We were driving home from church today, and there was a Drivers Ed car behind us. It struck me that the contrast between what was going on in our car and what was probably happening in that car had to be pretty stark. I like to imagine that in that car, all was quiet and serene, a Lifescapes CD playing softly, the instructor occasionally giving directions in muted tones, like a yoga teacher. “Ok, now as you grip the wheel, always at the divine numbers of 10-and-2, feel the stress leave your fingers and be received by your brother automobile. Let all thoughts be replaced by the gentle hum of wheel on ever-stretching road. In about 4 kilometers, you’re going to want to gently glide into the right lane. Let the lane receive you as your mind continues its focus on the path…”
Meanwhile, my wife and I are driving in our travelling circus van with the entire family. If we opened the windows too much, the sheer amount of stuff that could fly out would make it seem as if someone had stolen a packed Goodwill van and become involved in a high-speed chase with the back door open: purses, socks, electronic parts, and, inexplicably, a Costco-sized pretzel barrel with $0.99 in change in it, would be among what we would leave in our trail. I’m lucky to have a single hand on the wheel. Someone in the back is loudly unhappy that another person sitting next to them has the nerve to breath. My son, a good half-hour past his naptime, is using every breath and every decibel at his disposal to ask any and everyone if they are going to the baseball game. Which baseball game? Don’t know and it doesn’t matter. Travis Tritt is crooning in the background, such as it is, about some problem he was facing 20 years ago. I might take a moment to wonder how that all worked out for him, but that thought would have been strangled by the shriek from the back seat. Apparently the child whose breathing was irking the other child apparently now has the audacity to add to the act of breathing a thumb twitch or some such thing. How does one respond to such a heartfelt accusation? My son knows: “We’re going to the baseball game!”
Take away? The guy in the Driver’s Ed car is not being prepared properly. Give him 5 minutes in our circus van – he’ll experience true defensive driving.