Hey, it's my older sister's birthday. She turns 112 today, which makes me only 110. We both look really good for our ages, don't we? So, here's a picture of her in my dad's studio when we were younger and either right before or right after she and my brother accidentally closed my fingers in the bathroom door. So, let's all wish my sister, Moira a happy birthday, shall we?
Now, I'm also going to post a piece from my old blog tonight. I'm keeping with the driving - or not driving theme. This was also written in January of 2006. Here it is:
I didn't learn how to drive until I was 30 years old. My aunt wouldn't go to the notary to sign my permission slip for driver's education which meant I never learned in high school. After high school it was difficult to get any consistent instruction. I had a million friends who said, "Oh, I love to teach people how to drive. I'm really good at it. I've taught everyone in my family how to drive." But since they were all in college, anytime I asked them, they had other plans or they were still hung over from their previous plans.
My brother was the first person who seriously tried to teach me to drive. I was 18 and a freshman in college. He was a year older than I was and we both fooled ourselves into thinking that we were more mature than we were. My brother has always been a suck-it-up-and-deal-with-it pragmatist and I have always been the opposite. So, in his older brother wisdom, he decided to take me for a driving lesson during a snow storm. Because, as my brother said at the time, "If you can learn to drive in a snow storm, you can drive through anything." No. After I slid his 75 Caprice Classic into a dumpster, he told me that my first instinct was to spaz (which I don't deny) and punched me in the arm.
My next attempt at driving was when I lived in Norhtern California. In the Conservation Corps, in order to become a crew leader, you not only had to have a driver's license, you had to have a CDL so you could drive a van and transport passengers. My friend Kathy took me to a gravel parking lot in her Gremlin and I turned in circles a couple of times. That same week, one of the guys we worked with was driving his motorcycle down an old logging road that simply stopped but he and his motorcycle didn't. He was fine, but we were all a little spooked. The first time Kathy had me drive out on Highway 101 it just took one huge, insane, logging truck to come around a curve going 80 mph taking with it much of the paint on my side of the car, to make me decide that I didn't really want to be a crew leader anyway.
After I moved back from California in 1988, my friend Mel took me driving at the catholic high school parking lot in her diesel VW Rabbit. We were fine at first but then Nancy Sinatra's version of "These Boots Were Made for Walking" came on the radio. Mel's boyfriend had just cheated on her for what Mel described as a "skanky slut", and so she felt compelled to turn up the radio and sing loudly with her eyes closed. At the same time, another car came up behind me. "Shit! What should I do?" And exactly as my brother had predicted, I spazzed and just stopped the car where we were and the people behind us honked and drove around flipping us off for a good block with their hand out the window to make sure they were being clear enough.
I finally learned to drive from a driving school. My aunt must have felt some guilt, 15 years after the fact and she and my sister went in together to pay for my lessons. I spent a few weeks of the summer with a man named Randy who was fifty years old, and apparently pregnant with triplets. I'm still not sure how he got behind the steering wheel. He was a proud member of The Promise Keepers and liked to go into full detail about all the rallies. I finished that course over a week early and passed my driving test with flying colors. Proving that there is no better motivation than the prospect of spending more time in a small car with a chatty, sweaty Promise Keeper.