At dinner a little while ago, we got onto the topic of learner drivers. You see, my Dad and my Uncle have been responsible for training their fair share of drivers. Patient and understanding {and strong, should there be an accident, they don’t bawl like girls I like did} they undertake a task that would push many over the edge. Some more literally than others.

So collectively we have a lot of learner driver type stories. Stories about the trying, the failing, the near misses and the laughs. Mostly, now, the laughs. Dad tells of the time I stalled attempting to hill start in the middle of a main intersection/steepest hill in Gympie. Cars were backing up and I was getting worse with every attempt. So I hopped out of the car and refused to drive. He had no choice but to get out and take over. In fact, Mum had a similar story. Less of a hill but half a block from the main high school at 8am… Once a quitter, always a quitter.

But not ALL these stories are about me.

Once I was the teacher instead of the student. I was helping a friend practice for her driving test. All was going well until we turned for home. At an intersection only 3 blocks from our unit, my friend stalled the car. And continued to stall the car. Release the clutch slowly, I said, move the car forward. Yet time and time again she stalled.

Soon she was giving a similar performance to mine. With a raised voice she demanded that I take over driving and that we go home. But it occurred to me, that very second, to ask “the clutch, which one is it? Left, middle or right?”. Still frustrated she shouted back at me, MIDDLE. And the problem was solved. Turns out, like most things, think too much and it goes to heck.

Easily my favourite story though includes my sister. My sister had just received her learner’s permit and was SO excited. Dad agreed to take her around to take her friend for a drive. I was home for the night so I jumped in and went too. After picking up her friend, we all loaded back into the car. Her parents, Mr & Mrs M, waved from their front veranda as we slowly pulled away. Smoothly though, I’ll give her that.

At the top of the street there was a stop sign. A wet night, with a full car and a dash of over excitement, my sis managed to do the biggest burn out EVER. The car slipped on the road, the noise was deafening. But my sister held it nicely.Her friend and I were coughing our lungs up as the back seat filled with smoke from the tires. Then it was over. I looked back, through the smoke, to see Mr & Mrs M watching from their veranda. The waving had stopped…

I wish I remembered more of the stories, there were loads and loads of them. So many in fact the staff at the restaurant we were eating at were shuffling around, stacking chairs and generally indicating that we’d over stayed our welcome. And on a school night too. Ha. Good times.

Won’t you please tell us your best learner driver story? Yours, or even better, someone else’s.

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