Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Driving Lessons



I have a secret very few people know:

I almost had a nervous breakdown when I learned how to drive.

You see, when I was 16, I enrolled in the wrong Driver's Education course. I entered a program created for male high school athletes that was intended to curb the state's number of rising drunk driving accidents. (I did not know this at the time.)

The program consisted of 12 classes and 10 one-on-one driving lessons. I was the only girl in class.

The instructor was Dave, a retired college football coach. His face was red, like a strawberry, and he always wore a scowl on his face.

When I had my first driving lesson with Coach Dave, I was incredibly nervous. I didn't really know what I was doing and Dave kept grumbling under his breath, which made me even more nervous.

We drove around for 30 minutes and his grumbling got louder and louder. At one point he told me to pick up my speed because I was driving like a little girl.

As soon as I turned right onto a busy street, Dave shouted at me, "PUT ON YOUR GODDAMN TURN SIGNAL! ALWAYS PUT ON YOUR TURN SIGNAL!"

I had never had a person scream at me in such a monstrous way before and I burst into tears. I had to pull over on the side of the road because I was sobbing so hard.

Coach Dave was silent while I gathered myself together.

"I'm sorry," he said, gruffly. "I'm not used to dealing with young ladies. I was harsh on you."

He instructed me to pull through a McDonald's drive-thru and he bought me a chocolate ice cream cone as a peace offering. I'm not going to lie, it cheered me up.

From then on, the driving lessons were somewhat endurable. His voice raised on several occasions and his face would turn bright red, but I could tell that he was trying to make an effort not to erupt on me like before.

The classes, however, were a different story.



Since the class was based on preventing reckless driving amongst male teenage athletes, it based its importance on shock value. We were shown real footage of burning wrecks, with charred bodies and blood in the street.

We were also shown "this could be you" mini-movies, with plots like:

-A group of jocks were driving in a convertible along a highway, drinking beer and laughing about "smokin' hot chicks." All of the sudden, the driver realizes that he's driving off a cliff! They die.

-A handsome football player and his girlfriend were driving along a highway, drinking beer and cuddling. He leans over to stick his tongue in her mouth and accidentally drives his pick-up truck right into a tree. They die.

-A group of jocks were yelling "yeah, baby, yeah!" while drinking beer and driving along a highway. They smash into a semi. They die.

And each mini-movie was incredibly graphic. Blood, guts, and fire. And it always ended with a sobbing mother, leaning against her husband, saying, "if only our son hadn't been driving so recklessly!"

I was horrified. I had never been so affected by anything before in my life. The videos gave me nightmares. I couldn't sleep. Every time I was behind the wheel, I imagined myself driving into a semi or plunging off a cliff.

When the classes ended and I passed my driving test, my parents' proudly gave me a Nissan Altima to call my own. But I gave them the keys back with my own bad news: I was never going to drive again.

They were stunned. I continued to ride the bus to school. My parents begged me to drive the car. I flat out refused. I didn't want to die.

Finally, my second semester of 11th grade, I started seeing a therapist to deal with my problem. After a few months of therapy, I still had no desire to drive.

Plus, my boyfriend had just been given a brand new BMW for his birthday. He drove me everywhere I wanted to go! Life was peachy.

Finally, my parents got fed up. They wanted to use me as their servant and I couldn't be one unless I drove my car to go run their errands. So, they told me I was only allowed to hang out with my boyfriend if I drove to see him. He was no longer allowed to pick me up. By using a boy as bait, my parents did what four months of therapy could not do: I drove.

And by being forced to drive every day so I could see the object of my affection, I gained confidence. The gruesome mini-movie images slowly faded out of my head. By the time senior year came around, I was zooming all over town!

So if you learn anything from this story, let it be: sometimes you have to throw a baby in water to teach it how to swim.*


*Disclaimer: I would never actually throw a newborn or infant into a body of water without a flotation device.

83 comments:

Kellie W. said...

I'm so glad to hear that someone else was horrified of driving! I had panic attacks the first time I took driving lessons, and the instructor had obviously never seen anyone have a panic attack before, so she had no idea how to handle me. I'm STILL pretty terrified of driving, but I'm slowly starting to come around to the idea of getting a learner's permit again and giving it another go.

Asta said...

haha..your disclaimer made me laugh..i had hard time learning driving too and i was way pass 16..i never watch movies with violence in them, the ones with bloody graphic scenes..i dont' know why..i have to always close my eyes for these scenes in rated R movies.

cactusandcucumber.blogspot.com

Josie said...

Smart parents you had, my dear. And seriously, I was terrified to drive when I first got my license... Especially since I failed the first time.
xo Josie
www.winksmilestyle.com

Andrés Corella said...

HAha I think the real lesson is...parents win..they always do haha...but what an interesting story..I´m actually telling you something..I don´t know how to drive..cause I get otherworldly nervous when I try to..but I need to do it..cause not having a car is really turning into a pain in the ass!

xx
Andy
The Black Label

Sherin said...

Oh dear: those classes sounds pretty rough. I can't believe they showed you those videos!
I think my parents need to do this to me. I passed my driving test 3 years ago, but am actually too lazy to get in the drivers seat.

FashionJazz said...

Wow those classes sound hectic!

I am happy it all worked out in the end though :)

Happy Tuesday

xx

Sarah said...

So funny! I'm 21 and haven't learnt to drive yet (mainly because it's so expensive!) and other drivers are scary! I will learn one day though!
x

Becky Regina said...

Your stories are always awesome! Learning how to drive is scary indeed. I was afraid that I'd kill someone. Just thinking about it makes me scared. Your parents did a great job! Hahaha

Fashion Celebration said...

don't worry, will be good!!


xo
www.fashioncelebration.blogspot.com

Couture Carrie said...

Wow how traumatizing, darling!

xoxox,
CC

P.S. I didn't get my license til I was in my twenties ;)

Gawgus things... said...

What an awful experience for you - I'm so glad you overcame your fear :) Loved your disclaimer ;)

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm sending out your prize this week!

Shannon said...

chocolate ice cream always cheers me up too. ;)

Cafe Fashionista said...

I'll be honest...I almost had a nervous breakdown when I began taking driving lessons, as well. Sadly, I never followed through with them and still don't have my license. :/

little t said...

Learning to drive is definitely one of the hardest things you ever do!

LiezyL said...

i dont know how to drive but i wanna know how! when ill have my own driving lessons, id remember this story.

Vanilla - notes from my closet said...

I have never had a driving lesson... I am really scared of people crashing into me. so glad you got over your fear though :) there might just be hope for me! :)

Love, Vanilla

http://notesfrommycloset.blogspot.com/

-E- said...

you were actually pretty rational: driving is the most dangerous thing that we do. also, ahh to the picture.

Tights Lover said...

Wow. Yeah. That's how to inspire confidence...have coach scream at you during driving lessons. Yeah. That'll work.

I remember watching a pretty horrific video during driving school too. It was all footage from fatal highway accidents. Good times. It was the first, and only, time my friend and I had nothing to say to each other after driving school...

ps. Okay. You've got me sold on the book idea.......on one condition. You gotta be my consultant and editor. That's the only way I'm agreeing to do it ;-).

Ninjagaiden78 said...

Learning how to drive can be nerve racking.

windowshopz.com

Sick by Trend said...

first picture is my favorite! :D

xx

www.sickbytrend.com

Alicia said...

My parents went the other direction and tried to talk me out of driving by only giving me the keys to our minivan. Unfortunately for them I was too consumed with the fact that I had FREEDOM to care about pride too much.

Miksu said...

What a story... I have a scooter, i'm not afraid of driving but I'm alwaus somehow nervous "what if I fail, what if I cause damage, what if I can't drive the right ways.."

But I haven't driven even a week yet so maybe i'll learn :)

xx
absofuckinglutely

Cookie World said...

I was pretty freak out when I had my driving lessons, the guy (in the age of my grandpa) was also yelling at me all the time, I was crying several times that was awful, then I decided to stop going to the classes but my dad persuaded me that driving is awsome and also he paid for the classes so I had to go. First time I was trying to pass the exam the examiner also yelled and I got scared and I go on a red light, then he start yelling even more:) but as much as I hate those people who teaches you how to drive (maybe they know the rules but they are not patient at all and expect you to drive well for a first time cuz for them it is so easy) I love driving a car maybe becouse I don't actually realize that it can be someone else to couse the accident.
btw I love reading your posts instead of newspaper in the morning ;)
xoxo
Coikie

Courtney Erin said...

This is why I've never had a license or learned to drive - it freaks me out!

xoxo ~ Courtney
http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

Oh to Be a Muse said...

have you ever thought about writing a book with short stories of your life? seriously, that's a book i would totally ready as your stories are always so intriguing. i wonder why no one was like, hey, this girl is obviously no high school football player--maybe she's in the wrong driving class...

and how cute is that photo of you and your little boyfriend--you guys look even younger than 16.

Kristin said...

Geesh lady. Holy traumatic!

Venus In Virgo said...

LOL! This brings back memories of my first driving test, the guy's armpits stank to heaven in 101 degree weather and it made me drive off the road! I almost killed us both. I love reading your stories. XOXO

erinj0 said...

I don't blame you for being freaked out to drive!!! I hated having that guy sitting next to you in dirvers ed watching you, staring at your every move. Plus, having a car that isn't what your used to us always hard! I had a POS car that rattled and you had to push the brake so hard just to stop the sang car!

Love the post!!!!!

Bonnie said...

Holy.Crap.
Nobody had to force me to drive. I was gone the minute I got my license. I have a strange obsession with driving. Mr. A usually rides bitch.
I think it's a power thing.

http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

Jewellery Bijou said...

I love your stories!you are great!

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

What a sweet post. I love the McD's ice cream cone peace offering. And what a cute pic of you and your boo.

Fashion.MakeUp.LifeStyle said...

hahaha...girl love this post and me too I was horrified about driving!! my palms were sweating and the first time in the Freeway was horrible couldn't stop shaking and crying at the same time! :)


<3 Marina
Fashion.MakeUp.LifeStyle

Tara said...

nice post about ur personal life :)

Nia Langley said...

Hahaha this is such a funny post, Jennifer! Very nice :)

nialangleyspeaks.blogspot.com

Michelle Lee said...

i still dont have a license...

Tanvi said...

Ah! Finally it all worked our ... Things a girl would do for a boy!!! :P Parents always know the way around their kid's head, no? ;)

♡ from © tanvii.com

Ofelia said...

Funny and witty post. And those movies will give any one nightmares!
I love driving but I did not drove during my years in high school or my first years in college because having the car insured was way too expensive.

Christopher said...

My drivers ed teacher was creepy. He wore shorts that seemed a little too short and I caught him looking at my crotch once.

Leia said...

I am terrified of driving.

I took a few lessons and my instructor yelled at me, too.

I haven't been behind the wheel in 2 years and I'm scared of taking classes again.

I'm glad you finally got over your fear and I hope one day I can, too!

Leia

Mallory In New York said...

I love this!! Your posts are always so interesting- personal, but not super boring! :)

I was the same way when i was 16. I never took lesson, but was totally afraid to die. So even when my parents offered to buy me a 'nice' car to use me as a servant, i refused. To this day I don't have a permit and am driven around by my man!! Lol. :)

http://malloryinnewyork.blogspot.com

jos xx said...

good one!! i learnt how to drive at 19! i did some lessons, and I actually really enjoyed myself. Until i had to face myself the exam! I was horrified. thank god i passed!

jos xx

Savvy Gal said...

Ah.... bring back memory for me too. Driving is not exactly my forte. : )

Katie said...

Omg thats sooo funny that you ended up in that class. Well in retrospect. Im sure it was terrifying at the time!

Heather Taylor said...

What a terrible experience! But seriously, we are the same people (as confirmed so many times before) because I do hate driving. It freaks me out so bad, especially living out in LA where everyone gets pulled over by the cops or in car accidents every hour practically. Being a pedestrian is scary in itself because people do not know how to stop their cars for the little white "people walking" sign! I love public transportation and will do everything I can to avoid owning or leasing a car in my lifetime. If I ever become super successful, I'll just hire a driver :)

lalabang said...

poor you! I can't imagine a guy yelling at me, i'll probably cry too.
Butit all worked out in the end and now you can go anywhere! :D

Driving instructors Adelaide said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts. Driving school really costs too much. But it won't take you that much long if the passion and willingness to learn are there. It's very frustrating to know that there are so many unprofessional driving instructors that work at present.

Milliscent Morgan said...

I like this blog like the blog of driving classes Manhattan, keep on posting!

james morkal said...

It’s hard to find knowledgeable people driving lessons blackpool, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks for sharing this with others.

james morkal said...

Well I sincerely enjoyed studying it. This subject offered by you is very effective for good planning,hard work and a great team always make a spotless work..i read your article on driving lessons blackpool and find that you make nice point on the service..Thanks

james morkal said...

Hi, what a great web blog. I usually spend hours on the net reading blogs on driving lessons bath. And, I really would like to praise you for writing such a fabulous article. This is really informative and I will for sure refer my friends the same. Thanks.

Rae Harger said...

Well I sincerely enjoyed studying it. This subject offered by you is very effective for good planning,hard work and a great team always make a spotless work..i read your article on

driving lessons Newcastle

and find that you make nice point on the service..Thanks

driving school NY said...

Entertaining article, I admire the way you endured your driving lessons.

Shanna White said...

Thanks for sharing you take on driving instructors near vancouver. Love your blog!

john paul said...

I am very amazed by the nformation of this blog and i am glad i had a look over the blog. thank you so much for sharing such great information.
driving schools in college park

john paul said...

I am very amazed by the information of this blog and i am glad i had a look over the blog. thank you so much for sharing such great information.
driving schools in college
park


Driving School said...

During theoretical sessions, students can learn about the latest rules & regulations, first aid and traffic rules. This makes you feel a lot more confident when you start driving. Our sessions are fun and interactive way to hone your driving skills. We have qualified instructors who take into account the individual requirements and train accordingly. This also gives an edge to our students to learn driving faster than the students from other driving schools do.

Driving Schools A to Z

trainingtoowoomba said...

After passing my test on the first go I would not hesitate to recommend Driving Operations for driving lessons to anyone.

driving school Manhattan said...

Love reading your post, its inspiring and I learned a lot. Thanks for sharing.

Booker DeWitt said...

I am looking for an air brake course in Vancouver. Does anyone know of one?

nervous adult driving lessons st paul said...

Love reading your blog and good luck to learning to drive.

brandon bennet said...

What a great blog, i am searching in google from couple of days” but did not find any great way, but my search came to an end after visiting your blog.!!!Do you have any more related blogs or ideas related to like your this blog, it will help me in my further research work…Will keep following your blogs…

driving lessons plymouth || driving lessons hounslow || driving lessons northampton

Randy Texdds said...

This blog is really amazing and provide me answers to all my questions. I have acquired full knowledge about driving lessons bath. This is really informative and I will for sure refer my friends the same. Humble Texas

kristen stewart said...

Your blog has always attracted me and this particular post left me speechless. It is one of the best pieces of writing I have seen. Good job.
Driving Lessons Sunderland

smith lopan said...

Your writing has impressed me. It’s simple, clear and precise. I will definitely recommend you to my friends and family. Regards and good luck.
Driving Lesson near Leicester

wellshine seo said...

It is an enormously inspiring post .I am totally pleased by your excellent work. I came to some new things here on driving lessons. Thank you and keep doing the great work.
Driving Lesson Glasgow

Usha Bhopani said...

This one is really a good post. I have Inspired your post. Good job and great efforts.

Thanks for sharing Driving Lessons. I want to share Driving Lessons Tallaght

Amelia Heartwright said...

I definitely sympathize with you! When I first learned how to drive I was terrified that I would drive into the ditch and die, especially since I grew up in a town that had horrible winters. I also think shock value, isn't the best way to teach people to drive. If people are going to drive recklessly, they will do it regardless of horror stories. A lot of people forget that they aren't just responsible for their own safety when they drive, but also the safety of everyone else out on the road. http://www.americandrivingacademy.com

Jackson Willis said...

I remember when I was learning to drive I had a really hard time. My mom had recently been in a car accident and it was really hard for her to be in the situation where I was learning with that so fresh in her mind. As a result I had to learn from my drivers ed teachers. It was an interesting situation, but I feel like I'm a much better driver now.
http://www.a1peckdrivingschool.com/services-17plus.html

Calvin James said...

My daughter has her first driving lesson next Monday. I am so nervous! I hope she is taught everything that you talked about here. I even learned some stuff from your blog! Thanks for the post. http://www.roadwisedrivertraining.com

Jamie Cloud said...

It’s normal to feel uncomfortable or even anxious when getting behind the wheel for the first time. I felt the same. My mum ended up hiring a Penrith driving school. Steve was great! He helped me develop confidence and the skill I needed to pass the test.

Sara Stout said...

I have two daughters, one is 20 the other is 18 neither of them have ever got their drivers license. My fifteen year old son on the other hand has been practicing already and has driven through my garage door, but no fear for him it is me that is horrified. http://www.brightsdrivingschool.com/driving-lessons/

Elson Cade said...

lessonsdrivingschool. is best driving school melbourne, Driving Lessons Melbourne and you can also Get Driving Lessons Melbourne. Lessons Driving School is a highly respected and trusted driving school in Melbourne. We care, we listen and we deliver results. Our professional driving instructors take pride in the services we deliver and ensure each individual driver has achieved their goals. We have some services best driving school melbourne, Driving Lessons Melbourne, Get Driving Lessons Melbourne and Driving Lessons.

Elson Cade said...

lessonsdrivingschool. is best driving school melbourne, Driving Lessons Melbourne and you can also Get Driving Lessons Melbourne. Lessons Driving School is a highly respected and trusted driving school in Melbourne. We care, we listen and we deliver results. Our professional driving instructors take pride in the services we deliver and ensure each individual driver has achieved their goals. We have some services best driving school melbourne, Driving Lessons Melbourne, Get Driving Lessons Melbourne and Driving Lessons.

Driving School Hawkesbury said...

Last year, I failed my driving test because I was too nervous. Fear has a big effect in passing the test. If you can’t overcome it, most likely you won’t succeed. Thankfully, my patient and friendly instructor in a driving school in Hawkesbury helped me learn things I needed to remember during the test.

Christopher Keiner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher Keiner said...

It is my great pleasure to visit your website and to enjoy your excellent post here. Try visiting
Alpha and Omega Driving School

Driving Lessons Discount said...

Learning to drive is expensive but there are a number of ways by which you can save money with driving lessons. If you give them a try you would not only save money but also you would be able to learn the driving skills you need for passing test and become a safe driver in quick time.

Driving School in perth said...

Hi thr i know how nerve wrecking it will be to learn driving, That why people in driving school now a days dont just teach you to drive they are there to encourage and motivate you to help you over power those mental aspects as well.Driving school perth

Shiya Priya said...

Nice Website...
Hey JOIN now fblikesbot.com and Increase Facebook Likes your profile and websites.
Increase Facebook Likes and check your website worth worth my websites
FB Likes and check your website worth Website Value Calculator
its may be very beneficial for you also really

Herry Pat said...

The most wide-ranging data I have ever got on this topic on the net. I will be right back soon to the same site…. Road Works Driving School

Johnson Smith said...

That's about as bad as an experience can be when it comes to driving lessons. I was a late bloomer in driving and had to join a driving school here in Montclare, NJ and thankfully, I got a good instructor and the only problem I had was the taunts 'cause I couldn't drive in high school.

Driving Instructor said...

Amazing tips, great article. Take Driving Lessons from professional trainers and guarantee your license in first attempt