Back when I was learning to drive, I thought my parents greatly exaggerated their anxiety. That’s why I rolled my eyes each time my mom threw her body forward as if getting whiplashed when I came to a stop. It’s also the reason I laughed at my dad when I pulled up behind a fancy car and he started crying and pleading, “Please, PLEASE, Cynthia, don’t hit the Ferrari.”
But now that I’m parenting child #2 through the driver’s training process, I think maybe they weren’t so crazy after all.
When our firstborn was learning to drive, we lived in a smallish community. Now with our second, we’re in a thriving metropolis. There’s something to be said for teaching your child to drive on sparsely traveled country roads. There’s something else to be said for teaching your other child to drive on busy city streets, but those are words I can’t put on here. Nevertheless, driving is an important life skill, and there are valuable lessons to impart. I’m not talking about the written rules of the road, per say, but those rules of etiquette and culture that should be understood by all who sit behind the wheel.
That’s why I thought the following addendum to the handbook might be a worthy use of this week’s List Wednesday post.
The meaningful drive-by stare. This is entirely appropriate, but only in certain circumstances. For instance, if you speed up to get in front of me only to slam on your breaks and turn into the Whataburger parking lot, I’m going to give you this look. However, if you give me this same look for any reason, I will likely just smile and laugh. Because nobody got hurt and you probably need to lighten up.
Driving under the speed limit in front of me. I applaud your relaxed outlook and slow-paced lifestyle, but Sonic happy hour ends in 2 minutes. Get a move on, pokey.
You can, in fact, make sound judgements about a person by the outward appearance of his or her car. Before you get upset with me, this has nothing to do with social class. Whether you have a silhouette of naked ladies on the window of your cab, apparatus hanging below your rear bumper to denote gender, or your BMW has a personalized plate with the name, “BMW OWNR,” I’m judging you. #stopit
When a policeman sets himself up on the side of the road or atop an overpass looking EXACTLY like a sniper as he aims his radar gun at you, I think it would be a good thing to mention to the judge that you were speeding because you almost had a heart attack as you briefly imagined yourself being shot in the face. Also, maybe it’s time someone came up with a radar instrument that more closely resembles a large smiley face.
I don’t want to pull up beside you and see you on your phone if your front end is bashed in. Come to think of it, I don’t want to see your phone out if your back-end or either side is wrecked, either. Also, that white duct tape you used on your white car to try to hold your door together doesn’t make it look any less jacked up.
Dear guy riding my bumper, I would slam on my brakes to teach you a lesson but I’m speaking at a ladies’ event in a few hours and I need to be spiritual. Also, my teenager is in the car right now and learning to drive from me.
You might as well not even use your horn if it doesn’t sound tuff. Not tough, but tuff, because that’s how Ponyboy Curtis spelled it in The Outsiders and I think if he honked at someone he’d mean serious business.
While we’re at it, what about you? Is there anything you’d like to add to the handbook?