Monday, April 16, 2012
There're a bunch of these signs all over my neighborhood, but with my 15 1/2 year old daughter getting her learner's permit, I'm thinking they might have it wrong. Perhaps it should be "Live like my kids drive here" or at least "Drive like my kids drive here".
All I can say about teaching a new driver in a crowded urban environment with steep hills and aggressive, fast, uncourteous drivers (like, um well, me) is, "Holy _____!!!!", where you fill in the blank with your favorite expletive. The two questions that immediately came to mind when sitting in the car with my daughter were, "Was I really that bad when I started learning how to drive?" and "Is it really possible that my parents had the patience and fortitude to deal with me when I was learning how to drive?" Again, all I can say is, "Holy _____!!!!"
The good news is that the law requires that the new driver have 2 hours behind the wheel with a professional instructor before the parents get the "opportunity" to be involved in the learning process. It sets you back some serious money and I wonder how poor folk manage to pay for it, but I've never been more grateful for the "Nanny State" than for that specific piece of legislation (yes, I'm well aware I could've paid for lessons anyway, but honestly, it wouldn't've occurred to me to do so). I'm wondering what the life expectancy of the professional instructors is? Yeah, they got that extra brake pedal on the passenger side (I now wish my car had one of those), but still, the stress alone must take years off of their lives.
Speaking of that extra brake pedal, several people have asked me if I find myself stepping on an imaginary brake pedal as my daughter drives. Not so much, as my hand is on or near the emergency brake that's conveniently directly between the driver and the passenger seat (I haven't actually used it yet). Instead, I find myself stepping on the imaginary gas pedal. If she drove any slower, we could just walk and get there faster. If she doesn't start driving a little faster, it'll be a miracle if we don't get rear-ended. There's already been numerous honks and a few close misses on the rear end of the car.
She's now been driving about 20 hours and she's gotten better enough that I find myself glad to be chauffeured around most of the time. Except when, out of nowhere, one of those unexpected and unusual situations occurs that completely flummox the inexperienced driver whose ensuing lack of judgment causes a near catastrophic situation.
Then all I can say is, "Holy _____!!!!!"