Driving Lessons

I am having a week long celebration countdown to my birthday. Wednesday was milkshakes. Thursday Picasso had a cello lesson so the only “celebration” was grabbing Culver’s because the line at Chick-Fil-A was obscenely long.

What the hell is up with long lines at Chick-Fil-A anyway? It’s not like this is a new company. It wasn’t a Saturday night so people weren’t standing in line, hoping to get their chicken fix before they shut down on Sunday. Maybe they were giving away free chicken sandwiches or something because the drive-thru was insane and when we parked and started to go inside Picasso said to me, “Mom, look at how many people are in there!” It was a mob of people waiting in line!

Back to the topic at hand, which was my birthday countdown. Thursday night (or rather Friday morning since it was after midnight) Picasso texted me and told me he’d like to see a movie on Friday. He wanted to see “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”. We ended up getting tickets for the 10:45 show. Yes, I know; it’s ridiculously late. However, he wanted to go to the theater with the reclining seats and we had to book that far out to get decent seats. I am not a fan of the front row, with my head wrenched back for the next 2 hours. As we pulled in to the parking lot he lays this on me: Maybe after the movie I could practice driving in the parking lot.

As you may recall he has not driven a single minute since getting his permit back in October. Therefore, I jumped at this opportunity. Finally! Baby boy was getting behind the wheel!

At approximately 11:55 the driving lesson began. I got to explain which pedal was the gas and which one was the brake. I briefly explained the gearshift. He put it into drive and began driving forward at about 2 miles per hour. Suddenly the bell goes off, alerting me to the fact he doesn’t have his seatbelt on.

“Did you forget to put your seatbelt on?” I ask him.

“Oh shit!” he cries out in return. Slams.on.the.brakes. Seriously. I’m pretty sure I almost got whiplash. “Oh crap! These brakes are really sensitive!”

Next lesson was to practice braking. He did a much better job once he figured out he didn’t need to push down full force.

He drove around the parking lot a bit, never going much above 5 miles per hour. At one point he was going to try to turn right but decided that there were too many obstacles in the way. We ended up turning left and went around the building. He thought maybe we weren’t supposed to be back there.

“Sure we’re allowed to be back here. Look- they have parking spaces.”

“They’re probably for the employees.”

Once we made it around the building he decided he wanted to practice putting it into reverse.

Finally he decided to make it back to where he started. This is when the real fun began.

For starters he was hugging the curb as another car was heading in the opposite direction. I could feel my tires starting to rub. I let him know- calmly- that he needed to pull over towards the left a little bit.

Then there was another car heading our way. Plus, the last of the people were leaving the theater. He referred to them as “obstacles”. As in, “Great! Even more obstacles in my way.”

He decided to just stop and let the other car pass him by and also waited until all the pedestrians were safely across the road before he took off again.

He did make a right hand turn and then parked where he started.

After we were done I asked him if he felt a little more confident now that he had actually driven a bit.

“I feel more terrified now,” was his response. He went on to ask why his sister and cousin drive so fast (the speed limit is what I believe he was referring to) and why we even needed cars. He also wanted to know why we couldn’t live more like in medieval times where you would walk everywhere and you lived in town so everything was a short walk away.

I did tell him that he might feel more comfortable if we could find some isolated country roads. That way he could drive without traffic. He could drive at a normal speed and he would be driving in a straight line. All plusses, I believe.

His reply regarding my suggestion we find some country roads? “Are they going to take me home?”

2 thoughts on “Driving Lessons

  1. Haha! The boys in my family – even my extended family – are all like that for driving. Our parents all used lack of driving as punishment for the girls and had to do the opposite for the boys. “I’ll bring you and pick you up… but only if you drive each way.” “I’ll pay for x so long as you get your license by then.”

    Tell him he can live in a city someday… but for now, Mom needs to make sure her kids go out into life prepared… and being an American society, with huge spaces between and little public transportation, having a driver’s license is one of those things.

    (W’s parents divorced when he was 16. In rural New England. Neither any parents nor step-parents made sure he had his license before leaving home. I’m telling you; it was cruel to send him out into the world without making sure he had it. They made sure his sister did! He drove friends’ cars without a license for years… a DECADE, as everyone assumed he had one. A license and a permit looked the same except for the word difference in the corner. I was the first to notice, as I don’t ever lend my car out but we lived together and I asked to see his license so that I could add him to my insurance. BTW, It’s NOT nice to have to get your fiance a driver’s permit – the old one expired years before – and take your HUSBAND to his driving test. Adults have a driver’s license here and that’s the end of it.)

    He doesn’t have to drive but he DOES need to have a driver’s license. 😛 He can live and work in a village with everything in walking distance and/or on a good bus line… but he has to have the license. 😉


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