Thursday, July 10, 2008

Learning to Drive

Learning  to drive is always a rite of passage. For me, it was a terrifying experience when I was 15 years old and in driver's ed class. The instructor figured everyone had already driven, so he put me on the street and said go, not bothering to find out that I had never even sat behind the wheel of a parked car. After nearly sideswiping a whole line of cars and making him so nervous that his face was wet with perspiration, he decided maybe we needed to learn in an empty parking lot. I couldn't have agreed more. 

When it came time to take my driving ed test with him, he flunked me before I even took the test. But I could perform in a high stress situation and passed with flying colors (well, he only had to use the instructor brake once). So he had to unflunk me and then I got to terrify my parents as I put in my hours before I could get a license to drive on my own.

Out in the desert, learning to drive is a little easier. There aren't the inconveniences of parked cars. And there are plenty of roads. And living on a ranch, young'uns are encouraged to drive at an early age so they can help move the tractor to the other side of the field. My husband learned to drive when he was five. That does seem like a very early age, but he had his older brother to help him. His older brother was six. 

Last week the California cousins came for a visit, and my sister-in-law decided that it was time for her oldest daughter to learn how to drive. She got behind the wheel of her cousin's work truck and before long was driving it, only slightly scaring her mother. It was a stick shift, which really impressed me, because that took me forever to learn how to drive. 
Desert Boy didn't want to be left out of the fun. Here he is practicing with his Pony Express Rider cousin (update on the ride coming soon). His cousin is laughing because Desert Boy already knows he needs to shift. While he's "driving" he makes vroom, vroom noises.

And now that we get a wider view, you can see he is ready to live it up, taking his cute California cousins for a ride. I'm already sweating the real driving!
What do you remember from your first driving experience?


Lori said...

Once we made the final turn onto our road, my Dad used to let me sit in his lap and 'drive'. Of course, I was truly not doing anything but resting my hands on the wheel but I thought I was something!!

Anonymous said...

Some of us had to learn on a stick shift station wagon, on Chicago streets. YIKES! My dad would take us to empty parking lots to practice, but it was horrible. When I had driver's ED, my first road trip was alone with the teacher (the other student was sick that day, yeah, right!) All we did was run his personal errands. He did teach me one invaluable lesson: always look at the traffic a block ahead, then you can anticipate what's happening. That's good for city driving. In the desert you can see the cattle miles ahead.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that, sis, not only was the station wagon stick shift, it also had nothing power. It was like driving a tank. I remember Dad and Uncle C. taking me out in uncle C's car. I made a right turn too sharply under a viaduct and got the car hung up on a very tall curb. Dad said some very bad words. Uncle C. was white. His car~! Scraped the side getting it off. That was the first and last time Dad rode with me for driver training. Mom had to do the rest. Haven't had an accident since, 45+ years.


Anonymous said...

Let's see, my first experience was backing out of the driveway, my sister by my side, and running into the bushes. Yup, that left some gorgeous scratch marks. Unfortunately, we didn't know that my parents had just sold the car! Then I progressed to hitting bigger objects, such as 3 vehicles and the house (all in one fell swoop)while backing out of the same infamous driveway. Things haven't changed too much. I've hit my husbands car twice backing out of our driveway. Beware to all those behind me!!

GAA's headache causing daughter.

Anonymous said...

My mom let's me drive the car carts at the supermarket. My mom crashes those too!
Karla A.

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