September 1976 - Give me a brake, please. I'm just a guy.
Most people might think that women are the emotional sex. When it comes to driving this might be true, as long as they are not compared to men. From the minute a guy sees a car that he likes (and begins to drool), to the moment he presses his foot on the accelerator, it's all about ego and emotions. Statistics show that males between the ages of 16 and 25 are twice as likely to be involved in a traffic accident as compared to their female counterparts. Attribute it to hormonal differences or alcohol consumption, but the numbers are pretty clear. Since auto-time began, men have been the definite winners (or should I say losers) in this particular contest.
Let me start my story by saying, if you have not properly been trained and licensed, you should not be behind the wheel. By the time I was twenty-two, having a partner who knew how to drive (and I didn't), made me feel like it couldn't be that difficult. Within the coming months, I was forced to change my mind.
Having my now ex-wife teach me how to drive, should have made me very knowledgeable in the ways of the wheel but even with her expert tutor-ledge, I had failed the road test twice. Being the male that I was, I was feeling more and more comfortable while driving and growing steadily impatient. After all, I had been practicing for months and the wealth of knowledge that I had amassed, had made me feel like a real driver. Of course, knowledge does not give you wisdom, which I was about to learn.
Men. Do not do what I am about to tell you if you happen to work on the same job site as your wife. It could cause marital discord.
It was lunchtime and I knew that I wasn't supposed to be in a vehicle without a licensed driver but what could be the harm of a quick spin. Our Volkswagen Bug was eagerly waiting to be driven and was sitting in the adjoining parking lot. I took my before-mentioned amassed knowledge and carefully moved the car out of the parking lot. I drove around the block and was feeling very proud of myself as I saw the approaching fence opening of the lot which I had just drove out of a few minutes prior. I was making the right as I was driving up the curb but there was a car parked just outside the fence parked at an odd angle. Not having the experience to judge the distance of the surrounding parked cars, I wound up sticking my front bumper under the rear bumper of this big, ugly 1975 Chevy Laguna.
I got out of the Bug to inspect the situation and realized that that I did not know what to do next. Should I reverse my car and take the chance of ripping off his (or my) bumper? As I stood there, I began to sweat bullets. The few people passing did not seem to recognize that there was a dilemma but what if a policeman came by. I had no license and nothing on me to prove that the car was mine.
I bounced on the hood of the VW but the two cars just moved up and down together. I found it hard to nonchalantly dislodge two cars and now one or two people passing were slowing to take a look. I tried not to pay attention to them and got back into my car. As I twice attempted to move backwards, my bug wasn't budging. The Laguna made a loud creaking noise, each time I tried the maneuver. It's like the thing was trying to hold me there, while it mockingly laughed at me. The people that were just walking around me were now slowing to take a second look. I said a prayer, hit the clutch, put the stick shift in reverse and the slowly gave it gas.
To my amazement, we dislodged. With what felt like a nerve-wrenching inch at a time, I carefully backed up the Bug, drove into the lot and then placed my car back in the original parking space that was still vacant. I hadn't even thought about how it would be explained to my mate that the car had been moved a few parking spaces if the Bug wasn't in the same spot.
I shakily locked the car and then found my way into the job. As I calmed down, I felt as if no harm had been done and I swore that that something similar would never happen again. What I didn't realize was that as minor as the occurrence was, that had been my first automobile accident. I didn't even know that I was leaving the scene of a crime. Nor did it understand how this event would have interfered with my chances of getting a driver's license. For the first time (in terms of driving anyway), my male ego had led me down the wrong path and it wouldn't be the last. Big ego, Little brains.
To be continued.......
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