Monday, February 01, 2010

Journal in a Jar 02.01.10 ~ Driving

Tell about how, when, where you learned to drive.

Driver's Ed at Ramona HS was one of the highlights of my tenth grade year. I was ready to drive. I was ready to have a kick-ass car with stickers on it. I was ready to have a taste of freedom!

For one semester, we had classroom instruction as well as 'simulator' training in a trailer on the outskirts of the campus. Then, we had the 'behind the wheel' instruction with the meanest teachers on staff! I don't recall his name, but the teacher I had was not nice. At all. One afternoon, while driving in the school's back parking lot, I hit some wooden beam or whatever. He shrieked. Shrieked. I, of course, laughed inappropriately; but inside I was mortified! Blah blah blah...I passed. Yay!

I went one day with my dad to the lower RCC parking lot to practice driving. Guess I scared him because my sister took me driving after that. Guess I scared her because my brother-in-law took me driving after that.

I was a pro driving the RCC parking lot! Like most other new drivers, once I hit the street, I was too scared to drive faster than 30 mph. I got in a lot of practice; became a pretty good driver.

And that was it.

Dad had lost his job when Kaiser Steel closed, so a car for Rissa wasn't in the cards. Boo! There was no chance I'd be able to drive his beloved '66 Mustang (don't think I didn't ask a thousand times...). I wouldn't drive again until I got my driver's license at 18.

In a strange twist of fate, I ended up teaching drivers ed and drivers training in the late 90s. My friend Suzanne ran a driving school and she needed female instructors. I took and passed the test then started working at South Bay Driving School. It was pretty great working/driving around the South Bay during the summer - I'd always make the students drive down the esplanade in Redondo and I loved when students lived off PV Drive along the coast.

Oh my gosh - I *just* remembered a great driving story! My first car was a 1977 Chevy Nova. Yeah, I know. Within the first week or two of having the car, me, Sherry and Kathy went cruising Market Street in Riverside. Yeah, I know. But it was the thing to do! Don't judge. So, there we are - music blaring, sunroof open, my friends and me enjoying ourselves and freedom. We get to the turnaround point and I, of course, miss it. We go up one block, turn into a business driveway/parking lot and try to make a U-turn. Crunch! What the hell?! I jumped out to find not only did I hit a huge potted ficus tree of some sort but I'd actually moved the pot a few feet from its original place! I, of course, laughed inappropriately; but inside I was mortified. It's one of those shake my head moments.

I'm a pretty good driver. I have road rage issues; but that's other drivers - not me.


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