times while trying to get out of underground parking garages—and I once accidentally backed into a Mack truck.

So here’s my plan: I’m going to try to make my current car last until I’m 80. I’m 53 and only drive twice each week, so that should be doable, right? Then, when I’m 80, I’m going to start doing things that will worry my kids—like working on Sudoku puzzles when I’m sitting at red lights, taking shortcuts across people’s lawns and maybe even singing with the windows down. They’ll be so convinced that I’m a public health hazard that they’ll take away my car (which should be pretty much composted by then, anyway) and will start driving me everywhere I want to go. I think this plan is perfect—don’t tell my kids.

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