You’re getting anxious. You start to sweat. It something you know is inevitable and need to confront but, still, you try to avoid it. It’s dangerous, life threatening even, but the time is now. “Bonsai,” you scream!
That’s right it’s time to teach your teenager to drive. In my case it was even worse, a teenage girl.
Oh sure, people will say, “She’s gotta learn sometime.” My question to that statement is, “WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE IN MY CAR?”
It seems there should be some learning car that beginning drivers could drive. And, better yet, have it be off in some alternate universe where no one can get hurt, no cars get banged up, and most of all, my nerves don’t get frazzled.
I can hear all the “know-bests” saying, “You have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” Strangely, death, mutilation, and, worst of all, dented fenders come to mind.
A big fear of any parent teaching their teenager to drive is, “What if they never really learn?” It is a legitimate concern, after all, someone once taught Donald Trump how to use a comb and look how that turned out.
Next, I tried to teach her to pump gas to which she responded, “Why do I need to learn to do this? I don’t have money to pay for gas anyway.” My quick retort was to look into my wallet and start sobbing.
For me, personally, I never worried about all the dirty looks from other drivers, or the beeping horns when my daughter waited to pull out because she could see smog in the air so she knew there had to be a car coming toward her soon, or even the road rage induced frustrations her driving caused. Actually gunfire may have been a welcome diversion to the constant reminder of how my insurance rates were going to skyrocket when she gets her license.
As we got close to the time she was just about ready for her driver’s test (euphemism for me no longer freaking out when she nearly hits something) we had to address the parallel parking issue. Why this is so difficult I don’t know. But from what I’ve seen for myself and from talking to other parents you’d think parallel parking was harder than trying to stop a horny dog from humping your leg when you are wearing a new suit. Anyway, after we got through that debacle she took her test and passed, proving, once again, that the level of testing in all levels of learning, not just public schools, is constantly being lowered to meet the level of the student.
But then, as I saw her pulling away for her first solo drive the scariest realization of all came to me. Female teenage drivers eventually become “women drivers.” All over again I started to get anxious. I started to break out in a sweat…it might be best to not go there since my wife just walked into the room and she loves to read over my shoulder…OUCH!