Tuesday, October 10, 2006
The Driving Lesson Story - Part II
This is the follow-up Driving Lesson Story, complete with another set of bizarre circumstances. Please keep in mind that this was a reputable driving school, not just Mike's drivin' school.
I had managed to complete the classroom requirements for the driving course. The chomping ice and the kiddy toys were behind me now. I just had to survive the practical driving experience, including highway driving, or perhaps the highway would need to survive me. And I was terrified. I had driven the small back roads with my Dad, but the h-i-g-h-w-a-y was a totally different thing.
I don't remember all of the details, but I was scheduled for a number of road sessions before I could take the exam. My instructor showed up for my first lesson. Nice guy from Jamaica, man. There was a plan of attack, whereby we would first run through the logistics of the car itself.....where things were and how to use them and when. Then, as in Steppenwolf lyrics, (get your motor runnin') get out on the highway. So, after the preliminaries, I drove us to the highway and tried to accelerate the car up the ramp so that I could merge us onto the highway....at a whopping speed of 30kph. I remember that I was being told to speed up, speed up, but my foot was frozen in one place, and I was afraid of pushing the accelerator pedal. I think that once we got onto the highway, I managed to get the speed up to 80kph or something like that. It was very embarrassing.
The next set of lessons were conducted in the nearby neighborhood, and I use that term loosely. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned the apartment on the 21st floor. This locale was next to a rather unsavory part of town. There were cars parked on the lawns, cars on cinder blocks, junk everywhere on the lawns and streets, houses with broken windows and temporary doors. It was scary to me. But the scariest part happened during one of the test drives. The instructor had forgotten to put the student driver sign on top of the car. There was a bunch of black dudes kicking a basketball in the middle of the street, and they wouldn't get out of the way. They stood there, and faced the car. I was driving, and now had a very sick feeling in my stomach. To these guys, the car contained a white chick with a Jamaican guy, not an instructor and student. The instructor got out of the car to talk with them. There was a bit of a scuffle as I recall, but no punching, and eventually, he returned to the car and the group moved to the side to allow us to pass. All I wanted to do at that point was to go home and hide under my blankie.
The rest of the practical was uneventful, and I eventually passed everything. It certainly wasn't a typical experience, but I survived.