Thursday, November 15, 2007

Driving Lessons

“I need to learn how to drive,” I say as we cruise down the Long Island Expressway towards my house.

“I’ll pull over and you can drive,” Mike tells me.

“No, no way.” But sure enough he’s slowing down and getting off at the Francis Lewis Boulevard exit. “No! I haven’t driven in over two years.”

He slows to a stop and gets out of the car. Soon he’s standing at the passenger side door. He whips it open.

My eyes are dinner plates. All I can manage is a long whiny, “Nooooooo,” but he grabs my wrist and tugs me out of my seat.

“Look, it’s 3AM, the streets are empty. All you need to do is drive straight. Just try.”

The next thing I know I’m sitting in the driver’s seat trembling. "I should tell you, the reason I haven't driven in so long is because I got into an accident."

“An accident, that's exactly what it was. Just calm down,” he says and strokes my knee reassuringly. “We’re not doing anything until you calm down.”

“Okay, okay, I’m calm,” I say gripping the steering wheel.

“What do you want to do first?”

“Adjust the seat?” I ask.

“Adjust it then.”

I pull the lever under me and inch the seat forward.

“Mirrors okay?”

“I can’t see anything out of the mirror on your side,” I say and I’m ready to give up but he adjusts it for me and I’m out of excuses.

“I’m putting it into drive now, hold down the brake. You ready?”

“Meh,” I squeak, but he shifts it into gear and I ease off the brake and press down on the gas. Soon we're oozing down the street driving slower than I think I should be but the speedometer says I’m going 40.

“You’re a good driver,” he says and tells me to turn right here, left there, U-turn before we hit the highway, slow down at the stop sign, “Why are you so nervous? You’re doing fine.” I pull over in front of my house and exhale for what feels like the first time in ten minutes.

I skip out of the car. “I can’t believe I drove! I can’t believe you let me drive! Thanks!” I squeal throwing my arms around his neck.

He laughs at me. “Whatever, thanks for the lift.”

I pause and look at him. “Seriously,” I say, “thank you.”



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