Monday, January 17, 2011

A2A Teen Years: Kate Drives a Very Cool 1969 Dodge Charger, Once

Tip of the Day: Today isn't just Martin Luther King, Jr. day, it's Benjamin Franklin's birthday. Both men have gifted our country with greatness, and their inspirational words are wonderful when you need some motivation.

Welcome to one of our favorite weeks around here: A2A the Teen Years, where we relive our experiences as young adults--the experiences and emotions that should make it in to our writing someday. This week we're talking about that American rite of passage: learning to drive.

Wow, driving looked so easy, didn't it? Just turn that steering wheel, preset the radio stations ... what else could I possibly need to know?

My parents were reluctant to teach me to drive. I was hard to teach in general, one of those "let me do it my way" people. My mother was nervous and my father had a quick temper, so they kept procrastinating my lessons. Finally, my boyfriend relented and let me drive his car in a supermarket parking lot.

His car was awesome: a restored 1969 Dodge Charger. It also wasn't the easiest car to drive. It probably didn't have power breaks or power steering. It may not have had seatbelts. It was very fast, though. Perfect first driving experience, right?

Also, my boyfriend was obsessed with his car. Did I need to say that, or was it kind of obvious being that it was a restored Dodge Charger?

But he made the sacrifice and let me get behind the wheel. I don't remember exactly how it went, but it was something like this:

Him: "Okay, be very careful with my baby. Both hands on the wheel."
Me: "You don't drive with both hands on the wheel. Which one's the gas pedal?"
Him: "Tap it very, very gently. Like barely touch it. Like just breathe on it."
Me: "Can I change the radio station? I don't think I can learn to drive to Black Sabbath."
Him: "Just watch where you're going!"
Me: "Duh, I'm in a parking lot."
Him: "That's a wall! Hit the brakes!"
Him: "You are never, ever, ever driving my car again. I have doubts about allowing you to be in the passenger seat, that's how bad that was. I think you stopped my heart."
Me: "I blame Black Sabbath."

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages