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Stone Roshell

Paul Wellman

Stone Roshell


Stone Starts Driving

Real-World Road Rules


My son Stone, 15, wrote my column again this week.

Hey again. It’s me, Stone. You may remember me from last summer, when I ranted about parental oppression. Well, I’m back, with something else I need to get off my chest. This time it’s about the surprising, brand-new world of driving.

When I passed the driver’s test and got my permit back in April, the training taught me to be a very nice, friendly, rule-abiding driver (always walk around the car and inspect it before driving, signal 100 feet before the turn, etc.). But when I backed out of my driveway and entered into the real world of driving, I was like a small, fluffy bunny in a pit of angry, rabid Rottweilers. The polite world of driver’s ed was ripped away to reveal a world of people cutting off other people and not using their turn signals — and full of, ahem, parental help: “STONE, ACCELERATE, YOU NEED TO ACCELERATE!”

Of course, I haven’t let all this affect my driving. I still drive slowly and carefully, and the incessant honking around me from those Porsche SUVs driven by soccer moms who need to get to their jewelry-making class is drowned out by the song “Let It Go,” which is on indefinite repeat (Yes, I am the only male on the planet who insanely loves Frozen). I am determined not to stoop to the level of other Santa Barbara drivers. As Queen Elsa says, “Don’t let them in, don’t let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be.”

Now, it’s okay for me to be a bad driver because I’ve only been driving for four months. I have this tendency to always go the wrong direction in parking lots, and I literally can’t parallel park at all. But at least I go the correct speed on the freeway and stop at most yellow lights.

Still, as the apparent founder of the new “Stop Moronic Drivers” movement, I’ve come up with some great ways to decrease the craziness of all the reckless drivers out there. On a serious note, the reason all this makes me mad is because people learn by example. If you’re constantly being negligent on the road, my generation sees that and will end up just like yours — and we can’t have that, can we? So here are some ground rules:

First of all, if you don’t use your turn signal, I suggest federal prison for 25 years. Without parole. Seriously, I don’t see what’s so hard about moving your hand in a downward motion to flick the lever when you turn; you do it every time you refresh your Facebook news feed! If you cut someone off, it’s a $1,000 fine and anger management classes because cutting people off is like putting your sock in someone’s mouth right after the gym: It doesn’t feel good, and it’s just not cool. Also, $500 extra if you cut someone off in a pickup truck because if you’re gonna cut someone off, at least be original.

So the next time you get out on the road and think about almost running a red light, or come close to hitting a pedestrian — just don’t. Unless your wife is having a baby, or you’re bleeding profusely out of your eyes, you really should just stop.

Well, that’s all for this summer, folks. Maybe I’ll see you out on the road; just look for a Nissan Leaf blasting the Frozen soundtrack and going the wrong way in the parking lot. Hopefully, with time, I’ll get better — and so will our driving community. Together, we can roll toward a better future on the roads. As Queen Elsa sang in the best movie ever, “I’m never going back. The past is in the past.”

Stone Roshell is a junior at San Marcos High School. He enjoys playing the drums, doing improv, watching Frozen, and, as of recently, driving.

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