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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Driving Miss Mama

It’s been a couple of weeks since Petya received his provisional driver’s license on his 16th birthday.  As excited as I am for him, I still have not been in the car when he was driving.

Since our Nation’s Capital does not require any type of Driver’s Ed, we felt it best for him to get his feet wet outside of the area, mostly driving on secondary roads near the dacha, hundreds of miles away, in order to gain some experience.  And now my number was being called.

“Mama, are you ready for me to drive you around?” he asked, thoroughly delighted at the prospect of displaying his driving skills.

“Sure, Big Guy!” I enthused outwardly, shaking and quaking on the inside.

Actually, he had always been quite good at go-carts, zipping here and there, so maybe there was no reason to be concerned.  Yet, there was always that experiential curve.  If go-carts were any indication, there was a small crash or two in the beginning, if I remember correctly….

“Going for a ride?” Benedetto asked with a vaguely wicked tone.

“I’m going to drive Mama when I go to tennis,” Petya said.

“Get ready,” his father said in my direction, “and stay away from the side of the road,” he said in Petya’s direction.

“Are we talking about fingernails in the dashboard?” I wondered aloud.

Naturally, that day, they were running late.  I didn’t see how they could return home and then Petya and I head out with him driving… and still arrive on time.  Finally, they walked in the door and my son grabbed his gear.

Soooo weird to see him in the driver’s seat, but fun at the same time.  He backed up and out of the driveway, checking both ways to see that the coast was clear.  Although he was slightly over the yellow dividing line, it was a decent (backwards) pull-out.  I would have pulled around the circular driveway, however, Benedetto had us blocked-in.

“You’re doing great,” I encourage.

He did fine on the straightaway, coming up to a left turn, and not really slowing sufficiently.  I felt a lump in my throat as he was not turning the wheel much, either.  I thought for sure that we were headed for the curb.

“Slow down,” I try to say, calmly.  “Turn the wheel.”

That’s when I see the schoolbus.  I think its lights are flashing, but in this circumstance, I have no idea.  He’s parked at the corner of the street onto which we’re turning.  Somehow, we make the turn, though he took it too fast.  I’ve just learned that it’s not always necessary to have four wheels touching the ground at the same time, in order to drive.

Here we are on the straightaway, where he alternates between gas-brake, gas-brake, gas-brake, his right foot constantly on the move.

“Alright,” I suggest, “if you feel you’re going too fast, just let up on the gas, you don’t need the brake unless you’re going around a curve, or coming up to a stop.”

Meanwhile, I find on the turns he tends to go faster.  Rather counterintuitive.  Might be too much time spent on the go-cart track when he was younger….

Next, we happen upon a teen couple bicycling down the center of the road, both near the double solid-yellow line.  They will not budge as we approach.

Not too smart of a move if they realized who was behind the wheel.

Finally, they part ways to either side of the road.  Petya tries not to panic and slowly maneuvers past them, one on the left, one on the right, while immediately entering a traffic circle.

At the first major crossroad, he pauses as cars whiz past, and he gently eases out.  Approaching the tennis facility, he slows to a crawl, while turning left… too close to the left.  In other words, if a car had been coming out of the entryway, we would have crashed head-on.

Down the windy road we go, entering the parking lot.  He chooses a space and pulls in rather nicely.  The front of the car is not exactly flush with the front of the space, but good enough.  We’re about 5 minutes late, and he rushes to the courts, putting the car in park, and still running for me.

“Great job!” I call.

He’s beaming ear-to-ear.  I climb into the driver’s seat, slightly shaking, and almost miss a turn on my way home.




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2 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sybil says:

    You are a saint.

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