Thursday, May 14, 2009

Driving Lessons

Someone over at Plurk posted that it sounded like a car hit their building. Then someone else replied that at one time someone had run into their house. Which brought up a few fun memories of driving lessons I would have been happier doing without.

When I was about 12, my Grandaddy took a bunch of us over to the A&W at 15 and Mound for some ice cream. He had a little olive green Dodge Colt that we all squeezed into. For some reason, he left us parked in the lot and was standing in line when one of my crazy cousins, jumping around in eager anticipation, knocked into the stick shift and knocked the car out of gear.

The car started rolling into traffic on 15 Mile. Grandaddy was at the ordering window, clueless.

Me, being the big brain trust I was (hey I grew up in Detroit, I should have known cars!) jumped out of my door and grabbed on for dear life, trying to keep the little Colt from rolling into traffic and (dum dum dum) certain doom. Screaming the whole time for Grandaddy to come help.

Everyone else noticed me. Eventually he did too. And after he ran over to the car and pulled the emergency brake, he said "Why were you yelling for me? All you had to do was pull the emergency brake!" (Emergency brakes play a part in my future driving lessons too, now that I think about it, but first....)

My second memorable driving lesson came when my aunt was parked in our driveway. She left, yes, another of my crazy cousins, alone in the car while she said goodbye to me and my mom. My cousin climbed into the front seat, put the car in drive (this time it was an automatic) and plowed into the fence right next to our cranky neighbor's house. I guess it's a good thing he was too little to reach the pedals. (And yes, he is the little brother to the cousin who almost rolled us into rush hour traffic).

And finally, my bestest memory of all. I was heading out from Wendy's on Texas Avenue in Bryan, Texas, to go take my SAT. As I pulled out into traffic, I heard a pop, and suddenly I was left with no working clutch cable. I rolled into traffic because I had no choice, stopped the car (did not turn it off, this is important in a minute here), put on the blinkers and got out to go back into work and call my dad to come get me.

As I'm on the phone, I hear one of my co-workers shout "Hey Andrea, your car is driving down Texas Avenue!"

Sure enough, I had not put on the parking brake.

Fortunately my co-workers ran out and helped me retrieve the car without anyone getting hurt. And I made it to the SAT on time. But yeah.

That parking brake? There for a reason!


vintagepix said...

Boy, those crazy cousins sure get you in a lot of automotive trouble! I remember on my first driving lesson with my dad, I backed into the chain link fence in the elementary school parking lot where we were practising. (He found me a bigger parking lot after that!)

Andrea Stern said...

LOL I drove around our yard in our 79 Chevette to practice after I failed the first time through driver's ed.