Monday, June 18, 2007

On Driving, and MS #14

Thanks to Robyn --and the Phantom Matrix--I have a blog idea this morning.

I have lots of memories surrounding the summer I learned to drive. Most of them are good, some are pretty funny. I remember my parents had a 1983 Ford LTD, the first brand-new car I can remember them owning. It was a light blue color with that super-fancy white leather-type trim around the back windows. I can remember my mother backing the car out of the garage because I was too scared to attempt it. I can remember just driving forward and backing up along a 100-foot strip of the driveway, over and over, until I felt confident enough to pull up to the front of the house. Then mom said "Okay, put on the brake" and I stepped on the gas.

VROOM! That LTD flew into the yard, straight at a giant maple tree. Mom did her now-infamous whoop (a great noisy sucking in of air) and I ran right into... the birdhouse.

I don't remember the immediate after, except that mom had to back the car back onto the driveway where it belonged and dad had an afternoon's work ahead straightening up that post. But at least I didn't hit the tree, right?


Anyway, after I got my first accident out of the way, I took to driving reasonably well. My mother perfected her whoops while I perfected my maneuvering skills. Only when I'd gotten all the basics down did dad get in the car. He taught me to parallel park.

Parallel parking is an extremely useful skill; one they don't put much emphasis on anymore at driving school (or so I've heard). Dad took me to the busiest street in town, cars honking all around me and said, "Park it!" followed by "What the hell are you doing?" followed by "Well, the manual's wrong. Turn your wheel this way..."

Thanks to dad, I'm still a kick-ass parallel parker. In fact, I think that's the only reason I passed my driver's test the first time. All my other sibs had to take it twice. (Yeah, I'm cool.)

Anyhow, on to the Monday Sparks, #14:

Setting: A car. A young person learning to drive. A parent in the passenger seat. Tell me what happens.

1 Comment:

Robyn said...

Oh, man. The first time I ever drove a stick shift, my brother MADE me drive it home in rush hour Dallas traffic. I cried. I still hate standards.

Can you believe the new cars that can now parallel park themselves??