Last straw No. 6,328 for me to quit driving happened Tuesday afternoon.
It was about 2:45-ish. I was heading from the office to pick up my son at the north end of town. I was driving north on 41st Street heading toward the stoplight, wanting to take the right-turn onto 30th Avenue.
I headed into the designated right-turn lane and stopped, as per law, to let pedestrians – three gentlemen in the marked crosswalk – pass.
As I did this, the light for people travelling east-west on 30th which becomes Bella Vista Road changed from red to green.
I have a yield sign. Yield means to slow down or stop and check for oncoming traffic. There was a car travelling east from Bella Vista onto 30th Avenue.
Just as the three gentlemen pass the front of my car, I am greeted by a loud, long horn blast from a car behind me, whose driver did not see the light change or the car travelling through the light.
The driver – from what I could see in my rearview mirror, an elderly woman in her 70s or 80s – had to have been in a hurry. Why else would I get a horn blast?
I gave her a death glare in my mirror, hoping she’d get my message that I was a tad miffed at the uncalled for horn blow (I resisted the overwhelming urge to use the Trudeau salute).
Things like this, it seems, happen to me on a daily basis.
There are people who absolutely refuse to use their signal lights. There are those who can’t possibly put their vehicle between two painted lines in a parking lot. There are STILL people driving and talking on their cell phones.
My own son even gave me grief Monday. I was pulling into a parking spot when he yelped “DAD!” He thought I was going to hit the car beside the spot I wanted. I didn’t and I saw it all the way.
I had to renew my driver’s licence last October – $75 to bloody drive another five years in this province – and I really didn’t want to.
But, because I have to have a vehicle for my job and chauffeuring around my kid, I begrudgingly paid.
I used to like driving at one point.
I remember vividly waiting for my 16th birthday so I could write the test to get my learner’s licence. Then – under the Law of Mom – if I wanted to get my driver’s licence, I had to enroll at Paul’s Driving School.
Eight hours of classroom driving theory, eight hours in specially designed Pontiacs where the instructor had a brake installed on the floor of the passenger seat. You know, in case of an impending emergency.
After the eight hours, then it came time for the road test.
I failed. Or so the road test instructor thought.
You were allowed 30 demerits on your road test. I, apparently, had 31 (including 10 for nearly hitting a parked car which I clearly remember not ever seeing!), and the instructor handed me the test to see the results.
“Excuse me,” I said. “I think you added wrong. I count 28 demerits.”
Instructor: “Oh. Yeah. You’re right. You pass.”
I try not to be a Nervous Nellie behind the wheel but Lord it’s hard. I’ve been in three accidents: two due to black ice (including once, in the Kootenays, with my late mother in the front seat. Once we got the car back on the road, she sat with her hands glued to the dashboard for the remainder of the trip) and once where I got T-boned at an intersection.
I like to think I’m like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man – “I’m an excellent driver” – to which my boy says, “No, you’re not, dad.”
The kid is eligible to get his L in two months.
I can’t wait to be chauffeured around.