Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How I learned to drive

Actually there are two parts to this story: 1. Driving Lessons, and 2. Driving Practice.

As for learning, there wasn't that much to it. I knew beyond a doubt that I didn't want my parents teaching me. My mother was a self-avowed non-teacher, and my father drove like a maniac -- and I don't mean that in a good way. Not like one of the colorful Italian maniacs I was discussing yesterday, but more like a general, all-purpose, universal, one-size-fits-all, certifiable maniac. A hazard to humankind all over the globe for the entire span of his career. I don't say that out of disrespect, but out of respect for the truth. People can have their faults, but after a certain point it's one's duty to warn others.

I could say a lot of good things about him, but at the moment the topic is driving. My mother tells a story about a Neapolitan traffic tangle in which a madman leaps out of another car and prances around my parents' car in a rage, wielding a hatchet. Even the first time I heard the story, my reaction was that the man probably had a good reason.

When I was about 32 he ran a stop sign through a busy street with me in the passenger seat. I looked to my right to see three lanes of cars screeching to a halt beside me. Pop didn't notice, but continued merrily through the intersection without a scratch.

I suddenly realized for the first time that I had a choice. I don't know why it took me that long. I made a silent vow never again to ride in a car that he was driving. I never told him that -- it would have hurt his feelings -- I just silently arranged it.

Next I'll do part one, Driving Lessons, and after that I'll do part 2, Driving Practice. Part 2 is a little hairy -- some of you may want to close your eyes.

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At 5:36 AM, Blogger Dale said...

Okay. (Taking a deep breath in preparation for the harrowing part. We're teaching my teenage son to drive, right now.)

"I could say a lot of good things about him, but at the moment the topic is driving." -- made me laugh out loud :-)

At 11:37 AM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Good, because when people laugh (outwardly or inwardly) I feel like I’m doing my job. Good luck with teaching your kid. Maybe you can take some tips from some of my experiences. Like, try not to gasp and clutch the dashboard. More about that in my next post.

For an answer to your comment of yesterday, see yesterday, but wait till tomorrow.

At 3:28 AM, Anonymous texican mexican said...

Wow Kate - this is a trip down memory lane. Judging from the reaction of my recently-visiting daughter to MY driving, I think I might have inherited the Pop driving gene! Oh no! Only I seemed to have also inherited his abiding guardian angel that has kept him out of any accidents (fatal ones, anyway).
I'm waiting for the next installment- your sister, the Texican Mexican

At 4:25 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Well, Miss Texi-Mexi: Maybe you’d like to share with the nice people of blogland – how did YOU learn to drive? Did you have Pop teach you? Maybe that would explain a few things.
On the other hand, isn’t it the self-appointed duty of one’s offspring to be horrified at everything their parents do / wear / say? Soon as they “turn” during adolescence they get all uppity. Think they know something. Most likely that’s what you’re dealing with here.
Is this not the very kid who’s due here in Portland tomorrow night? I’ll fix her -- take her out for the ride of her life. Make you look good. She’ll never sass you again.


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