07 July 2006

Give it a little shoe.

[Parental] revelation upon turning 25, #346:

I am legally able to take my youngest sister, Hayley, driving.

Hayley, whose fine soccer sock-purchasing work you may remember, is 17, repatriated, and not yet licensed to drive. When she left Zürich, she was used to legally purchasing beer, criss-crossing Europe on clean and punctual trains, and associating with teenage boys who know how to dress themselves. Needless to say, she's in for a little culture shock. Not the least of which is driving around the great state of New Hampshire.

Luckily, she had me to shepherd her through one such adventure. She hasn't had any driving practice since last summer, so we opted to take my dad's shiny new (to him) Volvo to the parking lot of our local elementary school. I drove there from the farm, and as we came into town, I put on the turning signal, which didn't light up or make any clicky noises. I remarked to Hayley that this would make it extremely difficult to remember to turn off the turning signal.

We got to the school and swapped places. This is Hayley tolerating my documentation of the event.

Then we took a little spin around the school. I instructed Hayley in the basics of driving, such as backing out of parking spots, letting the car pull you through a curve, dooring pedestrians, and menacing old ladies in crosswalks. Then I asked her to perform a left turn into the lot, and when she put on the turning signal... no clicky noises or lights. At this point, we agreed that perhaps we should investigate whether the turning signals were working at all. They were not. Hayley parked the car, opened the hood, and I fiddled with the fuses. This is me fiddling with the fuses:

I replaced a fuse, dropped an extra one into the wheel well (oops), and we tested the lights. They worked! I'm a genius!*

We got back into the car and drove around the school some more. Then I was bored with that and felt that Hayley offered sufficient proof of being able to distinguish the brake from the gas. So, I decided to make a tour of some of New Boston's pretty back roads.

This is where the adventure part came in. First off, we drove over a branch that subsequently got caught in the undercarriage. Alert driving instructor that I am, I had Hayley pull over and put on the hazard lights while I shimmied under the car to free it (note: this was after I thought that the noise was just a malfunctioning AC fan).

I have to say, I am a fantastic driving instructor. Calm, helpful, with lots of positive reinforcement. I also incorporated the best command ever uttered (by my godfather, John) during my practice driving experience: "Give it a little shoe." This suggestion is best made during one of the standard new-driver achingly slow turns. Similarly, "You're in the ditch" or "Get out of the bushes!" may be applied when the student is hugging the shoulder, for fear of getting nicked by oncoming traffic.

Anyway, on to our continuing adventures. After the branch incident, we had to avoid a doe standing in the middle of the road. Deer are honestly like mosquitoes these days... EVERYWHERE. I had to avoid three, all told, during my weekend at home.

Then, Hayley had to drive around a turtle, who was strolling across the road with a cloud of flies around his head. Gross. Here's the turtle as we approached him:

And as we passed him:

All in all, the lesson went well. She's got a ways to go, but I think Hayley's going to be just fine after this crash course in driving alongside the flora and fauna of New Hampshire.

*As it turns out, I'm not actually a genius. Rather, the wonkiness of the turning signal and lights is caused by the key (one of those laser-cut jobbies) making a poor connection in the ignition. Now, if the lights don't work, you can just jiggle the key to make it work. My dad solved this after we fiddled with fuses together for a while.


Anonymous said...

that was both an amusing and accurate description of driving with yours truly. as one who "rides the shoulder," i would like to formally apologize for not smoothly easing to the middle of the road, but rather jerking the steering wheel repeatedly until we reached said middle (i swear its because of playing grand theft auto on rachel's x-box)... im suprised you didnt boot. the whole having to go around various NH animals has left me confident in my ability to dodge them. BRING ON THE MOOSE. just kidding. but seriously. bring it on. i took for granted how awesome of an instructor you were..i woke up and thought to myself "hey i should go driving with sheena today!" but then i realized i'd have to drive 6 hours to reach you...but i dont have my license...you see the problem.
xx H

tobs said...

you should teach me how to change a fuse (or find one, even) like you taught me to change a tire.

Sheena said...

My pleasure, Tobs. Though I must admit I did a lot of hunting to find the fuse box in the first place. Sometimes they're in the glove box, y'see... but these were under the hood.

As for your driving, Hayley, you're doing fine. I'll be back up to take you cruising through Pinardville.

Meanwhile, take as much driving advice from GTA as you want... but let's remember that it's very rude to run over hookers, mkay?