D is for Driving

And duh, because I’m late again. I had 3 back-to-back days of multi-hour meetings, and I just didn’t have the starch left to sit upright and type a blog last night.

But driving.

Thing 1 is of an age. She has a permit. We make her drive.

I don’t understand why so many teenagers today are disinterested in driving. Here in the Springs, it’s not like we have any kind of decent or useful public transportation they can use. When I was 16, my friends and I couldn’t wait to get that sacred piece of paper that would let us take a car out on our own.

I don’t remember much about learning how to drive. I know my mother taught me and my stepbrother Bob at the same time. (We’re 3 days apart in age. Lucky Mom.) I don’t remember her ever yelling or losing her cool. The day we got our permits, Bob drove halfway home from Canton, and then I drove the other half. When I got behind the wheel and started down the road, my mom sighed a little and said, “You drive just like your father–right down the middle.”

That not yelling part? That didn’t include the times when, backing up, I scraped both family cars in the exact same place. For the main car, her car, I scraped the back passenger side panel backing out of the garage. For the auxiliary car (a red 1972 Dodge Demon–I loved that car) it was marked in the same place by a tree when I was backing the car off the front lawn.

We weren’t trailer trash. Having the car in the yard was an unusual and temporary circumstance due to the usual parking spot next to the driveway resembling a muddy, soul-sucking bog one wet spring.

When I’m in the car with Thing 1, I try to channel my mom. I don’t step on an imaginary brake, clutch the dash, shriek in panic or cover my eyes. I try to give calm instruction with occasional corrections. But for all my efforts, I will now admit that my husband is a better driving teacher than I am. I’m not sure why. I was taught by my mom, he was taught by his dad, and we both feel like we’re paying something back by teaching our children.

Thing 1 doesn’t give a fig for family history or paying it forward. She looks at driving as a punishment, and getting on the Interstate is tantamount to descending into hell on the back of a razor-skinned wildcat. I don’t know why she fusses so, because she’s a decent driver now and will only improve with time and practice.

On the other hand, once the license is in hand, young people often start to get ideas about road trips with friends. I am definitely not ready to consider that yet. Honestly? I might never be ready. But she still has to be able to drive. Who else will take me out to make a public nuisance of myself when I’m too old to drive myself?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “D is for Driving

  1. Excellent! And, this was rather like looking in a mirror. I thought I’d be the smooth tempered one to teach Cecelia but Nate did it much more calmly. And it was like pulling teeth to get her behind the wheel. But have no worries. Remember how people say, “They won’t go to kindergarten in diapers?” Well, they don’t go to college without a driver’s license.

  2. Sue

    Stepson will be 16 in August. He’s getting an ’89 Celica from his grandmother. I am in denial. He’s ADD boy, Mr. “Oh look, there’s a butterfly”, kid. I can’t think about it.
    I couldn’t wait to drive. Neither could my mom. The day I got my license, she said, “Good. You can take your sister to school tomorrow”.

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