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.


Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Parenting is never done. With all the goings - on, better be safe than sorry.

Kelly said...

Oh, man!! That is scary! Glad everything turned out okay after all. Your daughter must have been so frightened. I bet you are glad that is over with!

Bish Denham said...

Oof! At least you can be heartily glad you've raised a rational sane teen and that driver's ed is over.

Good job!

LW said...

It is so hard and we work so hard on doing the right things with our kids.
I am Happy to hear that all is ok and she is safe…
and obviously smart.


Rebecca Ramsey said...

Oh my lord!
How awful!
On the other hand, it makes a great story. Your writing is awesome.

Thank goodness it's over and your daughter made it through.
What is it with driving schools? You had one extreme and I had another with my middle child...You'd think a red flag would have gone up when the lady told me over the phone not to get too concerned when I saw the building just because it's in a mobile home. "Honey, be assured that this is a business and not a residence. Even though there are lawn chairs out front and a dog chained to a tree."

ICQB said...

Good mom, good daughter, bad driving school. Thank goodness that's over with!

Kids learning to drive is stressful enough without the added stress of the 'driving schools' thrown in.

Suzanne Casamento said...

OMG! You poor girl! How did you not freak out?!

BTW, parenting anyone is not for sissies. Hat's off to all your parents. ;)

Lilfix said...

OMG! Thank goodness it is over with...around here the new drivers take a class through their regular school, so its a history/math/etc. teacher that takes them for one week about a half an hour each day...and the parents have to fill out a chart that shows the parents let the new driver drive for 40 hours when they aren't in school...and it doesn't cost anything...Glad those days are over for me...grin...

Ara Burklund said...

Okay, maybe it's wrong, but I'm totally laughing. Sounds like the neighborhood where my husband sent me to get pepper spray when he didn't trust the guy I was carpooling to work with! On the up side, at least now your daughter knows where NOT to drive when she has her license.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

OMGoodness! I'm glad your daughter is finished with driver's ed...

Anita said...

I'll have to reread this next year when my daughter goes. Yikes! Maybe i'll get her a really fancy bike. :)

Rena said...

OMG! That's just crazy! But then again, in MT kids aren't even required to take a class, so I don't know who's crazier.

Mary Witzl said...

I second what Rebecca said above: you are a talented story-teller.

One thing I realized just the other day was that every single ms I'm writing (four, in total) features some sort of over-protective parent. For a while there I wondered why. My parents were a little old-fashioned, but not overly protective. Then I figured it out: it's me. I'm overly protective. Your story scared the crap out of me, and so did my older daughter's story about the Glasgow neighborhood she's visiting (sex 'n drugs 'n rock-and-roll), and hearing about my younger daughter's adventures last night, camping. We'd heard she'd be sharing the girls' tent: turns out that the girls shared their tents with their boyfriends and my daughter shared with ten boys, not all of whom are gay.

Parenting teens isn't a lark, is it?

adrienne said...

Keats - The worrying part is never done, anyway. :)

Kelly - I think she was more bored than anything - I was the nervous one!

Bish - It does make is easier knowing she has a good head on her shoulders.

Louise - It's hard, no matter how independent they become.

Becky - Thanks for the compliment! And yeah, I had no idea those driving schools were so funky. :/

ICQB - No wonder so many people are opting for the online course...which I thought was a poor substitute for classroom instruction. Hmmm...

Suzanne - I might have freaked out if I knew about it as it was happening - better to hear about it once all is well...

Lilfix - I learned in school, too. Here it's expensive and you don't know what they're getting into. But we do have to keep a log of practice hours - something we didn't even need to get a license.

Ara - True, she knows what part of town to avoid AND she has a better sense of direction than I do!

Sharon - Me too! One more thing crossed off the list. :)

Anita - Funny, I was thinking along those lines, too. I just got her a new bike lock. :)

Rena - Yikes, no class? I'll keep that in mind if I'm ever driving through Montana!

Mary - Sounds like your girls are having some interesting adventures, too! Maybe some things are just better not to know...
And thanks for the compliment on my writing. :)

Anne Spollen said...

Love the way this is narrated!

I once dropped my son off at a party - almost. I went to the door to ask for the house phone number (no, not really - I wanted to see what the parents were like and if they were home)

They were both visibly drunk. I drove away, son mortified in the seat next to mine.

You're right; it's not a job for sissies. Thank God you did such a good job raising your daughter!

C.R. Evers said...

wowza! scary!

However, I love the way you describe things!