Thursday, September 08, 2011

Driving Lesson

And so here I am again, for the fifth time, teaching a 15.5 year old boy how to drive. Over the years I have learned to say "correct" instead of "right," even in everyday discourse. Many statements that are precise to other drivers, such as "take your next right," are ambiguous to non-drivers, who wonder if you mean any break in the curbing, only paved areas, only marked roads, or what? A friend who had an in-garage accident with his son figured out - much too late - that "Stop!" to a driver means stop the car, but to your son, who you have yelled at for years, it means Freeze. Stop whatever you are doing right now.

Which is sometimes not what you want him to do as a driver.

Tonight I was reminded that cut the wheel; cut it hard is ambiguous to a non-driver. No damage, no emergency, just a caution flag for me.

Driving a standard is always an adventure, because understanding the concepts only takes you so far. Your foot and leg muscles have to develop memory through repetition to get the feel for it, and there just isn't any substitute.

It's a good time to remember James Thurber's grandfather, in Chapter 9 of My Life and Hard Times.


Redneck said...

I'm reminded of riding with an Australian driver who, when told to "Pull up a little," put the car in reverse...

Dubbahdee said...

Keep talking. I am taking notes.

(can you believe that my word verification is "notes"?)

Sam L. said...

Assume nothing. Find the largest open expanse of asphalt or concrete you can find.