By Craig Hastings
Youngest son Lukas is 15 and has his driving learner’s permit. He’s had it for several months, but, unlike his older brother, Lukas hasn’t insisted on seat time until recently. I’m not really sure which Lukas is interested most, listening to his music or actually driving a car. At my home Lukas always has music playing even if he’s fully involved in some X Box game with friends. I noticed that music was becoming more relevant in Lukas’ social order during these past summer months. I was watching history repeat itself, and it wasn’t his brother’s history either.
Lukas began driving with me in June of this year. However, other than riding with him to his work at Tropical Sno in Ervin Park, he didn’t seem too interested in driving a car. When I later picked him up from work about half of the time he told me I could drive. But something was happening. Lukas learned he could pair his phone to the Sync System in the Ford Mustang we were driving and play his downloaded music in the car. I soon figured out the reason he was letting me drive him to and from our destinations was because he hadn’t mastered the pairing process.
Fast forward to this new school year. What a difference four months has made. Now Lukas wants to drive; not as much as his brother had wanted at this stage in the driver’s license process, but close. Not only does Lukas want to get in an hour each weekend day he stays with me, but he has also found a way to add some time to the required drive time. Lukas rounds me up 30 minutes before we are to be somewhere in order to get a few minutes more behind the wheel. It’s not about driving the car as much as it is getting to listen to his music while driving the car. Payton was just the opposite. Payton could have lived without any music other than what might have been playing on the radio. Not Lukas, Lukas is very specific about which songs he plays according to the mood he’s in.
And this is so much like me when I was 15. Oh, I was a car crazy kid for sure, but the music I was listening to in 1972 was important to me also. The difference between Lukas as I was that the music I was listening to in 1972 was driver’s music. i.e. The Beach Boys! Number one on my hit list…”Little Deuce Coupe”. I couldn’t play this song enough, and when it played I wanted to be driving my car not sitting in room wishing I was driving. And this is what Lukas is going through right now. There are songs he listens to that when they play he wants to be driving. His songs are not gear headed hot rodders stuff like his dad’s, but all the same these songs are better felt when his hands are on the wheel and his foot on the gas.
I’m riding shotgun until Lukas turns 16 in May of 2019. I’ll have to endure his song choices for several months just as I had to with his brother Payton. Payton did cause me to download three out of about 80 songs I was forced to listen to on our drives. I still play them today, and they cause me to remember our permit drives. My seat time with Payton also trained my brain to listen to 105.5 FM radio during the evenings I’m up late. How and why I don’t know, but I do. I’m not exactly sure where Lukas is harvesting the music from that he adds to his playlists, but I’m sure I will in the months to come. It’s an interesting time for me for sure. So you think my situation is one down and just one to go? Oh no. After driving with Lukas in the early afternoon on Saturday, Payton comes over to spend some time and guess what he wants to do? “Dad you want to go riding around with me for a while?” Well sure I do, and since I’m already adjusted to his music style I’m good to go!
Never did my Dad care to ride with me after I got my driver’s license nor did I ever to think to ask him because our own worlds of what we thought was cool were on opposite sides of the universe. Payton and I have done the cruise thing a few times, and each at his invite to me. Yes, it makes me feel good that even at age 17 my son isn’t embarrassed to be seen driving around town with his dad. Will Lukas do the same when he’s driving on his own? I’m not sure, but just in case I’ve been scanning the FM band trying to find out where this strange music he listens to is coming from. I’ll need to be hardened to the notes; if not those ride alongs will be painful.