Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Little Hiccough

I watched people drive all the time. I paid attention to the surroundings. Dad explained dimming the high beams. I loved to ride. I was confident that day I got my permit and Dad had time to take me out on a June day.
I don't remember how I got out of the drive, but I made two right turns with little hesitation. Dad quietly told me to turn onto School Street off Main Street. My first left turn and the little silver Nova cleared that foot high curb and bent the sign post.
Dad sat quietly and then he must have gotten out and fixed the situation of a car hung up on a curb. Amazing thing was,  not rattled, he permitted over confident me to get back in the driver's seat. I continued down School Street into the parking lot to feel the power of the steering wheel under my hands. I ran into a fence. Dad remained calm, believing in my ability to learn, not my first attempts of controlling a car.
The curb and sign post...

thirty six years later, still bent

The yellow painting on the curb is new. I don't think it would have helped.

The best part of this is Dad never complained to Mom about my disastrous attempts at driving. We returned home and he remained quiet. He never insulted me. I did enough self ridicule.
Another day, Dad invited me to drive over to Mercer. Curving roads tested my new abilities. I missed staying on the road and a tire caught the high edge of a country State Route 318. I lost control a bit, but I guess I managed to get it straight again. Glad it was the middle of the afternoon with no on coming traffic.
I let the driving lessons sit a bit. I did pass the test in July, but I didn't try to drive solo much. I did a gentle bump into a young man, maybe thirty, on the way to the Mall one afternoon, but fortunate to do no damage.
Finally, when I consider how many miles I have logged, the few accidents, mishaps, ratio wise are minimal. The thing is I get in the car every day and drive. I have learned to not rush or get anxious. I must anticipate the traffic, what the crazy person is going to do. My big fear is I'll be rear ended, because I'm not sure how you can avoid that. One time I was rear ended on a snowy day, as I slowed down for a school bus. My friend, actually that I was going to be orienting with at a new job, was the one who hit me. Talking on the phone, she looked up at my slowing vehicle. Again, thankfully, no one hurt or no damage to the car. We continued to work, but left early that day. A little stress headache crept up on me during the day.
As with driving, I continue my writing. I don't give up. I know I'll make mistakes, but some day, maybe I'll get the break older, experienced drivers get. I had compliments, too, when driving through cities. Once in Youngstown, when I was seventeen and another time from my brother, when I drove to the Cleveland Clinic the first time.
We take the good with the bad. The compliments with the raised middle fingers and screaming are part of the driving experience. Every day, we drive. Every day, I write. If for a reason I miss a period of time, I start slowly and build the habit and endurance. Not horseback riding, but an analogy the same.
I may hiccup, but I plan to stay steady. The house and Country story, next week, I promise. The weather and working put a crimp on my plans, but the road still stretches out.
I just like this picture and the tree did witness me in the school parking lot.

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