Sunday, March 19, 2006

Driving Me Crazy

It's late afternoon and the tournament is over. Whew! The only members of our family remaining at the school are River and myself. The last of the kitchen was clean, the mats were rolled up, trash gathered from all the bleachers, the money counted and handed over. It had been a long day and I was looking forward to getting home. So I say, "River, do you want to drive honey?" The quick answer didn't surprise me, of course he did. I remind him that its a standard, Dad took the suburban, so we are left with Den's work truck. "No problem", He exclaims.

We head outside and I remember that I parked in the center of a crater full of muddy water. There wasn't a lot of choices, so I took whatever spot I could get without walking a country mile. River and I laughed at how ridiculous the choice seemed when you don't see any other vehicles around. I know if it had been me and I had saw a small truck parked in the middle of a muddy lake with the lot vacant, I would have had all sorts of thoughts about the intelligence of that driver...LOL So we waded through the puddle and climbed inside.

I decide that I am going to give as LITTLE advice as I can. I don't want him to feel like I am judging every shift, but secretly I am curious as to how this is going to play out. As River starts the engine with his foot on the clutch I remind him that the art of driving a stick is the smooth transition of the gas and the clutch. He lets me know, "Yah Yah I know, Dad and I have been working on this." I smile and say, "Good good." So we have to reverse it in order to pull out of this awkward spot, and as we begin to go backwards we get the herky-jerkies, and again I say nothing, but I do giggle. He says, "Don't worry, I just need to get the feel of it." So he is now pulling out backwards and we are gaining a LOT of speed, and so I say, "Okay already, stop and lets try driving forward now." So he starts to let me know why this was mandatory and I say, " never drive in reverse any longer then you have to son." Which brings me to another lesson I have learned. Now I don't know why, but when you are with a new student driver and you tell them to stop, it takes an eternity, I haven't been able to wrap my mind around this, but it seems to be a fact. Like for instance, we *clearing throat* He had ran over something and it was making the vehicle wobble a bit so I said, "River you need to stop, something is wrong Babe." He says, " Oh okay", but we are continuing to truck on down the road at 55 mph , so I say, "Riv, STOP." He said, "I am!" I respond, "No, this isn't an airplane and last time I checked the brakes worked relatively quickly." Which he responds with, "screeeeeeech", (which is the sound of the rubber tires screaming for their life) and now we have came to a complete stop in under 3 seconds, it was amazing really, and I thought I had even heard an announcement that said, "In case of an emergency, your seat will turn into a flotation device. " I rolled my eyes, let out a sigh, and said, " Could we NOT find a middle ground there....holy cow!" Then we both laughed.

So anyway, as we are now gaining speed in the forward position heading towards the grocery store, we have had a few gear shifts to get us up to the legal limit, and I tease him that we may need to buy neck braces and/or helmets for the safety of the family. (I crack myself up.) Even though I am not relaxed and enjoying this whiplashing ride, I can certainly find humor in it. After all, he is still learning. Put him in an automatic, and its smooth like buttah, so I am trying to give a LOT of leeway considering its a stick. Luckily he has a great sense of humor and he can laugh just as much at himself as I like to...hehe

Kind of sad that my big boy is about to gain some crazy independence, but also rubbing my hands together and fantasizing about the day I can say, "Ohhhh little ERRAND boy?"


steff81 said...

Ahh Standard stories! I learned how to drive with an automatic. I swore I'd never learn to drive a standard. My dad (an excellent standard driver) always asked me what I'd do if he was driving and he had a heart attack in a standard. I just told him that he'd die. Oh little did I know that God had something in mind for me. I had a car accident and the only car I could drive was..yep you guessed it. That was the most humiliating three weeks of my life. Finally I got the hang of it and the peeling out stopped and I didn't die at too many lights. I can look back on it now, but at the time it was torture. So now I'm in favor of all kids having to learn to drive a standard!

Trina said...

Hey Steff,
I totally agree, I think its important too. River wasnt excited at all at first, but then Dad said what if someone throws their keys at you and tells you to go move their truck, how are you going to feel as a man someday to have to say you don't know how. That was it, he was behind the wheel.

Nicki said...

I learned how to drive in a car that was a standard too. I'm glad I have that knowledge too.

I could sooo envision the ride you took! The long braking time, the whiplash...LOL!

Mike said...

I remember those daughter seemed to catch on to driving a stick shift a little quicker than my son.

Neurotic Mom said...

I'm so glad i don't have to worry about that for a few years yet and daddy will be the one teaching the driving lol

Pirate said...

We are with you on this one. My youngest son is going though the same stage. He wants to drive all the time and my blood pressure goes up when he does. we live in a city so I have my eyes peeled at all times.

Joe said...

I agree about the importance of learning to drive a standard (and it's a lot more fun to drive). Once they master than, an automatic is a snap.

Anyway, I remember how tough it was when my father gave constant advice as I drove, and that's why I kept my mouth shut (other than in dire emergencies) when my daughter was learning to drive. I'm glad to see that you two are able to keep your sense of humor through the process.

Kim's Life said...

Trina I have to say your family looks wonderful. I love reading everything your family gets up to. Doesnt matter were you live the children are the same. Keep up the good work:)