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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Remember When...? by Terrified Guest Blogger Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Think back to those "Golden Days of Yesteryear", (or "Yesterday" for young 'un, FM), when you were taking that first step from adolescence to young adulthood. What do you recall as the transitioning event that signaled your alleged maturation? Was it actually having someone that admitted to being your first girl/boyfriend? Was it earning the big money from your after-school job? Do you think it's different for girls and boys?

Speaking for myself, that big signal of being "grown" was when I was first starting to drive a car. The thing is, though I don't remember being all that big-headed about it. Driving allowed me to get back and forth to my less than minimum wage earning, grease pit cleaning, bus boy job. It was functional. Now, my little brother has been taking $6,000,000 driving lessons this summer offered by the driving experts at SEARS. Of course, after 12 classroom meetings of 2 hours each and 8 trips behind the wheel with 1 hour as driver and 1 hour as observer, my little brother is now The Universally Recognized Messiah of The U.S. Transportation Network! This dude knows it all!

After all this extensive training, he is still supposed to get completely unnecessary (according to him) road experience driving with me. I even had to go to a class to learn how to be both his non-judgmental and supportive "driving coach." So we loaded up the family vehicle. Little Bro was doing fairly well with his driving distances and awareness of traffic signs, etc. for the first 15 minutes. During the next 30 minutes, we took a drive through our city and headed to the bank. I asked him to execute a left turn at an intersection from a complete stop, (execute being the operative word, as you read on!), and thus began the Domino Effect. A guy behind us Honked! - Little Bro failed to look right! - Little Bro Panicked! - Little Bro floored it! - Little Bro didn't see the oncoming 300 ton municipal bus careening our way! - "Non-judgmental and supportive" Big Bro driving coach, (me), seeing that I was about to become significantly intimate with a diesel engine cam shaft, screamed out, "BUUUUUUSSSS!!!!!" - Little Bro swerved dramatically still further in front of Sandra Bullock! - Little Bro lectured, "Don't Yell At Me! That's NOT At All Supportive!!!" - Big Bro said, "Get out of the way of the bus!" - The barreling 55 mph bus switched lanes to avoid us! - Little Bro pulled in the bank parking lot! - Big Bro collected his wits! - Big Bro drove home! - Little Bro sulked! So we're still patching that up.

What are your memories of learning to drive?


Nonny Nu said...

Well, I remember driving over MonkeyPig's left foot (good thing she couldn't draw with it anyway).

But, dude, that's just the way kids drive. Little Bro got nervous and floored it. Sometimes, Little Sis gets nervous and stepped on the brakes. Either way, they don't end up doing what they are supposed to do. I guess he just needs a little more time. I've been coached by Mr. Nonny Nu on highway driving, street driving, and cross-country driving, and I think I'm a pretty good driver now. But it just takes practice and a couple times of getting yelled at and left at a Carl's Jr. in Colorado to hitch a ride home on own, that's all.

Jackie Stewart said...

my dad was a superintendent for a cotton co-op warehousing plant. i'd spend summers with him, and weekends were reserved pretty much for visiting the plant and having all sorts of fun, getting into all sorts of trouble. this place was huge--had about fifty warehouses (each of which were prolly 175' x 75'), industry hydraulic presses, railroad docks (usually with railroad cars filled with cotton), ~50 forklifts, runoff pits stocked with fish, frogs, rabbits, flora fauna, much of which fell prey to my .22 rifle (yes, i ate the frogs' legs).

anyway, here i am ten years old with this kick-ass go kart (couple years later, i switched from the go kart to whatever work truck was sitting around), going like hell all over the plant. dad stayed at the front office, normally imbibing with whatever girlfriend he chose to bring out for the weekend, so the place was mine.

what i remember a lot about driving around that place is how eerie it was without anyone around. there were all sorts of things to drive into (e.g., warehouses, cotton bales, fatal dropoffs, etc.) so i really had to be on the alert. but what i never got used to was turning corners around the warehouses. i had to proceed with utmost caution, although i was supposedly the only one out there. (hey, sometimes foremen would come out there on the weekends if they saw the gate was open. i wouldn't know if they were driving around the plant, and i didn't really want to end up kissing one of their bumpers head on in a go kart while hauling ass around a blind corner.)

i hadn't thought of it as driver training, but apparently my dad knew just what he was doing. by the time i turned sixteen, dad bought me a brand new truck, and, looking back, i think he did so with more confidence than your average parent. he knew just exactly what kind of driver i was. as it turned out, i guess i *did* leave my fender benders at the plant while younger; i never caused any accidents in my truck from sixteen to eighteen. (i didn't get into an accident at eighteen, my truck got stolen!)

those were some good old days for me.

Man from U.N.C.L.E. said...

I'll be the first to admit I'm an awful driver. In the twelve years I've been behind the wheel I've been in 1...2...3 acci- wait a minute, 4...5, yeah, 5 accide- nope I forgot about backing up through the Garage Wall...6, uhhhh 7 accidents. I've been at fault in all of them. I really suck at it, no lie. Luckily no one has been seriously injured. My A.D.D. really has a huge impact on my driving. But I've never pulled out in front of a bus!

My point, though, with my brother is that I never felt really cocky driving or invincible or that I knew it all. I realized my limitations as a crappy driver. I'm frustrated more with his attitude than with his mistakes behind the wheel. I'll have to try the Colorado thing!

Jackie Stewart said...

"I'm frustrated more with his attitude than with his mistakes behind the wheel."

i think that i remember reading somewhere about teenagers and their shitty attitudes...?

"I'll have to try the Colorado thing!"

you're gonna bitch at him while he's trying to concentrate on getting you somewhere safely? shame on you.

Nonny Nu said...

you're gonna bitch at him while he's trying to concentrate on getting you somewhere safely?
It worked on me...

Man from U.N.C.L.E. said...

BTW, yelling "BUUUUUUSSSSS!!!" is in no way "Bitching at" little bro. Like I told him, "Would he prefer that I sat there silently while the bus impaled both of us?" An unsupportive coach would have yelled, "You stupid MotherScratching idiot pull your fat head out of your grossly obese ass and pay some GODDAMNED attention to the road, Mother Scratcher!!!" But I didn't do that. I merely said, "BUUUUUUUUSSSS!!!" in an elevated tone. There was no public humiliation in the bank, no degrading talk once I took over driving responsibilities, and only a brief discussion (with graphic depictions and drawings of all the things one must be aware of at intersections) once we got home. I had ample opportunity to "Bitch", but took the high road.

Maybe I should have let him practice more with a go-kart, or maybe I should take a Road Trip to Colorado and leave hime there. Both sound effective.

Jackie Stewart said...

when i quoted this:

"I'll have to try the Colorado thing!"

and then stated this:

"you're gonna bitch at him while he's trying to concentrate on getting you somewhere safely? shame on you."

it was to suggest that the disproportionally overblown, supposed colorado incident was brought about by someone's bitching, not that you had bitched at your brother (you silly bitch). <-- i only meant that last part just a little.

Man from U.N.C.L.E. said...

Or do you mean you meant just a little bit of that last part? :)

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