Learning to drive is a real milestone in a teenagers life, and is greeted with an incredible amount of excitement and joy when the time finally comes for you to hop behind the wheel for the first time. Although, when you live in the farming community of Cashton, chances are most every kid has already been driving the tractor, the four-wheeler, the snowmobile, or the big, rumbling Ford F150 for quite some time already. I, on the other hand, had experienced neither the joy of learning to drive (legally), or the exhilaration of driving at a young age (illegally). I was just fine with being driven around by my parents or eight other siblings at any point in time. Riding in a moving vehicle gives me time to listen to music, to think, and to quietly read in the passenger’s seat. Although, yes, I did have to admit it would be nice to have the ability to get out of the house a little more often, where the average age of residents’ is around 683 years of age.
And, so, I found myself sitting in a windowless room for the first few weeks of winter, listening to my driving instructor go on, and on, and on, and on about “the good old days”. Wahhhoo. I would say the two weeks of driving instruction passed by about as fast as a sloth runs a marathon. Or as fast as I could run a marathon.
Anyway, the time has finally come for me to begin the actual driving stage. I reluctantly went to the DMV and retrieved my permit. At least I think its mine. I mean, the name on it is right and everything, but the girl in the picture looks it little more like a brainwashed cow or something…
My very first time driving was on a road I had traveled countless times before, with who but my mother in the passenger seat beside me. My mother makes first-time driving quite interesting. I’ve watched my Mom coach five siblings through first time driving, starting with Mary. And Mary was the worst of them, which as a five-year-old in the back seat was quite entertaining. So I know by now how my Mom will react when, say, I get too close to the yellow lines, or, say, I get too close to the white lines. Most of the time I don’t purposely drive badly when I’m around her, but sometimes it can’t be helped. Mind you, I don’t do anything extremely dangerous on the road. I’m not that stupid, but when I’m the road I do tend to get a little ADD.
Of course, as a beginner driver you have to practice your driving basics with the driving instructor. I must note that our driving instructor is a very talkative person, and I also happen to be a very talkative person. Also, when I get behind the wheel I suddenly become an incompetent fool who finds it necessary to note every single thing you pass. When driving through a town I hadn’t been in before, I began to rate each large house we passed in my head, and decide whether or not I would want to live there. My driving instructor also found this a fun thing to do, so for a while our conversation was something like this.
Me: “OH! I really like that house! Its so pretty and big!
Driving Instructor: “Ohhh, that is a nice one.”
Me: “OH! That house would be nice, but I don’t really like the color scheme. Its just too much.”
Driving Instructor: “Yeah..oh! There’s a stop sign there. There’s a stop sign there! What do you do at a stop sign, Clare?
Me: “You stop. I just forgot to, but you have a brake over on your side of the car, so I figured you could do it.”
This might not go over well in the real world, but you know, right now I’m all “c’est la vie” when it comes to driving. At this point, I’m waaay more into thinking about Christmas than driving our old minivan. And who wants to drive around in the snow? Oh wait, there isn’t any snow around here! Ahhhh, Wisconsin, you’re failing me!