We were sitting tonight watching the Big Bang Theory, the episode when Sheldon is forced to learn how to drive because no one can stand being his chauffeur. It got me thinking about how I learned to drive. I’ve mentioned before that I learned to drive a “standard” and had help from Lynne in that department. Learning to drive an “automatic”, the family car, the Chevy station wagon; that was my Dad.
For those of you who know Rhode Islanders at all, we give directions, and describe locations, by “where _____ used to be”; for example, “You take a right where the 7-Eleven used to be.” So you’ll understand that one of the places my father was willing to take me driving, was down Route 2 in Warwick, where the “Tent” used to be. What’s there now is a Lowe’s, a Denny’s, a Raymour & Flanagan furniture store and a car dealership.
I’d done so well in the ginormous parking lot at CCRI, maybe Dad thought I was ready for the main roads. Now, sitting in the driver’s seat of the black Chevy Caprice Classic was intimidating to begin with; in 1978 that’s a pretty heavy piece of metal! More nerve-wracking though, was the force my Dad would pound the dashboard with when he wanted me to hit the brakes. We’d made the mistake of traveling down that busy road at rush hour and I lost count of how many times I heard the thud of Dad’s hand hit the dash! We ended up home safely by getting to some neighborhood roads that I was more familiar with and could more easily navigate.
I was somewhat surprised, but I did indeed learn to drive, and I passed my road test. Thanks to my Dad.