One reason my stomach is too knotted to eat!

May 16, 2012
Do self-destructive behaviors constitute insanity? If they do, I think I have it! I took my youngest son, Thomas, to get his drivers permit. We had to make four trips because they kept running out of numbers before 3:00 in the afternoon. (I can just imagine what it will be like when the government is running my health care, too…”Just take a number and if you bleed on anyone else, you might be arrested for assault. Oh, there aren’t any numbers? Well, you’ll have to come back after the Columbus Day long weekend and you’ll have to get here before noon if you hope to be treated.”)
But I digress. I’ve taught my six older children to drive. It’s horrible. I have to consciously summon my zen so that I don’t bark out in fear and startle him.
Yesterday I took him to a big park with nice empty parking lots after school.
I wanted him to get the feel for steering, and to learn how to park between the lines. It’s harder than it seems!
He knew to accept my instruction humbly and to be resolutely obedient. (That might have had something to do with the lecture I gave him right after he got his permit and I let him drive in our neighborhood. He argued with me about the need to use a turn signal at a tee, and lost the day’s driving priviledges.)
The essential difficulty in teaching a teenager to drive, is that they’re just at the age when they think they know everything. It’s like living with the embodiment of Wikipedia on steroids. I am not sure if I can convince a kid that age of anything if my life depended on it. And whaddaya know? My life does depend on it!
After going through it six times, I knew to lay down the law. No radios. No temperature adjustments while moving. No sightseeing. And you’ll never drive a car I own again if I find out you were texting, reading texts or responding to your phone while driving. I know I’m oblivious when I’m on the phone and you can’t convince me that the fellow careening around the construction pylons in front of me while talking on his cell isn’t also.
I was listening to a radio show about using a cell phone and driving at the same time several years ago. A driver called from his car to brag about his ability to drive and talk perfectly safely at the same time. All of a sudden, the radio listeners hear a crash and a long pause. “Oh *&^%$!” the caller finally said.
“Was that what it sounded like?” the talk show host asked.
“I have to call you back,” the caller said as he hung up.

(It’s also not safe to drive while laughing hysterically.)

To be fair, Thomas did very well. He’s naturally cautious and I think that will carry over into his driving. That doesn’t mean that my legs won’t get stiff from pushing imaginary brakes, my stomach won’t knot, and my arms won’t fly up protectively over my face.
I need to keep reminding myself that if I live through this one last student, I’ll likely live as long as my grandmothers. One was 96 and the other was almost 98. But then again, they only had three kids apiece. And I don’t think either of them taught their children to drive.
Do you suppose I’m pushing my luck? I must be insane!

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1 Comment

  • Reply MMC May 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    If you survived the previous 6 without killing them or yourself, Thomas will be a piece of cake.

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