Saturday, October 9, 2010

Driving Lessons and a Literal Mind


HSB has reached a new level in his growth. Not just the fact that he is now taller than me and I can lay my head on his shoulder…not that he would let me of course. The part that he has no patience for his mother is quite age appropriate and he does not fail to let me know how much I annoy him. But actually, I am talking about his driving lessons. Yes he has had three lessons with hubby so far.

If anyone has been following the saga of us getting HSB to drive then you would know that this is a huge accomplishment. The truth is he was very frightened to drive. It was quite the daunting task for him. It had taken all summer for him to prep for the learner’s permit and finally hubby had to take him, well push him, to the DMV and have him take the test. Of course he passed. So, now for the really fun part of the story.

You have to understand that HSB had been so afraid of driving that he actually wouldn’t even go to the local go-kart place. He was terrified. We had gone go-karting on vacation in San Diego years ago and he didn’t have a good experience. He got bumped and it upset him. He felt out of control and was very afraid to go too fast. So it was with great excitement and a little trepidation that he actually asked to go go-karting right after getting his permit.

Well needless to say hubby took him straight away. HSB went on the track for younger kids and realized that he could do quite well. In fact he was so thrilled that he made sure to bring his learner’s permit the next time so he could go on the more age appropriate track. Woohoo- a grand time was had by all. In fact he asked for a real lesson the next day. You bet hubby complied.

I guess it is something that men look forward to, the teaching your sons how to drive. It is really interesting, as we raise our children and we think about the things we had hoped to be able to do with them, it never really dawned on me that the driving lesson was one of them. For hubby it had been the dream of every father to be able to throw a baseball or football with your child on any given Sunday. Or watch your child in little league or peewee football/soccer game. But with our children none of this was to be. They either couldn't keep up and understand team sports as young children or as they grew they had no interest in sports. They just didn't see the fun of it. Missing out on these coming-of-age experiences with our children, I think is something we all can relate to. It had never occurred to me just how much it had meant to hubby to be able to do this one thing, driving lessons, with his son. (He couldn’t teach collegeman because collegeman's seizure disorder prevents him from driving.) A sense of normalcy, just one little thing, I suppose in a world that has never been quite normal for us. So instead of hiring the professional driving teacher off hubby went with HSB,

The first two lessons were very basic. Hubby took him to an empty parking lot and taught him first how to turn on the car. He sets up his seat. Fastens his seat belt. Checks the mirrors. Puts his foot on the break. Starts the car. Once they accomplished that HSB was able to move the car. However, the first time he didn’t get very far before a police car showed up in the parking lot. No not because of HSB’s driving, it was a routine patrol visit. It just coincided with HSB’s first driving lesson.

HSB immediately took out his wallet and placed it next to himself. Asked why, he said just in case the police stopped him he would have his permit ready to show the officer. That way he wouldn’t get in any trouble. OK fear of the police a good thing. Rules of the road, especially the speed limit, will be followed (hopefully). He actually only got to move the car about 100 feet that time before he tired of it and handed the wheel back to hubby. There was a little girl riding her bike in the parking lot and HSB was uneasy with how close (not) that she was coming to the car so he stopped. Better to be safe than sorry.

The next time was more of the same only no police and no little girl. He did move in a general straight line and practiced turning the wheel. So off they went for their third lesson today. Well today, hubby took him out on the regular road. Oh yippee.

It was a straight piece of road. No twists and no turns. All HSB had to do was go straight. Keep his foot on the gas and point the car in one general direction. Well as he drove down the straight and narrow he kept turning on the blinkers, constantly, first right and then left then right and then left again. It was like he was creating a light show with the car.

Finally hubby asked HSB what he was doing…

Well, hubby had told HSB that every time he turned the wheel right or left he had to use his blinkers to let people behind him know what he was about to do.  He had to move the wheel right and left to keep the car straight on the road so he was letting people behind him know what he was doing…

Hubby had to explain that he meant to use your blinkers when you make a turn onto another street or move to another lane…”oohhh I see” came the response.

Teaching someone with an absolute literal asperger mind to drive is not what hubby had envisioned when he thought about teaching his sons to drive. Hubby realized that for the future he was going to have to be extra specific with the driving lessons.

But I tell you what was typical about this driving lesson…the wide-eyed look of the parent/passenger/driving instructor, whose life flashes before their eyes when their teenager is behind the wheel of the car. I guess we got at least one typical part of the dream.

Until next time,

Staying off the roads on the weekends,

Elise