Sunday, November 07, 2010

Queen of the Road

Warning: This post may resemble a Sunday drive; meandering on with no set destination.

Back when I was young, most of my friends had the urge to learn to drive long before I did. Once it finally occurred to me that driving represented getting the hell out of the house freedom, I got on board with everyone else.

This was back in the stone age eighties when driver's ed was taught in high school. I also remember taking a summer class in some portable trailers where we watched a computer screen and steered a wheel to simulate real driving. Most likely the instructor for that class went home and prayed when he realized he was going to be in a car with me behind the wheel.

I passed the written exam at the DMV with no problem. Then I received my learner's permit. Then came the best part. My mother had the "pleasure" of teaching me to drive. With my apologies to my mother, I can't think of anyone less suited to the job title of driving instructor. I scared the crap out of her and she couldn't hide it. She made me nervous as hell and I couldn't hide it. It would be time to turn and I would hear "GO, wait STOP, now GO, EEEEEEEK STOP!" She also hit the invisible brake a lot. (I knew when it was time to teach my daughter to drive, I would be the same way so I handed the driving instructor reins over to my husband.)

I was the typical teen driver, maybe even worse. I backed over the mailbox once. To this day, I hate backing up. Yes Virginia, depth perception does exist. Unfortunately it was handed over to the boys.

It took three tries to pass my driving test. My "friend" L laughed at me behind my back. Never mind that it had taken her three times to pass the written test. Finally, I passed the driving test. The instructor told me I had barely passed. I'm sure I was thinking, "Yeah, yeah, whatever. Just hand over the license and get the hell out of my way!" Did I mention yet what a charming teen I was?

Of course true independence didn't come yet. I didn't own a car so I still had to have my mother drop me off at school or, even worse, ride the bus.

Some of my friends had cars and they would very occasionally drive ten miles out of their way to pick me up. Those were the days when every seat was packed with a kid and we could all pitch in a buck or two for gas money and get the tank filled.

I borrowed my mother's Toyota Corolla on weekends. It was a little box car with no power steering, definitely not a "cool" car. There was a bumper sticker on the back stating, "I brake for bingo." Lord, how I despised that bumper sticker instead of actually being GRATEFUL for the fact she was letting me use her car.

My friends and I would cruise on Olive Ave in Porterville, CA, which was actually kind of boring but we were happy to be hanging out. We never found as much trouble as we were looking for which was a good thing. Because I did have a habit of finding plenty of trouble.

I finally purchased a used Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme toward the end of my senior year. It was a granny car but I didn't care. I had wheels. I'm sure my mother was alternately glad to get her car back and scared to think I was going to be loose on the roads.

I drove way too fast but somehow lucked out and never got in an accident. For all I know there was a string of them behind me in the rear view mirror. I was overly confident and didn't realize what a horribly scary driver I was.

At some point in life, driving became a way to get from point A to point B. I no longer enjoy driving. In fact, I pretty much hate it.

Were people always so rude and I never noticed? Or was I too busy being rude myself? That is a distinct possibility.

I see people tailgating all the time. I have seen a person tailgating a school bus. I have seen a person tailgating a man on a motorcycle. People pull out to cut you off and then drive slow. People park in the way when dropping off the kids at school. People drive five miles below the speed limit in the left lane. People swerve back and forth happily talking on their cell phones. Gah, it's enough to make me go mad. And damn I sound like an old lady!

And please don't think I'm saying I'm a perfect driver. I'm not. I do attempt to be as courteous as possible, but I do make mistakes, and I do get really, really irritated with people sometimes and scream in the privacy of my car.

Maybe karma is coming back to bit me in the butt.

How I wish I had a chauffeur to take me everywhere so I could sit in the back and read. Wouldn't that be the life?

It will be six more years before we have another kid in need of driver's training. That seems pretty far away but I know how fast time can go. All I can say is, her Dad is teaching her to drive.

Please feel free to share your driving memories. I would love to hear them.


Blogger Bearette said...

My mother used the invisible brake as well :) I think some things are universal.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Caro said...

Just think, Bearette. Some day very far in the future, you will get to do the invisible brake with E. (I did it with Jen)

5:23 PM  
Blogger Chris H said...

My mother tried to teach me to drive.. we lived in the country at the time.... imagine driving along a country road, about 8 miles from home... your mother is screaming at you to SLOW DOWN so often that you stop the car and walk home! I did that.

My Dad on the other hand was constantly telling me to go faster. I could not win.

We have not tried to teach ANY of our kids to drive, we are not that silly! We hired a driving school to do that.

Two to go.....yaaaaaaaa.

8:40 PM  
Blogger Caro said...

Chris H - That is so funny that you walked home. What is it about teaching kids to drive that makes us parents revert to blithering idiots I wonder? You were smart to delegate...

6:59 AM  
Blogger Bearette said...

I might escape Manhattan, a lot of kids don't bother to get their licenses :)

6:25 PM  
Blogger Caro said...

Bearette - I wish public transportation were as accessible here. I would be glad to use it if it were.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Caro said...

And I envy you maybe escaping the teach 'em to drive thing. X)

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, your memory might be a little faulty. Remember the big dent in the side of my car from backing into the cement post at church?

Remember the smashed up passenger door which came when a bunch of boys squashed Stacey in the door.

The damage was alarming but not nearly as much as what damage could have been done to Stacey.

Also, remember, your first driving lesson was with your Dad and you two managed to mow down the mailbox while backing up. You have given me memories that will make me laugh forever (in restrospect, of course)

I have to say, I am now very comfortable riding with you.



2:29 PM  
Blogger Mz.Elle said...

I use the invisable brake with Devon as well as checking in the mirrors and shoulder checks,lol/
And I don't even drive,jeez!

9:48 AM  
Blogger Caro said...

Mz Elle - I wonder if it is universal much like the phrase, "Because I said so!" ha ha ha.

3:21 PM  
Blogger Gingers Mom said...

Ah I miss your blog posts. Sometimes you just need more Caro. :)

10:57 PM  
Blogger Caro said...

Mom - I wonder why David won't ride with me. lol

GM - I miss your blog. Will have to see if you updated.

12:29 PM  

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