I’ve never been into fast cars. As far as I’m concerned, the male analogy stops right there. While the other guys were talking about engine blocks and rattling off weird nonsensical numbers and making lamps out of blocks of wood in shop class, I was taking “home economics” with 29 girls and learning how to sew my own apron and make chocolate chip cookies.
Yet, when it came to driving itself, suddenly I was interested. I just didn’t care what went on inside that thing. On my birthday and the day it became legal I obtained my learner’s permit. Exactly one year later I aced my driving test.
My dad taught me to drive. We practiced together in his car (an automatic) and my car (stick shift) which I had already bought with my own money. The car cost me $300, money which I had earned working part-time at a variety of local fast food establishments. It was a 1969 Pontiac LeMans hardtop. The driver’s door never opened, you had to slide across the one-piece seat from the passenger side, and the manual transmission was so wonky and loose that I eventually became the only human who could drive that baby. You had to perform little maneuvers while shifting, like lifting, twisting and pushing down to get it to go into gear. But that baby was mine.
I moved to the big city to live with my dad but I wanted to finish my senior year of high school in my little home town. So I became a commuter at the age of 18. My daily commute was a 30-mile drive (one-way) to school.
I enjoy driving. I’ve done a lot of it. It’s the one area of my life where I am the one percent unlike the 99% of other idiots on the road. My instincts and cat-like reflexes have kept me alive when most other idiots would have perished in a fantastic ball of fire.
And I’ve never forgotten one of the most basic principles my dad taught me about being a good driver on day one with my learner’s permit in hand: Drive so that you don’t impact other drivers on the road.
This is a story about a typical idiot who never received and/or heeded such critical training.
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