It all started in my junior year of high school. Finally, I could enroll in Driver Training. I met my instructor, Mr. Lamb, on a cool day in September. Each Wednesday, we would meet for one hour of behind the wheel training. One person would drive and three other students would sit in the back waiting their turn to take the wheel.
That first Wednesday, I slid behind the wheel as the three boys in the back eyed me warily. I started slowly and picked up speed as we headed toward town. My mind was in the clouds when I suddenly felt the instructor’s brake being stomped on. Three people in the crosswalk froze like deer in the headlights. As we ceremoniously screeched to a stop, all three exhaled and continued on their way. After a severe tongue lashing from Mr. Lamb, I sheepishly climbed into the back seat and let the next student take over.
Ok, anybody can make a mistake the first time. Giving myself a little pep talk, I swore that the next time would be different. When Mr. Lamb announced the next Wednesday that we would be learning how to back the car up, I knew I was in trouble. Of course, he made me go first. Mr. Lamb stood bravely at the side of the car and waited. My foot came down too hard on the accelerator, and hit the fence in back of us with a resounding thud. Poor Mr. Lamb, I think he had to use every ounce of self-control to keep from choking the life out of me. He tried to make a joke out of it as he repositioned the car for the next student.
Surprisingly, or I guess not, I didn’t pass the course and that was the last year that Mr. Lamb ever taught Driver Training. I had noticed his hair seemed a shade greyer every time I saw him and someone said he had developed a nervous condition.
I then decided to try private lessons. One on one instruction seemed preferable to three boys in the back seat watching my every move. Mr. Martin liked to tease and unfortunately, his teasing often took on a sexual overtone. Instead of telling me to turn right or left, he kept asking me to turn into the next motel. One day I got fed up, and turned into the nearest Motel 6 and called his bluff. He turned white as a sheet and I never heard him ask me again. His wife was also a driving instructor and I think he was afraid she would get wind of his hanky-panky.
Since Mr. Martin had straightened up his behavior, I continued my lessons and soon it was time to go to the DMV and get my license. A friend had just tried to get her license and warned me that sometimes they try to trick you. Lynda was in the left lane when the instructor asked her to make a right turn. Wanting to pass her test, she put on her blinker, and careened across two lanes of traffic, almost causing a mult-car pileup. As she proudly finished her turn, the instructor flunked her on the spot.
Back then, you were not asked to parallel park, or I would have been sunk. I put on my turn signal at the appropriate time, observed all traffic lights, and passed with a 94. Mr. Lamb would have been proud.
I no longer drive as I have a problem judging distance. I don’t feel like I have missed anything and all the walking has made me so much healthier, not to mention that the road is probably a safer place without me behind the wheel.