I took Driver’s Ed in high school, because it was a required course. I did well in the Rules of the Road portion, but I had the misfortune of drawing possibly the worst driving instructor in history for my time behind the wheel. Illinois High School Association rules stated that all coaches had to be full-time teachers at the school, and Mr. G, who was the defensive line coach, had no college degree, so they made him a driving instructor. He had a quick temper and any small mistake behind the wheel led to him yelling and generally making me feel like pulling the car over, getting out and walking home. He convinced me that I had a depth perception problem and probably should never drive.
A few years later, I was a supervisor at a food plant, and one of my jobs was driving a forklift. I told the personnel manager about my experience with Mr. G and was ordered to see an optometrist to ensure that I wouldn’t drive a forklift off the loading dock. After giving me the test, my optometrist muttered something about idiot Driver’s Ed instructors and certified me safe to drive.
I still didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 28 and working a job in which I traveled heavily and had to rent cars. I was a reasonably good driver, and got lots of experience driving to and from client sites and out in search of food and entertainment In the evenings. Many trips between Atlanta and Chicago made me a confident motorist.
The last time I drove was the day that I had a stroke. From that point on, Mary has done all the driving. I was tested by a person who would re-certify me, and while I got through that, I was presented with a 5-page document telling me the modifications I had to make to our van, I decided it wasn’t worth it. One Sunday morning, I asked Mary if I could try driving the van. I was barely able to climb in on the driver’s side and couldn’t operate the gear shift. At that point, somewhat tearfully, I admitted I couldn’t do it, and that was that.
You know, I was friends with several defensive linemen in high school. I should have asked them to have a talk with their coach…
From their 1984 album Heartbeat City, The Cars with "Drive."
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word from Bert and Harry about Piels beer.
Young and Rubicam came up with this ad campaign, featuring "Bert" and "Harry" Piel, voiced by Bob and Ray (Bob voiced Harry, Ray voiced Bert).