Tuesday, June 19, 2007
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
This past weekend saw your nerd behind the wheel of a car after an exceedingly long hiatus from driving.
Rest assured, reader, it was good. Sure, sometimes it was bad (had Mike-the-instructor not stamped on the brake that one time, the chap who was jaywalking would surely have gotten up close and personal with the car's bumper) but it was mostly excellent.
The car from the driving school pulled into my building's parking lot, covered with bright yellow "WARNING! STUDENT DRIVER!" stickers and with a twitchy female student behind the wheel. The woman emerged from the car, noticeably relieved to hand the vehicle over to--gulp--me. Little did she know. As she took her seat next to a gentleman (the dude later informed me that he wasn't a student but had just tagged along with the chick. Who in the hell tags along on driving lessons? Weak, man. WEAK.) in the back. Mike-the-instructor, who was all belly with matching little stumps for arms and legs, also emerged from the car to help me get situated behind the wheel.
As I slipped into the driver's seat--already having developed a bit of a complex because of those damn friggin' warning stickers--I announced in my most responsible-driver voice, "I just want you three to know that it's been close to a decade since I've driven a car, so I'd wear my seat belt if I was you." They gulped in unison.
Other than that close call with the jaywalker, my tendency to go over the crawlingly slow speed limit of 25 miles per hour ("I'm sorry, I'm sorry," became a constant refrain of mine in the car), and Mike-the-instructor's flatulence (I kid you not. We were forced to roll up the windows because it had started to rain and, oh boy, with that most brutal assault on my olfactory organs, I could barely focus on the road. I'm even tempted to blame the near vehicular manslaughter of the reckless jaywalker on the silent-but-deadly bombs my corpulent instructor kept throwing at me but, alas, I can't. Reckless jaywalker and I share responsibility for that almost-tragedy. Thank goodness it was averted), I learned a lot. Really:
I (re)learned how to drive in a straight line (I'm still trying to get a hang of driving at 25 miles per hour. Between that and the bright yellow sticker, I felt myself return to a place I still hate: third grade gym class). I also learned that being able to drive would make me less dependent on my future husband than I would be otherwise ("Why would I ever depend on my husband for anything," I asked Mike-the-instructor defensively); that female drivers were always a nervous lot, who simply needed a couple of hours of instruction before they became confident enough to drive ("Now that statement, Mike-the-instructor, was among the most chauvinistic I've heard in quite some time. What, are men born clutching driver's licenses??" I demanded); and that Mike-the-instructor would reward me with a "You're a good girl," each and every time I came to a full stop before a stop sign. Shudder.
Anyway, next weekend will see the nerd parallel park, k-turn and drive on a highway. I won't lie: the thought of driving on a highway makes me wet my pants a little with fear. Perhaps I, too, will bring along a friend for the moral support.