We have our sixteen-year-old godson, Josh, this weekend, and Heidi has already taken him out on the road to do a little practice driving. I don't know why, but I felt a little bit nervous as they headed out to the store.
My own driving education was somewhat atypical. When I was a teenager, we lived in Saudi Arabia, a kingdom where women are not permitted to drive. The time we spent in the states in the summers was never enough for me to get a permit, much less actually log any road hours. I went to college not knowing how to drive, and it was one of my roommates sophomore year who took it upon himself to get me the manual, take me for my test, and teach me to drive.
I clearly remember one weekend when he and I and our other roommate, Brian, went camping in the Adirondacks. On the way back to school, Rob let me drive. By this time, I was getting more confident, even to the point of passing slower cars on two lane roads. With a string of five or six cars ahead of me, I intrepidly crossed the broken yellow line and hit the accelerator. We passed the first car, then the second and third. The fourth was a going a little faster than I expected, but there wasn't quite enough room for me to slip in behind him, so ignoring any looks of concern from my passengers, I bit my lower lip and floored it. Unfortunately, another car was coming directly toward us in the right lane. With no place to go left and a strong feeling that I should at least stay on the road, I slowed down a little, but held my course. The oncoming car's horn was screaming as it swerved to the shoulder to avoid a head-on collision, just as I was able to maneuver back into my own lane.
Rob was pale faced and silent as I drove on calmly, but Brian was laughing in the back seat. "I always wondered what would happen if someone did that!" he said.