I had never been behind the wheel of a car.
I think my parents were afraid. VERY afraid.
Until the summer after I turned 15.
I went from never driving
To my parents signing me up for drivers training.
To being thrust behind the wheel of a car alongside 3 other student drivers and a poor soul who had a death wish.
The drivers training instructor.
Who, upon my turn to attempt to drive, had to constantly remind me which pedal was which. Yeah, keep that in mind, it’s an important little tidbit in this story.
You see, back in the very beginning, when I first began to train as a driver at the local high school, I had NO FREAKING CLUE which was the break and which was the accelerator. Blame it on over protective parents.
But, when you are driving in an instruction car, it doesn’t matter. Because the instructor has control. They have their own auxiliary set of pedals and wheels. As long as one of “them” are in the car, “we” were never completely on our own.
That? Was reassuring.
Toting along the side roads of neighborhoods, trying to maintain a consistent speed while alternating between causing waves of nausea and whiplash for fellow learning passengers…it was all good. Because one didn’t completely have to pay attention, they could Sunday drive. The INSTRUCTOR had our back. They wouldn’t let anything bad happen.
That’s why they got paid the big bucks.
Back at the high school, on the drivers training course…that was a completely different beast.
The instructors weren’t in the cars with us. Four students clown piled into the specially equipped learning vehicle and took turns driving the course while the instructors stood around shouting instructions.
“Break.” They’d yell.
“Accelerate!” They’d shout.
“Turn the wheel!.” They’d instruct.
“Break!” They’d scream. A lot.
Yeah but…I’d think. FUCK, which one is which, I’d wonder. Realizing I probably should have done less Sunday driving and more listening the day before.
“BREAK!” He shouted, looking directly at me.
“BREAK!!!” Eyes getting wider as my car sped up toward him.
“HIT THE MOTHER FUCKING BREAK!” He screamed and started running for the hills as my car headed straight for him and bumped into him, knocking off his fishing hat.
Yes, I ashamedly admit, I hit the poor fellow. I knocked his hat off his bald and shiny head.
He laughed with relief. He felt himself up…or checked to make sure he was still alive.
Then was probably even more relieved when I came down with a hellish bout of chicken pox the next day, thus forcing me to put my driving career on hold until the disease passed.
And it did, leaving scars and scabs in its wake.
Causing me to begin driving tutelage through a private facility a few weeks after the “Oops, where’s the break?!” incident.
No one ended up too badly hurt in the making of this particular driver. I went on to receive my driver’s license, despite the fact that I couldn’t parallel park, much to my private tutors chagrin.
I still can’t parallel park. Which is fine, I just circle the parking lots until I find a normal spot.
But now? I have two children that are about to embark on the driver’s training adventures.
Double anxiety, stress and plaque build up in my heart.
In 2012, they will both have their license after completing private drivers training tutelage.
And I’m just putting out a preliminary warning to the citizens of this place we call home, Earth…
Hang on to your fishing hats and run for the hills.