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Driving me to Drink

She's ready to drive, but am I?

I took Savannah to get her permit today.  Part of me was hoping she’d fail her test so I could put off teaching her to drive for just a little longer.  But unfortunately, she passed.  I mean, yay!  She passed her test and got her permit!  I’m so proud!

I guess I’ve had it easy with Austin who will be seventeen in a couple months.  He doesn’t have his permit, nor does he have any real desire to drive.  Maybe I should encourage him to get his permit, but I figure the longer he waits, the less insurance will cost and the more mature he’ll be when he starts driving.  Savannah, on the other hand, is more like I was when I was her age.  She’s just chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel.

My dad taught me how to drive. We went to the big, empty parking lot of a college near our house. I don’t remember my mom taking me out driving often. Now I think I know why. It’s freaking scary! My mom knocked a Fred Flintstone-like hole in the floorboard, trying to use the non-existent passenger side brake. Tonight, I did the same thing. I also caused some nerve damage in my right hand from gripping the door so tightly. It’s okay; I’m starting to get feeling back in my hand this evening. Tingling is a good sign, right?

Savannah did a fine job. She drove around the parking lot for a while, she practiced parking and backing up, and then she drove the couple blocks home on the little side streets. I, on the other hand, didn’t do such a great job. I mean, I pretty much stayed calm and kept my cool even when she hit the curb, but inside I was fuh-reak-ing out. People make mistakes when they’re learning something new. It happens. But, in the case of driving, making a mistake could cost you, and/or others, your lives. That’s some serious stuff.

I think part of the reason I’m having such a hard time with this whole driving thing is because I have a huge car. I mean, I drive the “church van”! It’s a big ole Chevy Express 200 passenger van! It’s hard to manuever and park. There are many blind spots. It was an adjustment when I started driving this van and I was an experienced driver.

I know, in my mind, that the only way for her to learn is to practice. The only way for her to gain the experience and wisdom required to be a good, defensive driver, is by putting in many hours of driving practice. I know this in my mind. But my gut? Well, my gut says, “Pull over so I can throw up! Here! Pull over here! Slow down! Watch out for that armadillo in the road! Ohmygosh, did you hit it? Pull over now! Don’t hit the curb! Put it in park! Park, not reverse! Aaarrgh!”

And then I blow up like Mrs. Puff.

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