Are We There Yet?

Do you lidreamstimefree_155123ke to drive?  I used to.

I’ve been driving for a long while .  Longer than my age should allow.

Okay, so I figure the statute of limitations has run out on this by now so I’m going to say it right here in front of God and everybody. 

I started driving a bit before the legal age in my state.

Ahem…

Let’s go back even further.

I knew how to drive when I was a wee little thing, because for any of you who don’t already know this, I grew up on a farm, and things are a little different on farms.

On the farm, if you’re going to help with anything beyond cleaning the house or mowing the yard, you need to be able to drive various pieces of equipment.  You generally learn how as soon as you’re big enough to physically manage the machine.

Nobody ever made me help out on the farm.  I guess it was the whole “Daddy’s Girl” thing combined with my intense love for the outdoors.  If you gave me a choice of feeding cows or washing dishes, I’d be out of the house so fast you’d get friction burns if you stood within ten feet of the door.

Nobody ever encouraged me to drive either. The bottom line was that if my dad did it, I wanted to do it. 

I wanted to know everything, and I wanted to know how to do everything.

I haven’t changed much in that way. 

Okay…Social Services folks..you really should stop reading right now.  Otherwise you might have a heart attack. That’s the disclaimer. Read on at your own risk.Allis Chalmer

I went everywhere with my dad, and I learned how to operate a vehicle by driving his tractor while I sat on his lap.  If he was on the tractor, I was either sitting at the edge of the field where I could watch, following on foot as he ran the cultivators, or I was on the tractor with him, riding or driving.

I couldn’t reach the pedals or operate any of the controls, but sitting on his lap,  I learned to steer that old Allis Chalmers down the lane and into the barn with just my hands on the wheel when I was barely five years old.

Farm kids learn fast because nobody tells our parents we can’t.  By the time I was six my dad could set the speed and let me drive alone. 

I still couldn’t reach the pedals but let’s just say he could move the lever on this tractor into its “forward LOW speed” notch, and this tractor would lose a race to a lazy, geriatric sloth. 

He set the controls and let me steer at a slow crawl across a flat field while he climbed off the tractor, picked up the sticks of cut tobacdreamstimefree_75775co, and hefted them onto the wagon.  He could get back to me easily, of course, if I had trouble.

By the time I was eight,  I was driving the truck around the farm.  I had to wait until I was eight because it took that long for me to reach the brake and the gas, and that was with me on the edge of the seat, stretching my entire body to get to the pedals.  But making the truck go, stop, and steer was all you needed in a big grassy field.

     We didn’t take family vacations, but when I was ten, I rode with my grandparents and my Uncle Willard to the gulf coast of Mississippi.  I sat up front in the middle, and asked a lot of questions.  Uncle Willard talked to me the whole way.  He taught me how to drive on the interstate, merge safely, how to be courteous and move to the right if somebody was behind me, and a bunch of other skills for safe long-distance driving.  I never forgot those early lessons.  They made me a good driver.

Flash forward a bit and I was driving to the country store at the bottom of the hill way before I should have, and then to after-school functions at the high school…well…let’s just say early.

I turned sixteen, got my driver’s license the same day, and never looked back.

Cars, and driving, were fun for me.

A few years later, when I had to drive sixty interstate miles twice a day for my work, I learned that the quiet time during the drive was some of my best “alone time” and yielded some of my best creative ideas.  I’ve written some of my best songs, solved problems in my books, had personal epiphanies and figured out my life philosophy all while I was driving.

I sometimes get a tiny little glitch in the mental processor when someone says to me, “I don’t drive.”  Even though I realize that many, many people don’t drive, it takes me just a second to catch up.  But my late mother-in-law never drove and did just fine.  The first time I was ever in New York I was walking around the city and thought, “If I lived here, I wouldn’t need a car.” 

And yet, I can’t imagine not being able to get in my own vehicle, with my own stuff all around me just the way I like it, and go.

Flash forward again, to 2006, when I needed extra money and started working for the US Postal Service.  I was a rural mailboxmail carrier, which meant that no matter what, whether I was sick as a dog, the sky was dumping hail the size of dinner plates, or there was a three-inch sheet of ice coating the entire world, I had to drive in it. 

No matter how many defensive driving courses, and no matter how much practice I’d had at driving on slick roads, as a mail carrier I had to actually deliver said mail, which meant I had to stop on the ice at each box to put the mail inside.  Anybody who drives on ice knows that managing the stops..well, that’s the tricky part.

Driving became a chore.  A demand.  A necessary evil. 

My route was 80 miles long and had more than 500 mailboxes every day.  Even thought I was good at it, in bad weather I woke up dreading it.  On those icy mornings I woke up fearing it.  My job made me hate driving.

When you have something you enjoy and the life gets sucked out of it, I think that’s  a sad thing.

Now we’re in 2013, and  in more ways than I can count, I’m sort of “waking up” from that job as a mail carrier.  Several of my friends deliver mail, and they absolutely love the job, but it wasn’t right for me.  You can have the best job in the world, but it it’s wrong for you, somehow I think your soul starts to shrivel a little.

I’ve been driving of course, but even since I quit that job,  when I face a long drive part of me goes “bleh.”

For the past three days I’ve had to drive an 80-mile round trip to a nearby town.  As I climbed in the car to leave that town earlier this evening, I realized that I actually looked forward to the drive.  Something reawakened and  I enjoyed the time alone.  I got to stare at the passing landscape, to think, to  muse, and to tell myself the stories that hang around in the back of my mind, waiting for a quiet moment to whisper, “Hey!  Over here!  There’s a story over here!”

I have to drive to Atlanta this week, and for the first time in a lot of years, I’m looking forward to it.  My journey will take four hours and I’ll go over a mountain, across wide, smooth lakes, and through the beautiful hills of southeast Tennessee.

I’ll have a basket full of my favorite cds in the floorboard and the radio to keep me company.

Or maybe I’ll let some of my characters ride up front with me and have their say.  Some of these stories that are banging around in my head might come out to play a bit.  Maybe even form into something new and different.  The muse might have something it wants to tell me.  Something I haven’t been able to hear because I’ve been too busy.

Maybe all I need to do is get quiet and drive for a while.

I can’t wait.

What about you, Bandits and Buddies?

Do you love to drive?  Or would you prefer to let someone else do the driving?

Who taught you to drive?  Did you learn in a Driver Education class in high school? Or from a family member?

What kind of car did you drive when you were learning?

How old were you when you took your test and got your license?

If you don’t drive, is there mass transit where you are?  How do you get where you want to go?

Do you enjoy driving—or riding–on long trips?

Or would you rather hop a plane?

Do you have fond memories of road trips as a kid?

When you’re on the road, what do you do to keep yourself entertained—or if it’s late at night, what do you do to keep yourself awake?

If you’re a writer, do you work on your stories while you’re on the road? 

Images by Cassondra Murray or from Dreamstime Free Photos

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Comments

38 thoughts on “Are We There Yet?

  1. 1
    Jane says:

    Hi Cassondra,
    I don’t drive and most of the time mass transit or even walking gets you there faster than driving. We do have a pretty efficient public transportation system here in NYC. I do love road trips even though I’ve only been on a few. Usually we’ll hop on a plane to get to our destination.

    • 1.1
      Caren Crane says:

      Jane, one of these days you’ll get tired of having the GR hanging about and let Helen wrangle with him a while. Ha! ;)

    • 1.2
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Hi Jane,

      You are turning into quite the rooster sitter!

      New York is one of those cities that always makes me think I could live without a car. We always just park in a garage and do without one when we’re there if we drive up. Most of the time we fly of course, and I’ve never felt like I wished I had a car. Much less stressful to get around in other ways.

  2. 2
    Helen Sibbritt says:

    Cassondra

    Love this post I do drive I got my license when I was 17 and my boyfriend now hubby taught me to drive and I had 3 lessons from a driving school neither of my parents ever drove and we never had a car so I was very determined to learn to drive I was over public transport LOL. These days I still drive a fair bit but I must say hubby prefers to drive and I am happy to be a passenger especially when we go on long trips. We are driving up to Queensland in about 3 weeks for ARRC2013 and I will do some of the driving but he will do most of it. It takes about 12 to 14 hours to get there but we are staying over night somwhere and we will do it in 2 days and love my long trips in the car.

    Have Fun
    Helen

    • 2.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Hi Helen!

      So glad you’re getting to go to ARRC!

      My grandmother never drove, and never seemed to want to. Steve’s mother never drove either.

      My mom didn’t learn to drive a car or get her license until I was about 3, when she got a job outside the home and needed to drive to work.

      But I couldn’t imagine not driving when I was growing up. I was just SO ready to be mobile on more than my own two feet!

  3. 3
    Dianna aka Hrdwrkdmom says:

    Do you love to drive? Or would you prefer to let someone else do the driving?
    Though as a little girl I did the same things you did my father died when I was 17 and we hadn’t gotten as far as a license yet, so I didn’t actually drive a car until I was 26. It is not one of my favorite things.

    Who taught you to drive? Did you learn in a Driver Education class in high school? Or from a family member?
    My boyfriend at the time taught me to drive, he taught me to drive an automatic. Later, way after we were married he attempted to teach me to drive a stick. Something changed, I never did learn to drive a standard because the first time he raised his voice I set the brake and got out leaving him no choice but to get in the driver’s seat and get us where we were going. Don’t raise your voice to be when I am doing my best.

    What kind of car did you drive when you were learning?
    A beautiful 72 Doge Charger, SE Brougham. It was beautiful, Bronze with a white vinyl top and white leather seats.

    How old were you when you took your test and got your license? 26 years old

    If you don’t drive, is there mass transit where you are? How do you get where you want to go?
    Prior to my license I road a greyhound bus to and from work, the grocery store (then I would walk back carrying the groceries)

    Do you enjoy driving—or riding–on long trips?
    I have a terrible tendency to go to sleep under those circumstances so I avoid long trips.

    Or would you rather hop a plane?
    If I could afford it that would be the way I would go.

    Do you have fond memories of road trips as a kid?
    We traveled to see family every year, I was one of the kids that got car sick. I finally outgrew it but it was ugly for years.

    When you’re on the road, what do you do to keep yourself entertained—or if it’s late at night, what do you do to keep yourself awake?
    I talk to myself, and on rare occasions I answer myself too.

    If you’re a writer, do you work on your stories while you’re on the road?

    • 3.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Oh, you got carsick as a kid?

      That’s AWFUL. Especially since the kids usually end up in the back. I never was carsick when I was a kid, but nowadays, riding in the back for very long will make me kind of feel bad.

      And see…you were like my mom–not getting your license until later. Hers came MUCH later though–she was 40.

      OH…LOL about answering yourself. I do that.

      I have entire conversations back and forth. Sometimes just in my mind, but sometimes out loud too.

  4. 4
    Anna Sugden says:

    I don’t mind driving – though I wouldn’t want to do long distances all the time as part of my job. I used to enjoy my commute because I could listen to audio books – that’s how I ‘read’ Harry Potter!

    But if it comes to long distance, and I’m not just ambling along enjoying the journey, I prefer to get there fast.

    I too don’t get the ‘I don’t drive’ thing – okay, if you live in the city, I do get it. But those who just won’t drive – I couldn’t stand relying on others like that! I like my independence.

    I do find drives useful for unsnarling plot issues and writing problems – more so if I’m the passenger than the driver. Everyone’s used to me opening the glove compartment, pulling out my pen and paper and jotting stuff down!

    • 4.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Anna, when I was songwriting, I learned to carry a little mini cassette recorder to record ideas and lyrics and tunes that I would think of.

      Now I still carry one in my purse to record something if I’m where I can’t write it down.

      Old habit, but it’s saved me at times.

  5. 5
    Caren Crane says:

    Cassondra, I ADORE driving. I really, really love it. As a kid, my parents had a fast-growing family and no money to speak of, so all our vacations were road trips. We would drive from Nashville to Atlanta to see my uncle, or to the Gulf Coast for camping vacations or to the mountains for camping and hiking vacations. We tooled to Pennsylvania to visit my aunt. And then there were the countless trips 1 or 1-1/2 hours to visit my mom’s relatives in the country or my paternal grandfather’s farm (which was also timberland with a huge creek, so great for hunting and fishing). I thought that’s how you *did* vacation!

    My kids have been thrown in the car since birth and carted the 3 hours to Charlotte to see family (mine and, back in the day, my husband’s). We’ve driven them to Orlando and Hilton Head and Williamsburg and Charleston on a regular basis. Also out to the country west of Nashville when my grandmother and some of her sisters were still there. We love road trips!

    I don’t do well driving at night, so that requires a ton of Coke Zero and lots of CDs. I’ve just figured out I need some sort of data cable to hook my iPod into my car stereo, which will be awesome. Music really pumps the energy and keeps me up, up, up.

    I, too, have had epiphanies of all sorts while driving. And while I love company on road trips, I am just FINE traveling alone and sometimes strongly prefer it, depending on what’s going on. Only been driving since I was 16, when my BFF’s dad taught us in his old Ford station wagon in the cemeteries and the high school parking lot. Then Shelby Park. Woe be unto the patrons of the park! :D

    • 5.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Caren, I keep ZZTop in the CD rack just for night driving when I get tired or sleepy. People laugh at me as they pass, or as I pass them, rocking along in my red minivan jamming to “She’s Got Legs”

  6. 6
    Janga says:

    My dad started teaching me to drive when I was fifteen. He yelled, I cried, and we ended the lessons. I got my license a few weeks after I graduated from college, a week after I bought my first car–a brand new Corvair. (Does that date me!) My brother and sister each gave me a couple of driving lessons, and the state patrolman who administered my driving test didn’t even ask me to backup or park. Five days after I got my license, I drove alone to a house party 165 miles away–most of it Interstate. Two months later I was living in metro Atlanta, which is when I really learned to drive–as a matter of survival.

    I spent twenty plus years commuting. I drove 104 miles five days a week; it was exactly fifty-two miles from my driveway to a faculty parking lot. I did enjoy the alone time. I used it to ponder, to practice my French, and to sing along with the radio or CD. Alone in a car is the only time I sing aloud. The reason would be obvious had you ever heard me sing. Since I retired I drive less often, and I enjoy it less when I do. I especially hate driving in Atlanta.

    • 6.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Oh, Janga, my mom’s first car was a Corvair! I loved that cute little thing. It was a hand-me -down from my grandfather because mom couldn’t afford a car and my dad wouldn’t buy her one. But to get a job, she needed a car.

      If she hadn’t gotten that little car, I don’t know that I would be as good a driver as I am today, because I spent a good deal of time on HER lap, too, driving..ahem…NOT on the farm.

      Ahem.

  7. 7
    pjpuppymom says:

    Another wonderful blog, Cassondra! I have fond memories of learning to drive my grandpa’s tractor. I was “driving” from my grandpa’s or my uncle’s lap long before I was old enough to reach the pedals.

    I love to drive. I learned in driver’s ed and practiced with my dad in my parents’ Cadillac. Got my license on my 16th birthday, drove the family car to that night’s high school football game and never looked back.

    I’ve driven all over the country, across mountains, the desert, in large cities and small towns. Two memorable road trips are a four week trip from Michigan to Seattle, down the Pacific Coast then back across the southern states and up to Michigan through the heartland. I was 12 and my dad did all the driving while I soaked in the gorgeous scenery like a sponge. The other was a four week trip from Michigan to Key West, Florida with my three younger brothers. I was 20 and did all the driving. Many adventures on that trip!

    We have a bus system here but the closest stop is five miles from my house so obviously I don’t use it.

    I listen to music or talk radio (usually ESPN) while driving but I’m often writing (reviews and blogs) in my head at the same time.

    I drive to Charlotte (2.5. hours) a couple times a month. The dogs love to ride along and I enjoy the changing scenery along the route. I have my favorite stop along the way (best gas prices, best iced tea – great customer service).

    Hope you have a safe, and enjoyable, trip to Atlanta!

    • 7.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      PJ, I loved looking at the scenery when we drove. My uncles, brothers and cousins all let me use the map and navigate. I got good at it.

      And I don’t see how, now, kids can ride with their noses in a video game. I wanted to SEE THE COUNTRY! I wanted to look at all those places I’d never been, or look at them again to see what was new and different from the last time I went through there.

      In a few years I’ll probably be one of those old people who swerves and creeps along, “farming” while I drive.

      • 7.1.1
        pjpuppymom says:

        Cassondra, much of our trip out west was spent on state and local highways (as opposed to interstates). We saw so much of the beauty of rural America that people miss today in their rush to reach a destination. I remember when we first started making Christmas trips to Florida to visit relatives when I was nine. There wasn’t a single interstate on the route and I reveled in the magnificence of the horse farms, town squares, old plantation houses…the beauty and grace of our southern states. Many was the time we would travel through a small town on a Sunday morning, stop to attend services at a local church and end up spending half the afternoon enjoying conversation and a potluck lunch on the church’s side lawn. Southern hospitality at its finest. :)

        • 7.1.1.1
          Cassondra Murray says:

          Oh, PJ! What wonderful memories!

          You should write about that…a set of stories about those trips.

          I can’t even imagine how many wonderful people you met and how many great stories you heard.

          What a gift your parents gave you by stopping at those small town churches!

  8. 8
    Susan Sey says:

    Cassondra, I adore your blogs. I’m sorry but I do. Something about the way you write, the way you evoke a feeling, an atmosphere, something. It just speaks to me. Please write a novel I can buy.

    Okay, now that that’s out of the way, I must address the tractor. I saw the photo before I read the blog & thought, “Well, jeez, there’s my dad’s tractor.” And sure enough, I read along & got to the words Allis Chalmers & had a wave of nostalgia so intense I had to close my eyes.

    That’s my dad’s tractor.

    Now I didn’t grow up on a farm but I did grow up out in the country. We moved there from the burbs when I was six & the property came with a big old Allis Chalmers my dad used to grade the driveway in the spring & plow it in the winter. (It was a good quarter of a mile, too much to shovel and the ruts in the spring would swallow a fully grown cow. Kid you not.)

    Now we were far too suburban for my dad (well, okay, it was my mom who objected) to let me drive the tractor, but a piece of land the size of ours definitely required a riding lawn mower, which I was driving by age 8. And back in the early 80s? That thing was easily the size of a Kia or a Prius.

    Good times. :-)

    thanks for a gorgeous trip down memory lane, Cassondra. I’m going to call my dad today.

    • 8.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Susan, I chose that because that was my dad’s tractor too.

      It’s still sitting in my mom’s barn, and I’m really hoping that I get it at some point. I don’t have a place to keep it, but I really want that tractor. Maybe I could put up one of those little inexpensive portable carports for it. I don’t have a garage for my car, but I will buy something if I can have that tractor.

  9. 9

    Cassondra –
    Until recently, I’ve always loved long trips. Even as a kid in the backseat. I used to pretend I had a friend from a hundred years earlier (magic closet) in the backseat with me and I’d be explaining all the wonders they were seating. Unfortunately those conversations were in my head or my parents would have been pulling into the nearest psych ward :-)

    When I loved long trips either alone or with the dh – until we had kids. That did it for me. All the packing that goes along with babies, the constant whining (no DVDs back then), the strapping in, unstrapping, strapping in again – long car trips with kids is an ordeal.

    Once I started writing, I really enjoyed driving long trips alone or with another writer friend who liked to plot along the way. Now eyesight issues and time demands are making driving difficult. I’m flying more than I used to out of necessity but it’s not the same.

    • 9.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Donna I am so with you on the kids and driving thing. Doing ANYTHING outside the home with little kids is one heck of an ordeal. Especially if there’s more than one.

      I see moms in grocery stores and I think, “how do you even take a shower, let alone go anywhere or get them all dressed?”

      I would likely just let them run around the house naked and have stuff delivered until they were 14.

      Which is why I’m not a mom.

      There would be no driving if there was whining involved. I don’t do well with whining. Not even my own.

  10. 10
    deelynn says:

    I adore your stories….

    I hate driving……

    Proud to state that Allis Chalmers originated in West Allis, Wi., a small town west of Milwaukee where I was born and raised. I have been living in West Allis (or Stallis, as the locals pronounce it) for over30 yrs. with no plans to retire anywhere else.

    • 10.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Oh, how interesting that Allis Chalmers comes from there where you are!

      That’s very cool. I had no idea about their origins. I’ve never had time to look into it.

      I’m glad you liked the story.

      Sad face, though, that you hate to drive. I may get that way again. We shall see. I hope not.

  11. 11
    catslady says:

    Oh, my upbringing was the total opposite. My parents never wanted us to do anything. Very protective and or because we were girls (sigh). Neither of my parents really liked driving and did only local driving – no highways. I married young and my husband was into sports cars and although I tried driving with a shift, we live where there are many steep hills and I was just too scared. Eventually in my late 20”s I got my license but I still never drove. Finally, when we had our kids and my oldest was 3 I needed a car to get her to preschool. So, yes, I drive but no highways (except a few trips to Ohio which was flat lol) and I hate merging. Both my daughters learned at 18 and will go anywhere and everywhere. I wanted to make sure they weren’t like me. It has really kept me from doing a lot of things.

    • 11.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Catslady,

      You know, there are certainly reasons that young children should not be issued driver’s licenses, but I do think the younger you learn to DO something, the better you are at it–because you pick up things so much more quickly when you’re a kid.

      All kids are not ready to drive at the same time, I’m guessing. Some 16-year-olds are plenty mature enough to handle driving. Others–well–the insurance statistics prove they all are not.

      However, it’s my theory that one class in high school and a few times out on the road with a learner’s permit, does not a good driver make. Driving well takes a lot of practice, and I think maybe we shouldn’t blame the kids’ age so much as the parents and the “system” for not starting them learning earlier, or giving them the opportunity for more practice. There isn’t much way to do that when you only get a few weeks with the kid and the permit.

      I think people in cities have it harder–there’s no open road–no place to let the kid drive and try stuff without a lot of traffic around–to get used to the way the car “feels” around them before they’re faced with having to watch out for a thousand OTHER drivers–not all smart ones–coming at them.

      I actually know a fair number of parents like yours who don’t think their kids need to learn things–in particular to drive– early on. I think those kids may have to work much harder to become confident drivers later on. You got it right, helping your girls get their licenses early.

      Hmmm..maybe 2013 will be your year to get out and learning to drive like a stunt driver! I say it’s never too late to start having fun with it.

  12. 12
    Deelynn says:

    I love your stories….

    I hate driving…..

    I’m proud to claim that Allis Chalmers was founded in a small city just west of Milwaukee…West Allis, Wi. ” Stallis “, as referred to by locals, is where I have resided for the past 30 some years.

  13. 13

    Cassondra, I like to drive. The only downside is that I can’t look at the scenery, except for what’s visible ahead of the car. So sometimes I’d rather be a passenger.

    I learned to drive on a Volkswagen van, on the theory that if I learned on a stick shift, I could drive anything. Well, maybe not a semi, but my folks didn’t have those in mind.

    I’ve lived in places with no mass transit and slow mass transit, so I’m glad I could drive. I got my license at 16.

    • 13.1
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Nancy I think learning on a stick is smart.

      I learned to drive a stick in my brother’s little car in the same field where I learned to drive a tractor.

  14. 14

    Hey Cassondra!

    I love road trips, but prefer to be the passenger! Luckily for my my hubby loves to drive and he’s willing to pull over when some historical marker catches my eyes, or craft fair, or antique shop.

    I don’t like to be the driver for overpasses, bridges and tunnels…yeah, limits where I want to drive…especially in Dallas where they build huge five-story high over passes on the freeways!

    • 14.1

      Suz, that’s kind of like our system. We pull over for bookstores and historic sites.

      I don’t think I’d like those big overpasses, either. They make me a little nervous. I don’t mind tunnels, though. I pretend I’m driving into Stargate Command, which supposedly was in Cheyenne Mtn, Colorado.

    • 14.2
      Cassondra Murray says:

      Suz, the only time I wig out a little is when I’m driving over water and can’t see the other end of the bridge.

      I do okay, but I have to remember to focus on the road. Just on the road.

  15. 15
    Lianne says:

    I’m a non-driver, got as far as getting the wriitten part of my licence done and no further. Luckily most things are within walking distance, or the bus / train systems.

  16. 16
    kaelee says:

    Cassondra ~ Lovely post. I have three great nieces who are learning to drive by sitting in my nephew’s lap while they drive about a mile down the road to my sister’s place. Totally not legal.

    I love to drive. I got my driver’s license when I was 35. Yes that’s late but my younger brother was 55 when he got his. I took driver’s lessons . When I first got married my husband tried to teach me but I almost ran our brand new car into a light standard in a parking lot. That was the end of that. It didn’t help that my husband loves to drive. His record is over 800 miles in one day. We both love going on long road trips.
    When I was growing up we almost always went for a Sunday afternoon drive and most summers we would go on a road trip somewhere.

  17. 17
    EC Spurlock says:

    I took driver’s ed in high school with a teacher who had the “scared straight” method of teaching. He loved to pass out photos and news stories about bloody accidents in class and had the car rigged to do different things to teach you how to handle emergency situations. I don’t know if it made any of the wild kids better drivers but it scared the willies out of those of us who would have been careful drivers to start with. I got my license at seventeen and didn’t drive again for ten years. Then I took a brush-up course with a normal driving school and did much better. Once I got used to it I spent years driving to conventions all up and down the Eastern Seaboard, either alone or with friends, and thought nothing of making a four or five hour drive, as long as I had a good idea of where I was going.

    My family did take a lot of road trips when I was younger, including a couple cross-country and others where we would fly out and rent a car when we got there. We saw a lot of wonderful places but I hated traveling with my sister. She is very OCD and travels by stopwatch. She would have the whole trip planned out including all the attractions and exactly how long we could stay at each one and have all the hotels reserved for where we were going to stay each night. Absolutely no room for spontaneity or serendipity. I would love to be able to take those trips again with my kids but time and money no longer allow. We did used to take some fun trips to visit family in Michigan and Connecticut and they both still want to go back to Mystic Seaport, so hopefully some day.

    Now I am teaching two very reluctant drivers myself. Their fear is understandable since both of them were with me when we got T-boned by a taxi that ran a stop sign eight years ago (and yes all that emergency training did come in handy as I managed to keep the car upright and stop safely with nobody hurt) and my oldest more recently was in a terrible accident while driving home with a friend and her family (the dad fell asleep at the wheel and rolled the car down a gulley) and ended up with a couple of broken ribs but luckily nothing more serious. So now I can’t convince them that they are actually safer when they are in control of the car themselves. Unfortunately they’re going to have to get themselves to jobs etc. soon enough so they’ll have to bite the bullet.

  18. 18
    Amy says:

    OMG I LOVE to drive! I just got back from a 1200 mile trip, the second one in 3 weeks no less. I’d rather drive anywhere! Don’t get me wrong, trains and planes are great (sorry but buses for a trip, no way), but in a car, driving down the highway, ahhh that’s where I’m at home. I think it is because we always had to drive to my grandmother’s house, which was an 8 hour trip, at least, from the time I was 10. So for me, driving brings happy thoughts.
    I did learn to drive in driver’s ed, and my first car was a Studebaker, baby blue. Only bad thing about it, it was the only one around and everyone knew it was my car, so I did get in trouble a few times when people would mention to my mother they had seen me someplace I wasn’t suppose to be/hadn’t told her I was going. We had to be 16, 1 month, and 1 day old to get our license, but I’d gotten in trouble, so I got grounded for 1 week, which meant I had to wait an extra week to get my license. My mom made it up to me though, by not making me go to school that day (we could get an excused absense to get our license). I did show up AFTER school to pick up my BF and we we drove all over the city and back. It was heaven.
    So please, give me the keys, cds, radio, and SOME audio books (I’ve found some audio books by some of my favorite authors just don’t do it for me, I have to listen to things I probably wouldn’t read. An audio book takes away the [sane] voices in my head…to quote this author I know, AC, LOL just realizzed we have the same intials).
    BTW, I’ve even been know to drive 500 miles RT just to go see one of my teen idols in concert…David Cassidy, anyone? Yes, I did. All in a 12 hour span. I REALLY LOVE driving.