DRIVING LESSONS


Jamie Drivingn

Yesterday we bumped into two friends we havent seen for ages.  In fact they are Jamies Grade 1 and Grade 7 teachers.  Jamie was driving the car and one looked at me and said, “I found the two most stressful parts of being a parent was choosing the matric dress and teaching my children to drive”.  And this comes from a well seasoned educator.

The story goes like this ……….

The word was out, everybody was failing their learners licence …….. by one point.

Sentences like …… moneymaking scam, and waste of time was being brandished around.  Booking the licence alone meant a full day out of school …… I kid you not.  We arrived at the traffic department at 7.00 am and Jamie was given ticket number 14 – he walked out of there at 1.00 pm ……… now this was to BOOK.

Well the day to write arrived, exactly one month after his 17th birthday, and in went a group of youngsters all looking very nervous.

Jamie being Jamie, had only done enough studing that was required in Jamieland ……. or 17 year old teen land.

All the parents waited outside (wish I had gone shopping because it took ages).

Jamie walks out ……. a sad look on his face.

“I failed by one point ……….. ”

“Phone your father ……”

“Dad I failed by one point”

At this Frans launches into one of those Dad lectures.  You know the ones …… “Son I told you to learn harder” and “I told you to learn for an extra hour” and “I hope you will take the next time seriously”.

Mid Dad lecture Jamie bursts into a HUGE grin and says “Just Kidding!!!!” and hauls out a piece of paper – HIS LEARNERS LICENCE.

I got such a fright that I tossed him the keys …. learning to drive starts NOW.

Now being who we are, we really dont allow the kids to do things before they are legally allowed to do it, no driving, drinking, going to bars etc.  So Jamie has had extremely little driving experience apart from parking the car at home – mmmmm now that I think about it thats about it (that I know of).

So off we go to grab a celebration bite to eat, and then to drive home from Humansdorp.

I get into the passenger side of my car and Jamie gets behind the wheel.

After much adjusting of the seat and steering wheel and shoofling in the seat, he looks at me ………

“Put on your safety belt”.  Good start.

AND-THEN-WE-START-JOLTING-DOWN-THE-ROAD-ONE-METER-AT-A-TIME.

“How am I doing?”, he asks as he stalls at the stop street.

“Very Good”, I say with gritted teeth after managing to peel my cheek of the windscreen.

NOTE TO SELF – Maybe the first driving lesson should be done at a deserted salt pan in Nevada …..
 or something.

So we stop round the corner of the stop street and I go through a couple of basics.  Like how to go into first gear.

Off we go.  Not so rattly the second time.

I begin to notice that my right foot is starting to tramp an imaginary brake, my right hand constantly moves towards the manual gear shift.

Then he puts the left hand indicator on for the first time and the car veers straight to the left.  I clamp my left hand on the passenger window.

He speeds up to 40 kmph.  “Slow down Jamie!!!!!!”  I yell.

“But its a 120 zone” he says.  I have to add here that Jamie has probable spent more time on wheels on the Humansdorp/St Francis Bay Road …….. Bicycle wheels, there is a difference.

We agree that 60 kmph is a good starter speed.

My body is rigid and pushing hard against the seat,  my left foot has made its way to between the dashboard and the windscreen, my right food is pumping an imaginary brake, my right hand is hovering above the gear shift and my left hand is still firmly flattened against the passenger window.

I am trying to be positive but my throat has completely sanded up and my mouth is opening and closing like a fish.  My eyes are wide and nostrils flared.

“Good driving Jamie”, I rasp.

“I know”  he replies.

A friend of ours overtakes us and toots and gives the thumbs up sign.  Jamie waves and the car veers to the right.  Me, well, I dont have any body parts left to do anything.

So there we drive the 16 kilometers home and into the driveway.

As we stop, Jamie looks at me with a huge grin on his face.

“Well that was great!!!!! and you didnt shout at me at all!!!!!”

I smile.

“Well done boy”  I croak.

…………… It took me 45 minutes to get out of the seat.  Now I have 4 years to worry about the dress.

 

HAND EXTENTIONS


Jeffreys Bay-20130112-00313

 

I have just received a broadcast from Rosie.  Now I think that a broadcast is a message that you send to all your Blackberry contacts, I know they always arrive on a blue background and rule of thumb I ignore them.

They normally go on the gist of ………….

Make So-and-So your friend pin no 12345667 and she/he is a lekker person.

or ……..

Write down the colour of your pants you are wearing now plus the food you last ate and make this your new bb status or name i.e. “Blue Chips”

Normally these messages are a load of toss, but this one caught my eye

“Sorry if anyone got strange messages with hearts and kissy faces my brother hacked my phone”.  Next to the message is a yellow round face with a white Minnie Mouse type of hand over the yellow round faces eyes (in add smiley terms this means “cant watch”).

Anyway …….. what here brother has done is almost a logistical impossibility.

Lets face it, how often do you see a kid without their blackberry in their hands? I swear I have tried to get hold of their berries and I cant.  We dont even use their phones as a form of discipline anymore because the actual separation becomes so traumatic that the whole thing becomes so big that it is simply not worth it!

So ……… picture the scene.  Jamie is innocently walking wherever he is walking, and, low and behold there sits his sisters Blackberry.  Now what does a 15 year old brother do ……… does he pick it up and put it safely in his sisters hands with a “look Rosie what an amazing brother I am, I found your Blackberry”?, does he just leave it exactly where it is?  NOOOOOOOOOOO, he picks it up and sends some kind of broadcast with hearts and kissy faces.

Now who does he send it to, carefully selected contacts?  All contacts? Boys only – big possiblility, or one random poor soul who is sitting and pondering why he is getting hearts and kissy faces from Rosie.

Now maybe this poor soul secretly likes Rosie, he gets this broadcast and his day is made.  Maybe he gets the broadcast and has no idea what it is all about. Maybe Rosie secretly likes him and he doesn’t know yet.  Maybe he has sent it to a friend of Rosie’s boyfriends and all hell is going to break loose when she sees that friend (or ex-friend) again.

Someone getting hold of our Blackberry is totally outside of my realm of understanding.  We simply did not do this when I was 12.  Today the kids have a level of communication that is immediate and in the wrong hands can be cruel and destructive.

Now Jamies innocent prank is cute, but my mind goes wandering to how much damage can be done by hacking into someone elses private bbm.  I am getting this sick feeling in the base of my tummy.

A kids reputation can be crushed by a few cruel words – remember other kids in their essence only believe what is fed in front of them.  Unfortunately the more scandalous the better,  they will wreak havoc with someones life and all will be forgotten by everyone the next day – except for the person picked on.

Real or imagined a broadcast can be sent from “whoevers” phone to his/ her 300 odd contacts – the 300 odd contacts will then forward the broadcast to their 300 odd contacts and so on.  Within the blink on an eye a rumor, video or photo can make it to thousands of Blackberries and read and believed by thousands of emotionally immature 12 year olds who will believe and pass on anything fed to them.

My world is rocking here, and not in a good way.

What is left for us to do?  Not much me thinks and all I can do is hope and pray that the kids that live under our roof firstly hold onto their phones and dont mislay it and if they do send out broadcasts they will be filled with hearts and kissy faces.