Just a heads up to any and all drivers (and pedestrians) out there who value your lives. Younger Son got his learner’s permit, which means he has been on the roads behind the wheel of a vehicle capable of doing serious bodily harm to both people and other vehicles. Not to worry though, as I am with him—although there’s not a whole lot I can do if he suddenly decides playing chicken with a train is a good idea. It’s not like I have a set of brakes or a steering wheel on my side of the car. But I can at least yell, “Look out!”
The burden of teaching all the teenagers who have ever lived in our house to drive has mostly fallen to me, as Hubby, the fearless fighter pilot who trained innumerable newbie pilots how to fly high-powered airplanes, is too nervous to get in a car with a teenager at the wheel. And Hubby’s mere presence makes them nervous, which is not a good way for inexperienced drivers to learn.
So, Younger Son and I have been cruising the streets trying to avoid hitting anything important. You’d think after teaching three other teenagers and surviving an accident with Older Son driving with his learner’s permit in which our car was T-boned (his fault), teaching the last one would be a piece of cake. To be truthful, Younger Son is doing fairly well, although his stopping twenty feet before a stop sign where he can’t see the cross street in front of him has got to change. I’m not complaining, mind you, as he is at least stopping at stop signs. He also makes a complete stop in the middle of the road before turning, whether or not there are any other cars coming, which I’m sure irritates the fool out of the drivers behind him.
Younger Son also likes to drive slow in the passing lane. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for him going slow. It’s just that after a parade of cars passes us on the right to get around him, I kind of want to crawl under the seat. As it is, I just ignore the dirty looks and obscene gestures. I pointed out to him the other day that the left lane was for the faster traffic, but changing lanes is burdensome to him, so he prefers to pick one lane and stay there, oblivious to obstructing traffic flow. That is, except for the times he decides that crossing three lanes of traffic for no apparent reason seems like a good idea.
To add to the mystery that constitutes Younger Son, his driving speeds are not consistent. He zooms down John Sims Parkway at 50 miles per hour (where the speed limit is 35), while coasting along Lewis-Turner Blvd. at 30 (where the speed limit is . . . well, I’m not sure what it is, but I generally get away with 65). I’m trying hard to teach him not to follow in Hubby’s footsteps and accelerate when he sees brake lights or a red light up ahead. Alas, some ingrained lessons are hard to break. Younger Son also has this weird habit of accelerating and then tapping the brake, which I’m sure is also an irritant to drivers behind us, not to mention the wear and tear on our brakes. Plus, he loves to regale me with all the stupid things his friends with drivers’ licenses do. In retrospect, letting him ride with other teenage drivers may not have been the best idea.
All was going well until I realized my A.C. was not working properly in my car. Having taught Older Son to drive in a car with no A.C. in the middle of the summer was not fun. I referred to his vehicle as the rolling sauna death mobile. I would come home and have to shower and change clothes after driving with him. But it was a small price to pay for not teaching him to drive in one of our cars. Now, however, I’m too old to put up with such discomfort at this point in my life, besides the fact that Younger Son does not yet have a clunker of his own. I tried to ignore the A.C. problem for as long as I could, but I finally had to admit that blowing hot air in August was not acceptable. Particularly as Younger Son does not like to drive with the windows open. I suppose it would mess up his hair. So, after learning from the Ford dealership that it would be October before they could get my car in, I threw myself at the mercy of Robert at Twin Cities Auto, who graciously took care of me. I owe him my first born. I wonder if he’d take him.
I kind of want one of those stickers on my car that says, “Please Be Patient. Student Driver.” But I don’t want to be driving around with that sticker on my car for the next twenty years. On second thought, as I am a senior citizen with progressively slower reflexes, maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Anyway, now that I’ve warned you that Younger Son is armed and dangerous with a vehicle, I would be happy (for a small fee) to send out a mass text when Younger Son and I hit the road. You’re welcome.