Monday, March 23, 2009

Driver's Ed

Outside my office window, I have a nice view of the parking lots. They're empty today as it is Spring Break, but I noticed one lone van circling the lot. Over and over. I began to get concerned that a slow moving psycho was on the loose and that it wasn't safe to walk to my car. But then I noticed that the van was following the same pattern, over and over. Drive slowly. Stop at the line that says "Staff Parking." Park in a spot. Back out. Circle. Signal. Stop. Ah....someone learning to drive.

I was almost 18 when I got around to taking my driver's test. I took Driver's Ed during the summer, just before I turned 17. It was okay. No disasters (other than the teacher's off-key country singing as we drove), but I didn't really enjoy driving. So, my future car sat. It was old and red. And smelled like vinyl. I wasn't a fan of that old red car so it didn't really motivate me. I wasn't embarrassed enough at having my parents take me too and from school for that to be an incentive. My friend Dawn drove me to all the places I wanted to go, and the people that I baby-sat for always picked me up and brought me home. My dad, aka driving coach, and I butted heads when I was in the driver's seat and usually one of us cried. Okay, the crier was always me. At some point between the time I turned 16 and the time I got my license, the old red car disappeared. It was replaced by a 1986 Buick Century - white with soft burgundy interior. Probably not a real improvement, but by my standards it was. Once I graduated, it began to occur to me that I might need wheels in my new college town. No time left to mess around. I practiced - I guess, I don't really remember - and took my test. I think I bombed parallel parking, but I passed the test. And I stood in the un-airconditioned license office waiting on my picture. By the time it was my turn, my hair was frizzed into a halo around my head and my face was bright red. But, I had my license. I was mobile. Once I started driving, I didn't hate it as much as I thought. That Buick got me through most of college. My senior year it was replaced with a shiny new 1997 Mazda Protege that had 6 miles on it the first time I sat in the driver's seat. When my dad and I picked up my navy blue friend, he'd had them install a 6 disc CD changer as a surprise. I was in business! The Mazda and I spent 9 blissful years together. About a year ago, I was parked next to it in a parking lot. It was mine - I am sure because of the faded Margaritaville sticker in the window. It looked happy.

The van is still out there in the parking lot. Stop. Drive slowly. Signal. Turn. Park.


Keetha said...

Oh the memories - - - my dad was a very patient teacher, but when the shoe was on the other foot and I WAS THE TEACHER for my kids - - - - ah, that teacher and patience? Not so much

Dawn said...

I was more than happy to take you where ever you needed to go! :)

I remember the day you called me all excited to learn about how to do laundry...I'm sure your a pro at that task now days as well. :)