PlazaJen: Passion Knit

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Learning to Drive.....Part II.

So, we last left it where my dreams of driver's ed were dashed on the rocks by my mother. Eventually, though, I did need to learn to drive, and who better to teach me than my mother?

That was a short-lived solution. First off, my father ruled the roost. You did not get emotional or loud or crazy around him because Mr.Logic would shut you down faster than the Health Department at a Typhoid Mary convention. But my mother and I had no such boundary, and when left to our own devices, and differences, the screaming and yelling was phenomenal and immediate. So you can imagine how well her instruction inside a Chevette would go over. Not. And it's pretty confined in there, so the screaming seemed even worse. After one attempted lesson, she handed me over to my father. Phew! Finally, the rubber shall meet the road.

Now, if you're thinking about teaching your kid to drive, I'd suggest driver's ed. But if you refuse to listen to that, then start with a car that has an automatic transmission? Please?

Yes, the Chevette was a stick. And one of my father's first instructions to me was to keep my left foot BACK by the seat, so as to not condition myself to ride the clutch. Dur. In my mind, I don't even KNOW what riding the clutch is and there are three pedals and I have NO FUCKING CLUE how to listen to the engine and do all of these things, SIMULTANEOUSLY. However, he decided to eagle-eye my left foot and EVERY TIME it hesitatingly, insecurely worked itself up towards that clutch, he would BAM! slap his hand on my right knee. Causing me to jump out of my skin and completely kill the engine because I would let up on EVERYTHING.

Lord, I tested his patience, and we hadn't even gotten the car into reverse.

Now, we lived a half-mile from the county road - a gravel road, no less. So once I got the car going, we travelled out to get the mail. Lurching, sputtering, slowing, speeding, we didn't really pay attention to how much FOG was in the air. After all, our lane was as familiar as the back of my hand. So out we go, and all we're gonna do is basically a three-point-turn, get the mail, and get back home. A couple of hand slaps on my knee scare the bejeebers out of me, but I don't kill the engine. Hey, man, this driving thing's not so bad! What's the big deal? But once we're on the county road, I kill the engine, and cannot, for the life of me, re-start the car. Try after try after try. My father is anxiously looking back and forth, because it's basically pea soup and you can't see more than five yards in any direction.
Dad, urgently: "Come on, Jennifer. Just give it some gas and eaaaaase up on the clutch."
I can't say anything. I'm becoming frantic, which means I can no longer remember anything we've learned in the past half hour. I kill the engine no less than ten times as I try to back up.

Dad: "Come ON, we can't see, we have got to get out of the road!"
Me: (on the inside) "Really? Really? I hadn't notice we can't see anything and seriously, getting frantic panicky with me? -heavy sarcasm- THAT's helping.")

Good grief. It took fifteen minutes. It was awful. I was shaking, and my father obviously had an equal stress level to mine. The first driving lesson was over.

My father's conclusion? Let's not learn on the stick shift.

What did that leave me with for future lessons? A stretch van with no rear windows, and only one side window. Awesome. AWE. SOME. Frying pan into the fire.

To be continued.....
posted by PlazaJen, 12:03 PM