Friday, December 30, 2005

Driving Me Crazy

Please congratulate me. I am now the proud father of a bouncing new driver!

For the past 6 weeks my son has been taking his driver's ed classes and this week on his 15th birthday he received his learner's permit. How very excited now are we to get behind the wheel and drive. Drive to the store, drive to the bank, drive anywhere! Drive to places he would never dare suggest before. "Mom, don't you think it's about time I had a haircut?"

But I understand. This is a very special time in a teenager's life - a coming of age, rite of passage, passing of the keys! Unfortunately for us as parents, this newly educated "road scholar" now apparently knows more than we do.

No sooner had he come home from his first night of classroom instruction when suddenly we are the ones who need more training. How wonderful it is to be reminded that I didn't come to a full stop, or if I did, I didn't stop behind the wide white pedestrian line. How thankful I am that he is there to help me remember to signal my lane changes and keep a full 3 second gap between me and the car in front.

Even still, he is doing a pretty good job, for someone who's never driven before. And that's what really intrigues me. I find it very odd that armed with only a few weeks of classroom instruction, a kid can take a written test and immediately climb behind the wheel of a car - with no previous operational experience whatsoever. In fact technically, he shouldn't have had any because that would have meant that he had been driving somehow illegally. A fun conundrum for a logical and paranoid dad like me.

But that didn't stop me from taking him to a secluded parking lot the night before his test. I at least wanted him to learn that the gas pedal was the one on the right and that "R" means "Reverse", not "Rev it up." And, being the Minnesotans that we are, I absolutely HAD to teach him how to stop on ice. For those of you who have never experienced this before, this is the
phenomenon of pressing on the brake pedal only to have your car go faster. Just slightly unnerving.

All in all he's doing fine. Still driving a little too slow and still crowding the right shoulder. Something about approaching semi-trucks on a narrow two lane county highway still makes him nervous. But I'm glad to have him at the ready, because little does he know how quickly after he gets his license he's going to be sick of taking his sister to piano lessons and running over to the grocery store for eggs and picking up his brother from football practice.

Ahhhh, only 11 more months to go.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Too funny----I loved it!!!!