It wasn’t long after the new year that the boys decided they wanted to learn to drive. Neither of them had been eager about driving. Now, suddenly they decided it was time to learn to drive. Why now?? I couldn’t understand why they didn’t ask for lessons back in the summer or fall and before snow and ice completely blanketed the city. Teenagers can have lousy timing.
I thought I would ignore them for a time and see if they didn’t drop the subject. Apparently, this tactic only works with one teenager in the house. When there is two, they gang up and harass you till you give in. Their pleas were constant and definitely unrelenting. I held my ground. Driving in the winter is challenging for an experienced driver but beginners have no place on the roads here.
Finally, one evening, while I was doing wash, I became overwhelmed at their insistence. I didn’t know any other way to smooth over this subject without giving them some proof. I had an idea. Since we were on private property in the apartments, I was going to have them drive me to the laundromat. Though that sounds easy, it had some hazards along the way.
Without much preparation, I told them that they would drive me down there. Suddenly, Davin became apprehensive. Aron was a bit cocky about it and thought it wouldn’t be a problem. He was the first to get behind the wheel. I gave him some preliminary instructions on how to turn the car on, adjust the mirrors, and how to put the car in what gear. His eagerness was contagious. Davin was now taunting him. He was daring Aron to “floor it”. I didn’t personally find that funny but the two of them were yucking it up.
Aron put it in gear and gently pressed on the gas. We didn’t go anywhere. He looked at me and asked why we didn’t move. I reminded him of the snow piled up behind the car from the snow plows. After so many times of plowing the parking lot, the snow plows left mounds of snow behind the cars. Though it had been shoveled many times, it left a speed bump of sorts made out of snow. I advised him to gently give it more gas…but ever so gently!! He took a deep breath, put it back in reverse and floored the darn thing. We flew out of the parking space at the speed of light, launching off the speed bump. At this point, Aron freaked out and slammed on the brakes. Of course, this does nothing to stop a car on the ice and snow. So then we slid backwards till we plowed into a friendly snow drift, finally coming to a complete stop. There was a shocked silence. We all sat in the car completely stricken and silent. After what seemed like an eternity, I was the first to find my voice. With a rather shrill pitch I asked Aron, “What the heck was that??!!” He was pale and shaking. He looked at me blankly and informed me that it wasn’t his fault. The gas pedal was too touchy. OK, I need to make a mental note about that touchy gas pedal.
Since we were now blocking the parking lot, I advised him to put the car in drive and gently put pressure on the gas pedal and turn the car towards the laundromat. This he was able to do without incident. We crept down the parking lot going maybe 2 mph. When we got to the laundromat I told him to turn and ease into the parking place. Once again, he had to contend with the “snow bump” in front of the parking space. We made it up to the “snow bump” but he was going too slow to get the car into place. Now he had to get the car over the bump, yet not “floor it” and ease us into the space. He backed up to get a better angle and put it into drive. This time he gave it too much gas again. We flew over the snow bump and plowed into another welcomed snow drift. I had never been so thankful for the snow drifts in my life. We all sat there again in stunned silence. This time Davin was the first to speak. He tried frantically to get out of the car but the doors were still on automatic lock. Finally, he got out of the car, yelling and hurling explicatives at Aron. Now, he was piping mad. His anger became contagious and Aron started yelling at me. He was NOT going to be driving anymore he declared!! Somehow, this had all become my fault. Well, what else is new??
It had been a hair raising experience but now both boys had ceased their pleas about driving. The things we do as parents to keep our kids safe are not always pleasant.