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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Driving

For as long as I can remember I've hated to write. There were the dreaded compositions in school and of course the book report. That's why I'm so surprised with the progress I've made. Now I'm blogging, I submit articles for the community newspaper and I've joined a writing group in our community. Will the great novel be far behind?

While looking for a theme for our writing group, I saw in a book that you should write about familiar things, such as pets or driving. So, this is what I wrote on my adventures in driving. I try to put a little humor into everything I write. This is how I learned to drive.

I guess I was about 18 when I first attempted to drive. My brother was in Germany as a guest of our Uncle Sam. He begrudgingly agreed to let me learn on his ’54 Chevy which was a stick shift.

One day when we were at my aunt’s home in the “country” I talked my mother into letting me try driving. We went out to the dirt road and went over the routine of a stick shift. Then I was allowed to start the car and suddenly, we were moving. I felt good, unfortunately my mother didn’t agree. All she could see was a tree that was coming closer and closer. She started yelling that I should look out for the tree and turn. Being the sensible and reasonable 18 year old that I was, I stopped the car, got out and refused to go any further. So much for my first lesson.

About three years later I decided to try again. I signed up with a driving school. For my first lesson, I got in the car, started the engine and took off. The instructor gave me directions to Linden Boulevard, a three lane, busy street. I did do better this time, I managed to stay straight, even if I did seem to drive closer to the left side of the road than to the right.

After only six lessons, I decided that I was ready for my license. Ahh, the arrogance and confidence of youth. Of course, I failed. Time for more practice.

I asked everyone I knew to take me out to practice. I tried every type of car – sedan, station wagon. Eventually, I bought a car without a driver’s license and my
boyfriend, future husband, drove. He took me for many practice rides.

One Sunday afternoon, we took one of the back roads in the airport – Idlewild (now JFK). As I drove merrily on my way, I didn’t see the barricade come down as I was passing. All I saw was the barricade a short distance in front of me. Of course, I stopped, because as everyone knows, flashing lights and a lowering barricade means “STOP”.

After a short argument with my boyfriend about whether I should stop or go
ahead, I realized why he was so insistent that I go. Off to my right, there it was – a 707 taxiing down the runway. No, I wasn’t lost, at that time that particular street did cut across a runway, they’ve since changed that traffic pattern.

After cutting a 707 off, I decided I was ready for the test. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Even though there was no one behind me, I couldn’t get out of my parking spot and I screeched the tires on a turn. Even before the test ended, the examiner folded up my test results and put them away. Being the reasonable person that I am, I made a sudden stop and jolted the examiner. Obviously I failed again.

As they say, “The third times a charm”. I finally got my license and have been mobile ever since. I enjoy the freedom that driving gives me. Just give me a destination and the time to get there and I’m in my car.

Anyone for a road trip?

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