"Will you back out of the driveway for me?"
"You can do it. Just keep your foot on the brake and go slow."
"Um. Where's the brake?"
I'm thinking she means the parking brake. "Right there. You kick it to release it."
"No. Like the regular brake."
"That big one in the middle. Keep your foot on it."
Okay, so maybe having my daughter's first driving experience consist of pulling backwards down a hill out of a driveway with twelve-foot drop off directly behind it and a mailbox to the right and a brick post to the left wasn't the greatest piece of parenting I've ever attempted.
Because shouting STOPSTOPTSTOPSTOPSTOP!!!! doesn't actually help them remember which one is the gas and which one is the brake. Nor can you point frantically to the left as a ditch approaches–as she reminded me, the student driver finds the view out the windshield slightly more critical than the hand motions of a parent.
When I signed her up for Driver's Ed, I remember thinking that the instructor seemed like a really grouchy old lady.
Now I know why.
At least she gets her own brake pedal and a sign warning everyone else who, exactly, is operating the motor vehicle. Shouldn't one of those STUDENT DRIVER trunk stickers be included in the tuition for the course?
I spent an hour and a half treading the fine line between making my daughter feel like an idiot and speaking up enough to keep the vehicle on the road. During the straight stretches I told her about my first attempt at driving: I had to sit on my brother's lap because I couldn't work the steering wheel, the gas, the brake and the clutch all at the same time. I assured her that she was doing much better than I did my first time out.
There were minimal tears and my right leg will likely recover from the strain of trying not to stomp on a phantom brake pedal for 90 minutes. At any rate, nobody died; no mailboxes have been tagged; and the lady with the mutt lived to walk away.
She has her first of six driving tests on Monday. In town. Turning out onto Pioneer Way.