This post was inspired by my recent discussion with my sister about our experiences in driver's ed class together.
My sister Schmeg and I were fortunate enough to have driver's ed together one summer when I was 15 and she was 14. Before my siblings comment here and give away the embarrassing truth about me, I'll do it first! I didn't get my license until I was almost 21.
(.....interject a moment of stunned silence for this to fully sink in....)
I can't say this is because I'm a native of New York City so who needs one anyway?? I grew up in Montana and could have legally driven at age 14. Sigh. I procrastinated taking drivers ed until I was 15, and then I really procrastinated getting my license. Long story short, it was probably plain fear of failure, I'm sure. Maybe it was because I was really attached to being driven around in my big brother's bodacious brown bomb (Did we call it the poopmobile? Or was it shitty shitty clang clang?)...Maybe it was my fear that my life would suddenly morph into the hell of non-stop driving my 5 younger siblings around. Maybe once I list my memories of driver's ed, it'll be clear even to me why I didn't do it until I was way old.
Mr. Malia was the teacher who taught driver's ed (name not changed to protect the guilty). He was this short, stocky guy with feathered back black hair parted down the middle, who was obviously into weight lifting. He'd strut around the school with arms that couldn't really touch his sides due to their beefed up size. He was the wrestling coach, a football coach, and I think he taught health or something. I'm certain he was having an affair with the special ed teacher. She was a too-skinny, bleached blonde, dark red lipstick, leathery faced, high-heels-every-day kinda gal.
Anyway, we had classes for a week or two then we got to sign up for the driving sessions. My sister and I picked the early morning ones, 6:30 a.m. The first time we went for our driving session, we stood out by the car waiting for Mr. Malia. He finally showed up, and he walked right up to where we were standing and placed himself between us, too close.
"Did I ever tell you I just LOOOOVE tall women?" Both our eyebrows shot up at this. He was around 5'5" or so, if even. My sister is at least 6' tall, and I'm between 5'9" and 5'10".
I looked at my sister and said, "Did I ever tell you I just HATE short men?"
Talk about a creep. He'd take us on these drives, and he would watch each and every female jogger in short shorts, crane his neck to watch her to the very last glimpse. He'd have us drive to the little town that's about a 20 minute drive away, and we'd stop at Hardee's and have breakfast, then we'd head back, and each time it was the same. He couldn't have cared less about our driving. He was there for the gawking.
I don't remember Schmeg ever screwing up in driver's ed, but I always felt like I was a better driver. Even after I drove right through a 4-way stop in a residential zone. Even after that time we were in the lower parking lot at the base of the hill, practicing pulling up adjacent to the parking spaces, and reverse parking at a 90 degree angle to back into the space...I did the angle perfectly, but when I went to hit the brake, I hit the gas instead, and we went tearing up that damn hill backward!!! We could see my tread marks in the grass the rest of the year, bearing witness to my private shame. And still I thought I was a better driver. What a moron. Sorry, Schmeg. I admit here and now that you were a much better driver than me then.
More shocking that that, I PASSED DRIVER'S ED! I can't believe it. Must've been because Mr. Malia just loooves tall women!