Here I am, driving a tan Geo Prisim down the road I live on, a smile on my face. Guess why I’m smiling? Is it because I like driving? WRONG!! I am smiling because, currently, I know where I am, I know where I’m going, I haven’t had an accident, and the car hasn’t betrayed me with malfunction.  I am smiling out of sheer relief that nothing has gone wrong yet.


I HATE driving.

Unfortunatly, driving in this day in age is pretty much one of the necessites of life. That doesn’t make me like it anymore, but it did make me learn how to drive, take Driver Ed., and get my lisence.  Previously, I have avoided being out on the road, alone and unguided. I’d either go out shopping with my Mom, so that she could ride shotgun and make sure I didn’t take any wrong exits. Or I would hitch a ride with a freind who wanted to shop at the same places. Occasionally I’d drive myself, but then it wouldn’t be over a 12 mile drive.  People would always tell me "You’re never going to get used to driving till you have to do it by yourself." Yes, but, as long as I didn’t have to do it by myself, I wasn’t going to.

So, technically, it was probably very good for me to volunteer to help my Grandmother do Spring cleaning. There was absaloutly no reason for anyone else to be driving me, and it was going to take several trips. Now, to anyone who is experienced in driving or likes driving, or doesn’t hate driving with ever fiber of their being, driving to Grandma’s is easy. It’s a straight shot, with very little merging, and very little room for making mistakes. It is, though, highway driving (city driving is worse), include this one place where the speed limit is (gasp!) 65 mph.  And there’s all these other cars on the road! And trucks! And cops, who might pull you over, and you’re haven’t finished the probation that is automatically tacked on for the first year of your lisence!!!!

The first time I went out, yes, I did make it alive, whole, and without major disasters. I was incredibly tense the whole time long, from my face to the soles of my feet, but I did do it. It’s about 30 or 40 minute drive, depending on who’s driving and when. Apparently I still managed to do it in less time then my Grandpa.

 "You’re here early–were you speeding?"

  "I had to, Grandpa, otherwise I would have been run over! I only went 5 mph over the speed limit, and people were still passing me left and right!"

 When I took Driver Ed, my instructor was in a  really tight spot. See, there were three students in the car that he had to teach. One was this perfect driver who never did wrong. The next was me, super cautious, super paranoid, and not by any means beyond stupid mistakes.  The third was a teenaged boy who already had his lisence (an an accident), a grade-A reckless speed demon. When the Speed Demon was behind the wheel, it was all the instructor could do to keep him driving reasonably. In the end, he laid down a ultimatum: You drive above the speed limit, you get out from behind the wheel. And then I get behind the wheel, and it’s all the instructor can do to keep me driving reasonably, as I’d much rather be going slower than the speed limit.  One time, when I was dutifully driving 55 mph, he finally broke down and, with the Speed Demon in the backseat, told me that I really ought to be going faster because all the cars were going so much faster that it really wasn’t safe for me to be going the speed limit.

Which Grandpa concedes.

 "Just don’t get caught, because it’s awful expensive!" As if I didn’t already have enough things to be worried about when I was driving.

I made it home alive, too. I considered all of this to be a major accomplishment. Next time I went out housecleaning, though, I also had to do some shopping. Can somebody please start playing the ominous music now? I really, really did not the trip to be any more complicated then I already felt it was, but I had no choice. It was the only way to get my precious sewing machine out of the repair shop.  So I bravely (or not so bravely) embarked on that trip too.

I got to my first shopping stop okay, but I was running late. Then the fun and games began. I got lost, thoroughly lost.  I was supposed to be done with my shopping and at my Grandparent’s by lunch, and it was already quite apparent that wasn’t goin to happen. I took wrong turns, went miles out of my way, pulled over and looked at maps, and was incredibly grateful to the guy in the pick up truck who saw me realize that I was in the wrong lane (turn only when I wanted to go straight, or something), and graciously stopped and let me move in front of him. (I would just like to say, to all drivers out there, I am always incredibly relieved when you can see I’m being an idiot and you’re nice to me anyway. I’m not trying to be an idiot, it just comes naturally.  Next time you see someone cutting you off at the last minute, or changing lanes every few minutes, or going way too slow, have pity. They might just be totally clueless–it might even be me!)

I finally did get myself straightened out, and to my Grandparent’s house. I was totally flustered, upset, aggravated, and not in the least bit looking forward to the drive home, especially since now I had to stop on the way back to pick up my sewing machine.  But, seeing as I hadn’t felt any wings sprout out of my back, thus enabling myself to fly home instead of drive, I undertook that task as well.  (Though not with daisies and rainbows dancing over my head.)

It wasn’t any better, and in fact might have been worse. I got lost, lost, lost, lost. By the time I got home, I was pretty darn good at pulling over and looking at maps, reading road signs, and getting lost anyway.

When I finally got home and confessed to my disasters, Rundy grinned and said "Yep, Baptism by Fire! The only way you learn is when it gets burned into you!"

Yea, verily. But I wasn’t so cheerful about it.