What I’ve learned about being a Step-dad

Posts Tagged ‘Driving’

Teen Drivers

I will never forget my first few driving experiences.  The very first was with my father at the Jones Beach Parking lot.  When I tell you that this was the biggest parking lot I’d ever seen, I mean that if you needed a parking lot that would fit the entire population of Long Island, this was it.  Of course if you have the same car as everyone else that could be a problem.  My uncle later had taken me to teach me how to drive a stick, which was interesting. We went to the parking lot of what was once Pergaments where I basically just drove in a big circle trying to not destroy the clutch. And finally, my Driver’s Ed instructor at school, He was the loudest meanest old man you’d ever met.  He hated women drivers, and constantly yelled at you for not staying to the right.  Granted that’s what you’re supposed to do, but he took it just a bit further.  If we weren’t within inches of the right hand curb we weren’t close enough.  My first driving experience with him was in the back parking lot of the middle (jr. high) school, where he put us in reverse and told us to step on it.  I still don’t know why he did this or what I was supposed to learn from it.

Now an interesting side note to this is that all this time while I’m learning to drive a car, I’m also at school learning how to fly a plane.  In a plane you use your feet to turn while on the ground and a slide to accelerate it.  It’s a good thing I became a good driver, as I didn’t turn out to be a very good pilot.  I know it’s a tangent but it’s a fun story.  We flew up over Jones beach and the instructor turns to me and says “ok I’m going to stall out the plane and I want you to recover it”.  Now being the good driver I am, I think “no prob, I know how to turn the engine back on”.  Well let me tell you when a pilot says the plane is stalled it has nothing to do with the engine.  He pulls back the engine (which I expected) pulls back and aim the plane up just a slight bit and then we start to fall forward.  The plane tips forward and down we go.  I turn to him and said “but the engine’s not stalled”.  He looks at me, closes his eyes and shakes his head.  Now did I mention that we’re not alone in this plane?  There are two passengers in the back who are also learning how to fly like me.  He turns back to them and they’re both wide eyed and a bit scared looking and pulls the plane out of the stall and then proceeds to educate us on the proper way to recover from a stall.  All this time we’re still falling out of the sky.  Not once did any of us panic however, because we’re all teenagers.  And as every teenager knows, you’re invincible until you turn 21.  And then you’re invincible only when you’re drunk.  I never felt that invincibility in my car until after I got my license.  Again, the driving exam passed it first time out.  Like I said, I’m a good driver. By the way, I searched all over for the picture I know I have of me in the cockpit, but only found my Flight Log and Plotter so grabbed a picture of that for you guys. That photo of a Cessna is just as an example of the type of plane I was flying.

Anyway, now it’s my 17 year olds turn.  So what do I do?  I take her out to the Jones Beach Parking lot of course.  Now this isn’t the real first time she’s driving, I let her drive the car around a tiny parking lot one night just for the fun of it, and then I let her mother drive (she doesn’t drive either).  Who do you think did better?  The wife of course (she actually reads these).  Since then I’ve taken her a few times to drive and she’s getting better and we’re getting to bond a bit at the same time.  Now here is the most intelligent girl I’ve ever known and she’s having problems understanding the study material for the written exam.  So I downloaded the app for my iPhone and let her study with it a few times, take a few practice tests, and hopefully by next week she’ll have passed the written exam and we can go driving on the roads. But until then, my advice for all you dad’s out there that have to start teaching your step daughter to drive… Get your blood pressure medication ready and remember this is a good time to bond so be yourself, give the best advice you can, and teach very, very slowly. In the end it’s all worth it, these are lessons that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives, not to mention helping them to deal with the ultimate road rage we all deal with on a daily bases.