Friday, January 26, 2007

Jeebus Take The Wheel

DemiGoddess the Elder took driver’s ed class at the high school last fall. At the end of the quarter, she passed the written permit test, and after that I took her to our neighborhood licensing bureau to get her driver's permit card. We filled out forms. She had her picture taken.

So you’d think it would have occurred to me that now I am supposed to take her driving. In MY CAR. And actually LET HER DRIVE MY CAR.

Somehow, though, the reality of the situation didn’t set in until her card arrived in the mail. Turns out, it's much harder to live in denial when one is staring at a photo of one’s child on a lerner’s permit.

I told her, sure, I’ll take you driving. Just as soon as you’ve had your behind the wheel training. It sounded perfectly logical at the time, but was really just a desperate stall tactic as I put forth a monumental effort to hide the fact that I was completely freaking out.

I said, since it’s the holidays and all, maybe wait to schedule your first lesson until January.

Because, you know. January will never come.

Except that here it is, January, and she had her first behind the wheel session yesterday after school. When I asked her how it went, she said it had been fine. She was too scared to go on the busy streets, but she did get up to 30 mph on the side streets, which felt really fast. And she hadn’t hit anything, so that was good. Then she said her instructor would be calling me later that evening. Apparently she’s supposed to have been practicing already, and I have wasted my money by allowing her to take behind the wheel training before she’s had any driving experience.

“Yah,” the guy said when the call came. “She needs a lot more practice. Take her over to the school on a weekend and have her drive around the parking lot, then. She needs to be able to go on those busy streets before I take her out again, doncha know.”

I was being chastised by what sounded like a 150-year-old driving teacher from Lake Wobegon. Sheepishly, I thought, I know. I can do that. We’ll just start slow. It will be fine.

Then he said, “She needs to learn to look right when she’s turning right, and look left when she’s turning left."

Wait, what? She needs to learn that?

When Demi the Elder was a toddler, I bought her one of those Playskool Tyke Bike riding toys. The day I bought it, I eagerly set it on the sidewalk for her, and she toddled over, turned around, and plopped her diapered butt down on the seat. Backwards.

I learned an important parenting lesson that day—Do not to take for granted that some things will be obvious. As in, when you sit on the riding toy, you’re supposed to face the handlebars.

And, similarly, when you're driving the car, you’re supposed to look left when you’re turning left, and right when you’re turning right. Okay then.

But the thing is, a Honda Civic can do considerably more damage than a plastic riding toy. And, my car may be old, but I only have the one.

And, seriously. Where the hell was she looking?


Miss T said...

Oh, this is a scary story. Good luck!

Amy said...

Ay yi yi. You're scaring me. Did you see Roadguy's blog (Jim, who sat by you at the shower) today?

EverydaySuperGoddess said...

You mean this?

Yeah, fortunately, I am too poor to get Ms. Elder a cell phone, and she is not permitted to take the iPod out of the house.

Also, I knew that discouraging her from having friends would pay off eventually.

Demigoddess the Elder said...

"Da WHEEL!!!
Ya gotta stop lookin' at da WHEEL!!!"

Seriously, he screamed that at me like, fifty times. I barely ever actually looked ath the wheel...

Lin said...

Too funny...and freaky. I remember so very well when my eldest was getting her license and all the behind the wheel drives, her father and I taking it in turn. Short straw had to go with her. I routinely would say, YOU DO SEE THE FREAKING STOP SIGN, RIGHT???? It's like she'd see a stop sign, or red light and put her foot on the gas. ACK. Good luck, m'dear.

jo(e) said...

What a great post.

Yep, it's scary when they learn to drive. I've survived the first two getting their licenses, but now my son Shaggy Hair Boy just turned 16 last week and will soon be getting his permit ....

Connie said...

Good luck with this! My 2 oldest each had an accident after getting their licenses. No one was hurt, just the vehicle...the parking lot practice time is great because there is so much room to figure out the manuveuring. I think the worst part is the insurance rate jump!

rob said...

Your mention of her driving instructor coming from Lake Wobegon gave me visions of Garisson Kealer drawling instructions as scripted by R. Lee Ermie's Drill Instructor in Full Metal Jacket.

"You'll never get your license executing...(sigh...breathy soto voce)...three point turns like that. You take three point turns like (sigh)...old people fuck."

John said...

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