15 June 2012

learner's permit (part deux...almost)

Well, i never thought i'd write these words. Or even think this thought.

i now look forward to riding as a passenger when Trevor is driving.

The reason for this miraculous revelation?

Because IAN is now learning how to drive.

How do i feel about this, you ask?

The only way i can think to respond to that question is by quoting yet another underrated comic masterpiece by ZAZ (Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker), 'Kentucky Fried Movie'. The film, released in 1977, is a series of short skits that poke fun at commercials, TV shows, movies, and our culture in general from that era. One of the bits is a 'teaser' for a disaster movie produced by 'Samuel L. Bronkowitz' (who is the 'producer' of all the 'movies' that have mock 'teasers' in the film). The tag lines come in amidst pictures of mayhem, devastation and destruction...

'If you were thrilled by 'The Towering Inferno'....
If you were terrified by 'Earthquake'...
Then you will be SCARED SHITLESS by the Samuel L. Bronkowitz production of...'That's Armageddon!'

Yeah...that pretty much sums it up for me riding with Ian behind the wheel.

Forget 'Lookout Pass' on the 90. This was 'Freakout and Pass-out' in a contained church parking lot (since Ian only just started Driver's Ed class and doesn't have his permit yet).

Ian's only experiences behind a wheel have been on a small tractor in a large, open area maybe moving a rock or two, reaching a top speed of about 5 MPH. Or on the 'Crusin' Exoctica' arcade game, where he regularly runs on and off the road, plowing through digitally created trees and concrete pillars, and occasionally turning virtual cows into mincemeat roadkill.

And mind you...when Ian gets really excited about something, he tends to curl his hands into two fists and gently shake them like Wallace in 'Wallace & Gromit' when he's presented with a plate of 'Goorrrrrrrrr-gon-ZO-la' cheese.

And when your hands are curled into fists, you can't hold onto anything.

Including a steering wheel.

Not a great combination for operating a 2-ton machine needing to be maneuvered through pedestrians and pedal-ers and other 2-ton machines attempting to do the same.

God bless my dear, beautiful, amazing boy. Car games are one thing. But operating a real live motor vehicle?

I'm just not so sure.

So a safe space with plenty of room to maneuver was the most ideal place we could think of to give Ian his first chance to try his hand at it. And he did his 'pre-check' perfectly, which is based on the acronym S.M.I.L.E. (Seats adjusted, Mirrors adjusted, Insert seatbelt, Lock doors, Engine started w/ right foot on brake). Of course, afterwards, he gave a BIG smile (Grin Jim).

Then, it was time to put the car in 'Drive' and go forward....which he did...about as subtly as one of those guys in 'Fast & Furious'.


My heart and stomach merged into one lump that almost came out of me like an alien out of my chest. And that happened whilst i was holding on to the 'O.S.' handle above (use your imagination to guess THAT acronym ;).

We were headed straight for a curbed planter when Kir very calmly said, 'turn left...left...LEFT!!!' And he navigated it within a few centimetres of a collision with a fledgling tree. 'OOOOOOOOHKAY! Good JOB, Ian!' Our collective lunches remained within us for at least a few more milliseconds.

But 'Mr. Toad's Wildride on Steroids' was only just getting started.

Another SHARP left turn. Then straight at WARP SPEED. Then STOP. Then our eyeballs and intestines about to squeeze through our sockets and pores.

Shudder, unclench, and repeat this sequence about a dozen more times.

In the middle of it, Ian points out to the busy street in front him and says, 'THIS way! THIS way!' Kir replies, 'Not YET, big guy. You have to pass your big test first.' (I'd pay good money to get a video just of the instructor's face the first time Ian hits the big road.)

And thankfully, after a few more times around the lot, Ian says, 'All done.'

HUGE exhales around the van. Trevor and i uncurl from the fetal position and begin speaking English again. BIG pats on Ian's back and lots of 'Good jobs' all around.

We live to ride another day.

Now, you may think that my reaction to Ian's first attempts at driving are a bit, shall we say, 'over the top'. And maybe you're right. After all, i think these experiences with my boys learning to drive ultimately reveal more about my twisted psyche than anything else.

My need for safety and security.

My desire for control.

My fear of...well, basically everything.

But believe it or not, i'm also thankful for these dates with (potential) destiny, these ventures into the (almost) void, these confrontations with the (close to) cosmos.

Because they cause me to navigate my needs, dissect my desires, face my fears.

And because in the midst of that exploration, i find myself opened to see and celebrate the possibilities inherent in the lives of my boys, and even in myself.

We have been told SO many times that Ian won't be able to do certain things in life...

like drive a vehicle.
or graduate high school...with HIGH honors.
or work at a job.
or be able to articulate what he believes publicly.
or TALK. at ALL.

And here he is, behind the wheel of a large automobile.

And i ask myself, 'Well, how did he (and we) get here?' (Talking Heads fans unite :)

By navigating needs.

And dissecting desires.

And especially, facing fears.

His, mine and ours.

So...God bless my dear, beautiful, and amazing boy. And God bless his despairing, bedraggled, and anxious dad.

Operating a real, live motor vehicle? Navigating a real, uncertain and potentially unbelievable future?

Why NOT?

(Drivin' Jim :)


  1. You and your family inspire me. Every. Single. Day.

    May the Good Lord go before you (and Drivin' Jim) to make safe and pleasant your ways!

  2. Ha ha ha ha ah aha!!! This made me laugh!! SO funny. I mean, you know, terrifying--- but SO hilariously written.

    Why the heck all FOUR of you were in the car? I dunno. But it upped the comedic ante tremendously.

    And then, it was funny and real and deep all at the same time--- I have no way to quite put myself in your "passenger seat" as it were, but every parent does have to let their child "drive"... you know?

    GREAT post. :)

    1. thanks, grace...K thought it would be fun to make it a 'family outing' on our way to the Y...NEVER AGAIN! hahahahaha...enjoying your blogs as well... :) b.