Wednesday, February 16, 2011

History of a Driver

3 years old
Learned to ride a trike. Clean driver's record.

4 years old
Bike with training wheels. Hard to operate on gravel drive. Tires would spin in place, gravel shooting about, resulting in road rage.

5 years old
2-wheeler. Fair share of spills and scraped knees. Often plowed headlong into shrubbery.

6 years old
Power Wheels. Had it going 0 to 2.5 in a heartbeat. It was either pedal to the metal or standstill; no middle-ground cruising speed. Couldn't drive a straight line to save his life. By the time he outgrew it, the pathetic vehicle was gravely in need of body work.

8 years old
Golf cart. Now you're talkin'. He would drive down the lane with the wind in his face (he had demolished the windshield early on) screaming in sheer delight. He careened about, landing the cart in ditches, stuck in the low-hanging branches of trees, into mud puddles that could swallow a cow. Neighbor gave him a restraining order, banning him from operating it anywhere near his property.

14 years old
No longer interested in outdoor pursuits, he became more.... inwardly focused. When his gaze was fixated on a screen, the world around him dropped away. Result? Looking up from a hand-held screen from the passenger's seat, he would ask (a 1/2 mile from home), "Where are we and how long till we get home?"
Orientation skills? Nill.
Awareness of surroundings? Absent.

16 years old
In their infinite wisdom, the employees of the great commonwealth of PA issued Patrick a driver's permit yesterday, which states that he is now qualified to operate a 2000 pound hunk of steel and glass.
On the roads.
Around other people.

The boy who can't remember to hand in his chem labs will now have to steer, maintain speed, brake smoothly, and know the difference between a red light, a blinker, and a 4-way stop. He will need to know that hydroplaning is not landing a small seaplane on a lake, the braking distance on dry roads vs wet, and who has right-of-way in a traffic circle.
All while breathing.

The folks at DMV may have said he is ready.

I, on the other hand, am not.

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