Friday, September 29, 2006

The Driving Lesson Story - Part I

Well, after my exciting Learners Permit Story, I promised the follow-up Driving Lesson Story and Driver's License Story. This is part one of the Driving Lessons story.

In today's circles, youngsters enroll in driving school when they are practically bursting out of their diapers, and if not then they learn to drive in high school (I think). Getting your License is an expected thing, a wanted thing, and a needed thing. This was not the case for me. It was not needed per se. I grew up in Montreal, which had one of the best transportation systems, well connected, so it never took very long to get anywhere, and was usually pretty effortless (or at least it was from what I can recall about 20 years ago; it may have depleted since then, or maybe it depleted because I left). No matter.

My Sweetie and I eventually moved to Toronto where, again, I didn't need a Driver's License since we lived very close to the transit system, albeit not comparable to Montreal system, but satisfactory nonetheless. There was always the idea that our first house would not be in the city, that we would end up in the burbs, hence it would become necessary for me to be able to drive. So, I contacted a reputable driving school for lessons. I was a keener to take lessons (note - I was always a keener when it came to school, even through university), and I was ready and very excited.

The first night was an eye opener for me. The room was packed with people. There were kids everywhere. Maybe they were 14 or 15 years old (I was about 30 at the time - an old broad lady to these kids). There were a few people around my age (emphasis on a few). We stood out like sore thumbs. We got through the orientation, were given reading material, and were adjourned until next class.

The following week, after my workday downtown, I made my way uptown, to attend my night school class. The doors never opened early, so after dinner, I waited outside the building, waited for the door to open, and watched. The kids arrived, driven by their parents. This was an affluent part of the city, and the kids arrived in BMW, Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Porsche, Audi, Caddys, you name it; it was a showroom of the types of vehicles these young kiddies would one day probably be driving. My jaw dropped. I love all of these types of cars, and never in a million years would I ever be able to own one of them, and here they were parading in front of me like a carrot on a silver platter. (Note my first car was a Pontiac Phoenix...I'll have to scan a picture of that sucker one day).

So, after wiping the drool from my lip, the classroom door had opened, and we all went inside. The kiddies arrived, after they had obviously eaten at McDonald's. Why obviously? Well, they each had their drink container with them. The drink was finished, but the glasses were filled with ice. All during the class, these kids would chomp away on the ice (mouth open for full effect) - (imagine dental bills for cracked teeth).

Of course the regular kiddy chit chat, and date arrangements continued throughout class time. At times you could not even hear the instructor.

After the chomping ice came the toys. These kids had little wind up toys (probably from the Happy Meal) that they would wind up and send flying across the classroom floor. The toys also made little noises, so the visual toy was accompanied by the zinging zipping effect. The teacher, with the patience of Job, never blinked an eye, never said a word. He just taught the lesson, and ignored all of this.

Now, I have to think that this went on for a number of weeks, since I think it was a 4-week or 6-week course, at the end of which my nerves were totally frayed. I can't even imagine how the instructor managed, but he did. Every week.

Of course, I passed the written part of the course, but there was also the practical driving part, and this has yet to be blogged.

Stay tuned for Part deux.


Anonymous said...

Montreal was diminished by your departure, but its transit system continued to be (and still is) so effective and cost-efficient and accessible that I went 46 years, as you know, without needing a car.

At the age of about 30, as you were when taking your course, I'm pretty sure I would have SHOUTED at all those bratty brats in class to SHUT UP. I would have stomped on their Happy Meal toys.

I was pretty cranky around 30. Come to think of it, I'm still cranky, so those kids wouldn't have lasted a minute with me.

Good stories... looking forward to Part Deux of Le Driving (portion pratique)!

Anonymous said...

why the heck didn't the teacher tell those kids to shut the hell up and put their damned toys away??


masgblog said...

terry - I don't know why the instructor didn't say anything, but then you know the old advice...ignore them and they will stop?

Many weeks later...they did...stop that is.