Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lessons from Driver's Ed

Here I go again, letting more than a month go by without posting anything. In my defense, I’ve been without internet for a while. I had no idea how dependent I’d become on things like Google Maps.

My daughter just finished the classroom part of Driver’s Ed. I picked the closest location that was reasonably priced. If my internet service was up and running, I might have checked the street view of the driving school before enrolling. Lesson One: The risky part of learning to drive is not necessarily the driving.

Used car lots and liquor stores flanked the driving school. It was located upstairs in a two story building that also housed a smoke shop, a gold buyer and a cash advance place. Lesson Two: Sometimes you have to do things that go against your every instinct as a parent, like dropping your child off and driving away.

For the first two days my daughter walked to a fast food place at lunchtime with a couple of girls from the class. Lesson Three: Your classmates in Driver’s Ed are probably not the same students you run into in subjects like AP World History.

After the second day of listening to the two girls talk nonstop about their recreational drug use, she decided to ditch them before getting invited to light up on the way back to class. Instead she walked the two blocks back to the driving school alone. Lesson Four: Cute girls in shorts get unwelcome attention from truck drivers.

So, my daughter spent the last two days of Driver’s Ed clad in jeans and a sweatshirt. She opted to stay in the relative safety of the classroom for lunch. We both welcomed the end of day four, the last day of instruction.

“Guess what happened,” she said. “Today there was an armed robbery downstairs.”

“What?” I asked. “Where, in the smoke shop?”

“No, the cash advance place. One of the guys in the class saw someone run outside with a gun. And then in a minute there were cops everywhere. Oh, and here’s the best part – after all that, the guy got away!”

Lesson Five: Parenting teens is not for sissies.