Mike says the easiest way to drive Dad crazy is to give him a brake
Teaching teenagers to drive is going to take years off my life, I swear.
Here’s the deal: By default, I seem to be Vice President in Charge of Teaching Teenagers in My Family How to Drive My Car. Nobody else ( translated: The Blonde Accountant) seems to want to donate a vehicle for practice, actually get into the car with the young drivers and impart any wisdom or be within a three- mile radius of offering any driving instruction.
It’s not like I’m the greatest driver or that I’ve got any particular pearls of great wisdom to impart. My teaching method is pretty simple: Get in, put on the seatbelt, start the car and for the rest of the time you’re behind the wheel, try not to kill me while I’m screaming at the top of my lungs. Not exactly the textbook version of driver’s education — it’s more along the lines of teaching someone how to ride a roller coaster — but I’m still breathing, so it’s worked up to this point.
According to The Blonde Accountant, my own driving habits rest somewhere in between The Old Guy Out for A Sunday Drive Gawking at Every Cow to Mario Andretti at the Indianapolis 500. I do not agree with either of these polar opposite descriptions of my driving. I have to ride with me, so I know. I haven’t had a speeding ticket in more than 10 years and every accident that I’ve been in since I started to drive 37 years ago has been the other driver’s fault.
Now I don’t particularly think those are the credentials that qualify me to be the only family driving instructor, but apparently I am wrong about that. And no, there is no extra pay for this duty either, thank you very little.
I got off easy with my girls. Older Daughter didn’t get her driver’s license until just a few years ago, after college. Oh, we did some practice early on when she turned 16 way back when, but No. 1 Son- in- Law did all the heavy lifting on teaching his wife to drive. Better him than me.
And I dodged another series of driving lessons with vounger Daughter, who wasn’t particularly interested in learning how to drive when she turned 16 and still doesn’t have a license now. Considering that she goes to college in Iowa, there is a possibility that she will learn how to drive a tractor before she learns how to drive a car, although if she thinks I’m going to run right out and buy her a new tractor once she gets her license, she’s sadly mistaken.
This run of good luck at not having to teach teenagers how to drive has changed now that Daughter of Blonde Accountant is of driving age. And let me tell you, the floorboard on the passenger side of my car is bearing the brunt of this turn of events as evidenced by the fact that I’ve nearly stomped a hole in it while trying to step on the non- existent brake on that side of the vehicle.
Honest to Pete, it’s difficult on the nerves. Of course, we have to practice driving in my car because it’s already paid for. And it also happens to be the car that Daughter of Blonde Accountant thinks she’s going to be driving once she gets her license next month.
What she doesn’t seem to realize is that the Rules For Getting The Keys To My Car are very similar to the Rules For Dating Daughters in that neither of those things is going to happen until she’s 39 years old.
Fortunately, we have gotten me some help — some professional help — in the form of private driving lessons for Daughter of Blonde Accountant. We’re actually paying some guy to stomp on the passenger- side floorboard of his own car and give my nerves a little breather now and then. It’s pricey, but we look at it as an investment in my mental health, which is good.
So now my duties supplement that of the professional driving instructor, although even that wouldn’t have helped what happened last weekend.
We were out practicing our parallel parking in a residential neighborhood in Lansdale — which was kind of a waste of time because I’m still not very good at parallel parking myself, so there isn’t much I can teach in that regard — when the weather started being uncooperative.
Now it’s probably good for young drivers to practice in all weather conditions, but it is a bit disconcerting to have the skies open up and dump immediate flash floods onto a student driver.
But that’s what happened. Fortunately, Daughter of Blonde Accountant maintained her composure and navigated the route while it was raining sideways. We got practice in wet conditions, operation of wipers and lights and clinching up our hind ends.
In fact, she did such a commendable job handling the elements that she might have actually cut some time off the 39- year rule on me turning over the keys to her.
She can now have them when she’s 29 years old. See, I can be reasonable.
Mike Morsch is executive editor of Montgomery Media and author of the book, “Dancing in My Underwear: The Soundtrack of My Life.” He can be reached by calling 215- 542- 0200, ext. 415 or by email at msquared35@ yahoo. com. This column can also be found at www. montgomerynews. com.
Rotary’s head chef and Jenkintown Manor resident Bob Lloyd works the grill at the Jenkintown Rotary Club pancake breakfast as Buzz Wilson, left, and Jim Marshall assist him.