August 09, 2006

Ever have one of those happy-scared moments?

Just got a call from Miss Reba, who, due to the fact that I had an early morning meeting and will have to take off later this afternoon to go take the middle kids to school, took it upon herself to wake up at FOUR A.M. today to haul Oldest BACK down to the driver's license place in order to attempt once again to take the driving test. They left at 4:30, got there around 5:00, and found that there were already two people in line ahead of them! Those people got there at 4:00. Again--that's four o'clock in the EVER-LOVIN' MORNING!

But at least this time, Oldest was assured that she would get her turn.

She made an 81.

She is now officially able to operate a motor vehicle in every single territory, possession, commonwealth and state in the Union, and I assume in both the provinces of Canada and the states of Mexico.

And full of happy-scaredness am I.

As for her test, she did have a bit of trouble from the administrator for not using hand-over-hand steering. Part of this is my fault, partly the fault of her driving instructor last year. He never taught them about the "proper" way of using the tiller, while I, on the other hand, did show her the "proper" way, as well as something better.

I cautioned her that since cars now have airbags, there is some concern that if you are ever in an accident that causes the airbag to deploy while you are in the middle of a turning movement using the hand-over-hand method, the force of the deployment could cause you to smash your face with the back of your forearm, leading to broken bones in your face and arm, or worse. (.pdf from NHSTA research discussing this here, and an abstract of an article from The Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care here.)

I think in the greater scheme of things, the probability of such an occurance is tiny, but it's worth thinking about, as is the habit of some people to park their hand at the top of the steering wheel as they drive.

Anyway, what I showed her is the way I drive now, which is something like the way you drivers of old Italian cars operate--shuffling the wheel underhanded. (Older Italian cars are referenced due to a peculiar habit of having their steering wheels at an angle something like that of a bus.) It has the advantage of keeping your hands out of the line of your sight, as well as off the center of the steering wheel where the bag of exploding gas resides. (Related articles on technique here and here.)

But the test administrator graded off for that. Whatever.

So, now there begins a new phase in her life, and no doubt more gray hair springing out of my scalp.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at August 9, 2006 10:42 AM

"as well as off the center of the steering wheel where the bag of exploding gas resides."

Al Gore lives in the steering wheel?

I anticipate some sleeplessness on your part when Her Majesty, Queen of the Universe is out, vehicularly surveying her domain and the peasants that live in it.

BTW - how did Mom convince her to get up that early?

Posted by: skinnydan at August 9, 2006 11:47 AM

Now which car does she get to drive? If it weren't your baby, I'd suggest that the Volvo would really be optimal and of course, totally cool. I suspect that she would prefer the Focus, of course.

Posted by: Jordana at August 9, 2006 12:48 PM

If she were in England, she would flunk the drivers test for alowing her hands to cross over one another. I'm not sure why but that's a disqual item. They recommend the shuffle method with the hands staying on their proper sides of the wheel.

And I'm sure glad in this instance that I am two time zones away from a new driver!

Posted by: Nate at August 9, 2006 01:32 PM

Now, now. I'm sure her dad has been very meticulous in having her understand safe driving techniques. Whether she employs them or not is another matter. Typically female teenagers are a little more cautious than males.

Drive the Volvo?!?

I think she'll get behind the steering wheel of the Odyssey before she's even allowed close to Jarn. (umlat deprived)

Posted by: Marc V at August 9, 2006 02:05 PM

I read the bits on driving position.

So I paid attention when I just went to the grocery, trying to stick to my regular positions.

I held at 8 and 3, and found myself doing overhand 90 degree turns. That's in the Escort.

Feeding through those turns is not normal to me, though I do feed during highway curves.

I think I feed with the truck, but it's been a while since I've driven it. Have to see.

Posted by: Janis at August 9, 2006 02:30 PM

Skinnydan--if what you suggest is true, I would think he would be much more adroit at trying to take over and tell us how things should be done. Mom had no effort in convincing her--she wanted to get her license so bad she'd have gotten up at any time. I'm frankly much more surprised that REBA got up that early.

Jordana--surely you jest. Ever since she heard the previous owner's wife say that their teenaged sons didn't want to be seen in it, Oldest has seemed to have it in her head that there is nothing on the road less cool. Which is fine by me. As I said, part of the allure of the I Am A Moron Project was getting something that would be mine and mine alone, without fear that anyone else in the family would lay claim to it. So, as it stands, I have my underwear, my guns, and my Volvo. (And lucky me, three of the guns are Swedish Mausers!)

Nate--that's very interesting about the Brits. They might drive on the wrong side of the road, but at least they do it with some sense.

Marc--yes, you are quite correct. She has indeed driven the Odyssey, although she didn't like it much. But the Volvo is like kryptonite to her. Which, again, is just fine by me.

Janis--it can take some getting used, but I know for me it's much more natural to do the underhand shuffle. I also figure it's great practice should I ever be the recipient of a Ferrari.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 9, 2006 03:06 PM

Congrats to Oldest--that is truly a "rite of passage" in our society. But I was wondering the same thing as our friend from Noo Yawk: it does amaze me that Reba arose that early also with Oldest. Seems like some laws of time and space must have been changed.

Posted by: Stan at August 9, 2006 04:08 PM

I cannot explain it, and it is unprecedented. I imagine that tomorrow, however, when it is necessary for everyone to be up and ready to go, that we will see a return to their former slugabed ways.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 9, 2006 04:16 PM

What happens tomorrow?

Posted by: Jordana at August 9, 2006 04:39 PM

Well, school starts back, and I make the assumption that Oldest will go back to her former ways of having to be forced out of bed, as opposed to her getting up before 4 this morning. But, she comes by it honestly--Mom doesn't wake up well, either. (Except for the strange desire to get up early on Saturday morning and stomp around with baskets of laundry and rattle dishes in the dishwasher while I'm still trying to eek out one extra minute of precious, I-don't-have-to-get-up-early-TODAY! sleepage.)

Seems like the rest of the kids and I are the only ones who don't take as much prodding to get out of the sack during the week.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 9, 2006 04:45 PM