“My Turn to Drive” by Chad Robert Parker

Driver’s Ed was a comedy of errors. Most high school students in my car had driven on a farm many times over. For me Driving School was my first chance behind the wheel, so most of the errors were mine.

My instructor had many quirks I had heard about. I knew he did not believe in deodorant and his odor accelerated with the stress of teaching driving. He had a habit of picking his nose and flicking the boogers out the window. What I didn’t know is he took it for granted that some kids had never paid much attention to driving. Coming from a large family, and usually avoiding the drama of fighting over the front seat, I was a back seat learner.

My first mistake was asking how to turn the turn signal off. My instructor showed me by jerking the steering wheel just to change lanes. I figured out later that the steering wheel was not the only way to get the turn signal to turn off.

My mimicry of one of my peers didn’t go unnoticed. He squealed tires pulling into a parking spot but parked perfectly within the lines. My attempt was not so good. I was practically sideways.

My friends describe the time I came to a “T” in the road. The instructor did not say “right” or “left” when I asked for his directions. I ended up going straight, only I skidded to a stop just before launching off the road. They tell me they were afraid every time it was my turn to drive. Luckily for them I was better than my older brother who literally jumped railroad tracks when he failed to slow down for a hill. Luckily for small town Indiana the Parker boys escaped Driver’s Ed without greater incident.