Monday, June 25, 2007

driver education (the practical kind)

My lovely daughter has been scaring the bejeezus out of us.

Daddy thought it would be a smart and grandfatherly thing to give her a vehicle for her sweet sixteen. He decided on a pick-up truck. It was just sitting around one of the farms and was not really much the worse for wear. Rather large, though. She is delighted with it.

I have cleaned it, washed it, buffed it and made sure it's full of oil and gas and antifreeze. I bought her an FM transmitter in order to run her mp3 player through the stereo. As Daddy would say, she's in tall cotton.

Having a child drive is really a terrifying business. Riding with her is nerve wracking and I make her quite nervous. Letting her go out alone is bone chilling.

Two nights ago she went to a friend's house to watch movies and listen to records. Believe it or not, she isn't the only 16 year old in town with a turntable. But I digress. There is an 11pm curfew for teenagers. It was the first time she drove in the dark. She could not find the switch for the headlights. Her friends could not find the switch for the headlights. (I am wondering about their collective common sense.) She drove home SANS HEADLIGHTS while her friend followed to be sure she made it. Her father made enormous noise about this. I am quite sure she won't do it again. Of course, it never occurred to me that she would do it once.

A couple of days ago I noticed one of her tires was a bit low. I put air into the tire with hubby's handy air compressor and told her to watch the tire in case it went flat. Yesterday she made two trips to the library, apparently without ever checking the tire. It was flat as a pancake this morning, and I feared it was ruined just from the way it looked. I made a quick trip for a can of fix-a-flat, put air into the tire, and woke her up at an unreasonable hour to drive to the tire store. They just called to say the tire was not ruined and the flat is fixed. She is a lucky girl. Her father would have had a field day with this one.

I think I'll just lecture her myself. And continue to pray.


jason evans said...

Whoa. I can see why your bones are chilled. Perhaps a couple times being stranded will increase her attention to the details.

And the headlights thing, a real head-scratcher. Even if you were going to the do the crazy thing and drive it dark, wouldn't you put the friend in FRONT, so you could follow that car's lead?

Kim said...

You'd think so, wouldn't you, Jason? Stumped me, too. Would you believe she's an honor student? And they say the girls are easier. I don't even want to think about the boys driving!

Iota said...

Don't 16 year olds have to pass a driving test? I suppose this wouldn't necessarily cover the location of the headlight switch... This post confirms some of my very worst fears about driving in the US. As my oldest is 10, this means I have 6 years to get back to the UK.

Kim said...

She did indeed pass the Oklahoma State drivers' examination with high marks. She's a good driver, she just seems to be deficient in the practical matters of her operating her truck.

In her defense, my Toyota Avalon has an automatic headlight feature, so it's possible that she had never thought about headlights before. Of course, I have no such excuse for the flat tire incident.

I think overall the US is actually a pretty safe place to drive a car.

The Good Woman said...

Oh my! I'm still getting over the first signs of independence in my daughter - and I should have 'careful' tattooed on my forhead. Heaven help me when we get to driving.

This might be a really stupid question, but why does Edmond have a curfew?

Kim said...

No, not a stupid question at all. I'm not really sure why, but Oklahoma City and Tulsa and most of their suburbs all have curfews for teens under the age of 17. Some of them are midnight, but Edmond's is 11pm. I imagine it's just to keep the kids off the streets. Daddy always told me nothing good ever happens after midnight!