Jan's Blog Flower



Now reading . . .

by Karin Muller

"The Sewing Circles of Herat"
by Christina Lamb

"High Fidelity"
by Nick Hornby

"In the Garden of the North American Martyrs"
by Tobias Wolff

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

May I See Your License, Please

I was traveling at about 65 miles an hour on the 91 Freeway, going to meet friends for lunch. I turned on my signal to show that I was planning to change lanes, when I saw, in the rear view mirror and then over my right shoulder, a black car approaching at a very high rate of speed - I would guess about 85 or 90 miles an hour. I watched, astonished, as the car passed the cars and big rigs ahead of me, on the shoulder, and then wove in and out of the traffic in all lanes ahead of me. The driver must have been late for a very important meeting. Incidents like that are why I am a rather tense driver.

The first time I remember driving, was when I was a girl of about 12 or 13. We lived on a farm, and farm children learn to drive early because vehicles have to be moved from one place to another. My father told me to drive the pickup into the shed. I did as I was told and I drove the pickup INTO the shed. It was an old pickup, an old shed and I am sure that I was driving very slowly. I ran crying to my father and told him what happened. I can hear my mother saying, “Frank!” in a disgusted tone of voice, when he said, “Well, you will have to go back and try it again.” And so I did. My father was a great teacher. He rarely lost his temper and just had us try again or else suffer the consequences of our actions. The only thing he couldn’t abide was disobedience. Then the consequences were swift and memorable.

Flash forward about twelve or fourteen years - Mmmm and I were married and had purchased our first new car – a VW Bug, with a stick shift. It was a lovely blue color and we had seat belts installed because they were not standard equipment. Mmmm took on the task of teaching me how to drive. I had never had a driver’s license nor had I driven. Mmmm was very like my father in teaching me to drive. He never raised his voice or became irritated with me. He patiently taught me the basics and I learned to drive. We have almost always had only one car so there was a lot of shuttling over the years, and I am actually a good driver, thanks to Mmmm. I will have to say that when I am driving he still falls into the instructor mode, saying things like, “You need to get into the right lane!” or “You are coming up on the stop sign too fast!” but I forgive him.

We loved that little Copen Blue VW Bug. It was the first of several Bugs we had. They delivered lots of little girls to birthday parties and drill team practices and other places over the years. It was the thought of all those little girls that occupied our car that sent chills up my spine when the black car passed me.

I wonder if the driver in the black car arrived at his appointment on time and if anyone was injured in Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

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