Thursday, July 19, 2012

Her Imaginary Passenger Side Brake

This week for the Thursday Blog Project, Sara asked us to write about: Who taught you how to drive? And, what sort of experiences did you have as a new driver on the road?

A month and a half before my 14th birthday my dad died. When I was 15 my brother was at college. How are these two things related and relevant to this topic you wonder? Well, because of these two fact this left my mom as the person who would have to teach me to drive. (Even until this day I chuckle inside when I think about it.)

My mom. My wonder mom who was working hard to take care of me on her own (bless her!) was the one who would have to teach me how to drive. From the start, I knew this was not going to be easy for her to do; we both knew it wasn't going to be an easy experience. This type of stuff was left up to my dad. He was the one who had the patience to get in the car with an inexperienced driver and teach them what they needed to do. He was the one who taught my brothers how to drive. But he was no around when it was my turn to learn and, like many things during that period of time, mom and I would need to get through it the best we know how to.

Put simply, there were a lot of arguments about my driving abilities, and mom seemed to stomp on her imaginary passenger side brake many, many, many times. The incident that sticks out most in my mind during this period of time happened when we were on our way home from work one day (on my breaks I worked at the women's clothing shop that she managed). It was me, mom and the shop's seamstress, Bea. I didn't brake at the very moment mom felt I needed to and she got upset at me for it. Bea, came to my defense.

I don't begrudge my mom for any of this. As I mentioned above, she did the best she knew how. What I loved most about this experience is that mom knew when it was time pay someone to teach me to drive. She knew her limitations and that having someone one else teach me would not only be the best thing for me, but also the best thing for our relationship.

I couldn't get my license on my 16th birthday. I hadn't finished Driver's Education class so that held me back. When I did final finish the class I went to get my license. I failed the test because I jumped a corner as I was pulling back into the parking lot where the DMV was located. At the time my mom had a Chevy Caprice Classic boat car and I misjudged the amount of room. I was DEVASTATED!!! That following May when my brother came home from college I took the test again with his car. He had a small compact car (I believe it was a Ford). Thankfully not knowing what direction to turn your wheels when parking on a hill is not a deal breaker on a driving test. Aside from that one mistake, I did great and passed! I was THRILLED!!!!

When I look back to that period of time, I laugh at all the things that seemed like such a big deal that are now so common to me. For instance:

• The first time I got onto the expressway on my own. I was so freakin' proud of myself as I hadn't much time driving on the expressway while I was learning to drive.

• Parallel Parking. It took me FOREVER to learn how to do this with confidence.

• Getting Lost. I have to say, my sense of direction wasn't as good as it is now.

These are just a few driving things that are no longer a HUGE deal to me - like they use to be.

I can't believe it's been 20 years since I've had my license. I've surely had my fair share of driving experience and hope that I will always look back on the experience of learning to drive as a humor experience as I do today.


Now that I have talked about my experiences with learning to drive, please take a moment to see what my fellow bloggers have to say about their experiences:

Merryland Girl (Melissa)

Momarock (Sara)

Mom of Many (Susanna)


  1. I liked reading this. I felt like I was in the car with you and your mom. I don't remember ever talking with you about when you got your license. You got yours before I got mine anyway, so I probably didn't notice since we weren't really doing much that involved driving when we were sophomores anyway. GREAT POST!

  2. I agree with Melissa, I felt like I was right there going through the experiences! I think it's funny how your mom stomped her foot in your car on her imaginary break. LOL.