Recently, I took my fifteen year old out and gave her her first real, bona fide, driving lesson.
The fact that I am able to sit here in my office and type those words out loud without going into anaphylactic shock, throwing up in my mouth only a little, shows you just how far I’ve come, don’t you think?
Nevermind that I’m presently curled up in a fetal position, typing this with one hand because I’m busy sucking my thumb on the other.
As I prepared for our adventure, mummifying myself in bubble wrap and hot gluing mattresses, old tires and neon strobe lights to the outside of our car, I wished that someone had shared with me some advice about teaching a teenage heathen to drive. I mean, all I had to go on was an old, searing, blistering, traumatic flashback to a scared sixteen year old gripping the steering wheel of a baby blue pinto as it careened into a busy intersection, screeching to a dead stop directly under a yellow light, with her mother sitting next to her screaming GOOOOO! WAIT! NO! STOP! OH MY GOD. JE-SUS CHRRRRRRRRRR-IIIIII-SSSSSSSST, WE’RE GOING TO DIE. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?
This post exists solely because I think parents are ethically, morally and legally entitled to this information and I’m too impatient to wait for a constitutional amendment.
Well, that, and the fact that nobody in my family has done anything remotely interesting since July so I have nothing else to blog about. Don’t blame me. Blame those around me who refuse to provide me with blog fodder, despite the fact that I provide them with such essentials as dinner and clean underwear at least twice a month. In fact, if you email your complaints to holy_hell_can_your_life_be_any_more_boring.com, I’ll make sure they get to the appropriate parties. Maybe they’ll listen to your gripes since they completely ignore mine.
HOW TO TEACH YOUR TEENAGER TO DRIVE AND LIVE TO BLOG ABOUT IT
- Pay someone else to do it. If you’re low on cash, as most of us are in this economy, get inventive. I took out a billboard ad that said I WILL NOT SLEEP WITH YOU IF YOU TEACH MY KID TO DRIVE. CALL 1-800-BIG-MAMA. I got a huge response but alas, Zoe didn’t want to be confined with some stranger screaming at her in such close proximity. I swear, she can be such a ninny.
- Bring a book or something to do. That way, when your life flashes before your eyes, you won’t be bored to death.
- Along the same lines, bring your iPod downloaded with Enya or your husband’s explanation of digital TV or anything else guaranteed to put you to sleep within two minutes. You’re going to need something to help you relax, especially if you recently guzzled down all your Xanax during that long-ass period of time known as Hey, I feel stupid! Therefore, I will redesign my blog, during which time no one cared enough to bash in your skull with a bowling pin and put you out of your misery. Or, if you’re really high strung, download some Wolf Blitzer commentary to ensure you’re comatose instantly. Otherwise, listening to petrified screaming becomes irritating after awhile, especially when it’s your own. And reaching for the radio to change the station is pretty hard to do when you’re paralyzed with fear.
- On the other hand, do not let your teenager bring her iPod because then she won’t be able to hear you shriek LOOK OUT FOR THE HOUSE! NO, NOT THAT ONE! THAT ONE! OK! THAT ONE TOO!
- Remember, the steering wheel is a clock and clocks have two hands. They don’t have fingertips or knees or elbows or a forehead. Not even in a pinch.
- Try to remember how you’re supposed to drive and teach your teenager accordingly. This means that you’re going to have to get creative so that she learns how to flip the driver behind her the bird while keeping both of her hands on the wheel at the 10:00 and 2:00 positions.
- Make sure the inside of your car is littered with trash and smells like feet. Cleaning your car beforehand will only give your teenager a false sense of security. Defensive driving is more than just allowing three car lengths between you and the car in front of you, you know. If you don’t teach your child how to maneuver through rush hour traffic at 55 mph on a six lane highway while avoiding projectile missiles made out of plastic cups and containers emblazoned with the name McDonalds, you’re doing her a disservice.
- Likewise, don’t run your car through a car wash before the lesson. Seriously, what’s the point? You really think your teenager’s windshield will never be dive bombed by seagulls with irritable bowel syndrome? Please. Leave your rose colored glasses in your imagination where they belong, right next to the unicorns, perky boobs and size two jeans. A dirty windshield is life. Shit happens and she needs to learn to look past it.
- Rig the gas pedal so that it can only be pressed down .00000156 of an inch.
- Rig the brake so that it can be pressed down to the pavement. Then move it over to the passenger side.
- Attach your youngest child to the back bumper and teach your teenager to use her rear view mirror to slowly and carefully back into a parking space. Loud crunching noise accompanied by a faint whimper = FAIL.
- Lastly, ten minutes before you start the lesson, siphon all the gas from your tank and/or slice a tire or two. If you do this correctly and discreetly, you won’t need any of this advice.