Thursday, May 21, 2009

How To Go To Target with Your Firstborn at the Wheel

Little Runner Girl has been driving almost every day for several weeks now, just long enough to think she knows what she is doing. So, after I back the car out of the garage (because I like my mirrors attached) Little Runner Girl takes the wheel. She is quite giddy with the knowledge that tomorrow is her very last day ever at the school she has attended since Kindergarten. She is talking a mile a minute and also driving. We pull out of the driveway and up to the intersection...
"Turn left, Sweetie."
Right turn signal goes on. "Wait, where are we going? Target? I don't know how to get there."
"I'll tell you, but you need to turn left."
"What? Oh, left." (Says my left-handed daughter!)
Through the neighborhood to a larger street. Stop about fifty feet before stop sign and then roll slowly up to it.
"Turn left here. But look first! LOOK! OK, you can go. Go. GO! NOW!" (She wasn't quite committed to turning. Halfway out into a major roadway seems an excellent place to stop and ask questions?)
"At the next street, turn right. Right. Turn right. Turn. Slow down slow down slow down. GET IN YOUR LANE!!!"
"Sorry. But that guy was still pretty far away anyway." I give her the look of doom.
"Listen to me little girl or you won't be driving my car."
"OK. Sorry. I'm being careful. Why is it only 25 on this street?"
"Because people's front yards are facing this street. 25 is fast enough."
"But it's so slow!"
"Slow down slow down!"
"What was that!!!???"
"Speed bump! Slow down!"
"But I don't know where I'm going."
"Not knowing where you're going is NOT a reason to go faster."
"Why do they have to have so many speed bumps on this street?"
"Perhaps so teenagers don't fly through here going fifty?"
"OK, this intersection is tricky. Pay attention. You have to watch the oncoming traffic because there is no arrow. After we turn, get in the right lane."
"Why can't I just get over while I'm turning?"
"Because you can't change lanes in the intersection."
"Why not?"
"Because it's illegal and this guy next to us might not appreciate it."
"I think he is gonna go straight anyway, so why can't I just get over."
"Because it's illegal."
"But why?"
(And I am suddenly reminded that my 4 year old with her endless whys is also the 14 year old driving my car!)
We turn and switch lanes rather abruptly, immediately after leaving the intersection. And then she slams on the brakes. Driver behind us flashes lights and tries to figure out which lane the child is going to use.
"Get over, get over, get in the right lane."
"Is that OK?"
"I'm telling you to get over. Why would it not be OK?"
"I don't know."
We pull into the parking lot in the left lane.
"Honey, get into your lane."
"But there aren't any lanes."
"Sweetie, just because there aren't lines doesn't mean there aren't lanes. The other people driving can't read your mind. Where are you going?"
"I don't know? Where should I be going?"
"To find a place to park. Down there."
"Why so far down there?"
"Do you really think you need to park next to other cars?"
"Ummmm...probably not. Should I park now?"

My father always says he didn't have grey hair until he taught me to drive. I'm beginning to believe him.


Susan said...

OMG I'm fluctuating between laughing so hard my stomach hurts and having my butt clenched so hard from anxiety I have cramps. Get that gorgeous creature off the road!

Glad you finally got your act together and started posting more frequently. Hell, I probably just jinxed it.

Keith said...

You worry too much. Traffic laws are only suggestions and lane markers, just guidelines.

Angel said...

Keith dear, I'll bring her to Oklahoma. You can let her drive your car. ;)

Susan said...

OMG! I KNEW Keith was from Oklahoma!

Angel said...

Suze, meet Keith. Keith, meet Susan. Your shared adoration of Oklahoma is just beyond me.

YrObtSvt said...

Let me know when you're ready for her to learn to drive a standard.

No. No, seriously. Stop laughing. I'm SERIOUS! The girl needs to know how to drive one. Why?

Picture this: She goes on a date. Dude gets drunk out of his gourd. She convinces him to hand over the keys ... and notices there are three pedals on the floor under the steering wheel.

Call me. I'll make sure she can get herself home safe.