I saw a student driver today. It’s been a while. The roads are so chaotic around here, they’re probably only allowed around the neighborhoods until they have their official licenses. I felt bad for the kid, driving in evening traffic, even if it was just around the suburbs.
And it reminded me of my first driving lesson. When I finally got scheduled for the driving portion of driver’s ed, I was thrilled. I was so ready to drive. The moment I sat behind that wheel and let my foot off the brake (never mind the gas, we just rolled the car first), all I could think was “I’m in charge of something that can kill people.”
No lie. I’d never had that much power before, and I seriously felt the weight of it. It’s a wonder I made it through driver’s ed at all, since every time I drove I thought about the immense responsibility it is to operate a car.
But it wasn’t all seriousness. Somehow humor invades my life constantly. In this case, it was in the form of my driving instructor.
When I first got in the car, I noticed something curious. He had two half-full bottles of Diet Coke.
How funny, I thought. Maybe he’s really forgetful or something.
Until I found out… one of them wasn’t really Diet Coke. See, my driving instructor liked chewing tobacco. As in the dried stuff that people put in their mouths and chew, for some reason that is completely beyond me. But when you’re in a vehicle and you’re chewing tobacco, there are limited spaces to spit.
So there I was, driving, trying not to think about how I could easily kill someone if I were distracted for just one moment when the guy to my right starts spitting tobacco juice into a Diet Coke bottle.
“Turn right up here.” *ptt* “Watch that stop sign.” *ptt*
You know what I want to watch, sir? I want to watch you not get oral cancer, how bout that? How bout we save your life right now?
As if that wasn’t enough humor, there was one of the other students I drove with. A sweet girl who had trouble going with traffic. I mean, it really doesn’t matter which ramp you take onto the highway, right?
Now I lay me down to dieinahorribleaccidentonthehighway.
But she did fine sometimes. So she’d congratulate herself. Out loud.
And I congratulated myself silently for still being alive.
Bottom line? I’m still alive. I’m still a responsible driver. And I can’t even look at Diet Coke.