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?