Thursday, March 29, 2012


After his victory over the clutch... we began another day of driving practice... with a flawless take off.  Unfortunately, it was followed by some flawed bunny hops.  But he stuck with it and bent the clown car to his will again.  After many more repetitions, we decided to break for lunch.

Lunch is not important.  Though I did have one of those burgers made with  ice berg lettuce in lieu of a bun.  It was tasty and it did keep my carbs good and low.
But that was not the subject of interest.

Following lunch, we moved into the ominous world of quiet neighborhood streets.   He had some anxiety over the fact that cars were parked on the side of the streets, but got over it fairly quickly.  Up and down, over and around.  In and out of cull-d-sacs and stops at stop signs.  All very easy with almost no other traffic. 

Stop signs did not trouble him unless a car came up behind him.  That caused him to kill the engine, panic a little, then nearly peal out once or twice.  But to be expected.  Squeaky is an anxious person by nature. Fearing that he was holding people up made him nervous.

It wasn't until we decided to take one more turn around the block before heading home that things got exciting.  Squeaky made his last turn onto a street that you could not see down until you rounded a big bush...

and found the fire truck and ambulance blocking the small street where I live.
Before the boy could panic, I directed him to turn left onto a wider street that teed into mine.  Down toward the end is a big field where no cars were parked on either side.  I gave him a choice.

1) Make a simple U turn and go back the direction we had come.

2) Continue to the end and make a right  turn, but know that he would have to drive  fairly fast for a block before he could turn right again and get off the busier street. 

He opted for the U turn.  Fine and dandy... here we go!  Only he did not make a nice neat U in the road.  He made more of a half turn and came upon a curb...
that he climbed... and then parked there when the engine died... one wheel up and the other three down in the street where they belonged.

He looked horrified, so I laughed.  I wanted him to relax and not freak out.  Then a big white pick-up truck stopped down the street a bit and the driver stared at us.  We were both laughing at this point.   I'm fairly sure that his laughter was near hysteria.  The truck did not move.  I could feel Squeaky  changing from relief, that I was not upset, to embarrassed and upset himself.  I asked if he wanted me to back it off the curb.  

He did.  We did a "Chinese Fire Drill" from my youth and quickly changed places.  I backed the car down and parked at the curb.  The pick-up truck then decided that we had not damaged anything and that at least one of us could drive and went on about its way.  

"You want to drive again?"
"No.  I want to go home."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes.  I think I made your tire go flat."

I drove a bit and took my hands off the wheel...

"It's fine.  If it was flat, it would hump along, make noise or pull to the side."

That didn't ease his suffering.  When we pulled into the driveway a block down, he got out of the car and checked for damage.  The tire was fine.  The underside of the car was fine.  The rim looked fine... no flat spot, no dent.  Despite that, he semi-sulked all evening.  But he is willing to go again tomorrow.  

The man checked out the car when he got up too.  He thinks its fine.  I attribute that to the very low curb.  One of those streets that has been paved over so many times that the street nearly meets the level of the sidewalk.  It could have been worse.  No harm done.  I hope he shakes it off and doesn't psych himself out over it.  I know he can do this.  Its just a matter of practice, practice, practice.


  1. Practice is, indeed, the key. He'll get it. And you seem like an excellent and patient teacher.

  2. Poor Squeaky. I could almost feel his anxiety through this story. I really do hope he doesn't take that one little incident to heart. Hopefully, he'll have a really good driving day to put that one in the back of his mind :)

  3. god bless the clown car.

    you'll have to treat it to an oil change with the best oil you can find.

  4. Suldog- Thanks! He's doing great. No drama today. Some minor fumbles that I still find myself doing from time to time.

    laura. b.- He did very well today after a good night's rest. Today was an excellent day.

    billy pilgrim- God bless the clown car indeed! It does deserve a good oil change and maybe some loving spring cleaning too. I've washed and waxed its outside, but the inside could use some attention. I bought it four years ago for $1,000 and it is the best car deal that I have ever made.

  5. Suldog- Thank you! I try. He seems to be doing much better each day. I think he will be ready to get his license by the time he goes home. But I am advising him to take the test in an automatic. That way his being nervous will not affect his take off.

    laura b- I felt very badly for him. After a nice rest and a new day, he did a fantastic job today. It rained but he has to know how to drive in rain too, so it was good experience.

    billy pilgrim- Yes! God bless the clown car! I will get it a nice oil change and I think I'll even treat it to a nice Armor-All job on the dash and a good wash of the seat covers. It certainly will have earned it.

    The Fast Food Princess really did not want the Mighty Sonata? What did you get her to drive?

  6. oh learning a clutch is so hard. it's good you're a patient teacher. the first person who tried to teach me wound up screaming at me inside of 5 minutes. i let the car stall and told him we were done.

  7. You are a good mom. I know better than to teach my girls to drive. WE would kill each other.

  8. Yep. But you know, better for a kid to be a little anious than overly confidant.