The Child turned 15 and 1/2 this past weekend in Palm Springs.
During the years I was working on my MBA, there were trips to Palm Springs where the girls would go to the pool while I stayed in the room and studied. In the hours before we had to check out, this weekend, I had one of those “Cat’s in the Cradle” moments where I was at the pool while The Child studied AP Euro History in the room.
One of my objectives for the weekend went unmet. I had not gotten The Child behind the wheel of the car. As we were leaving town, I saw the perfect place for her first lesson. I pulled in, put the car in park, and set the emergency brake. Although I didn’t say a word, everyone in the car knew what was coming.
I sat shotgun and Laura took the backseat. The Child took her spot at the wheel. The instructions were as follows, “with your left foot, take the Emergency brake off. With your right foot, you press on the brake and then put the car in gear. Your right foot stays on the break. No gas shall be applied. You will ride the brake around the oval parking lot.
The first question was “what’s an emergency brake”. I pointed and explained how to disengage it. Oh boy.
We started to roll slowly through the parking lot to the first turn. This is where it got a bit dicey. She is used to Autopia at Disneyland, where one can turn the wheel forever and not go off the tracks. She didn’t have a really good sense for how much to turn the wheel. The car would straighten and she would keep turning. In fact, on the second time around she even ran the back rear wheel onto the curb.
Eventually, she wanted to give it some gas. I told her she could give it a little, but to immediately put her foot back on the break. The dayglow orange nail polish she was wearing made it easy to see what her feet were doing. She kept wanting to put her left foot on the break and her right on the gas.
About the fourth time around the parking lot, she was a bit frazzled. She wanted to end the session, but I insisted on once more about the oval. Then when we were done, I had her put it back in park, set the emergency brake and after a big hug, get in the back seat.
She goes to get her permit tomorrow.