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.
“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.
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!!!!!”
“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.