Driving Lesson

by Michael D. Brooks


“What took you so long? I thought you weren’t coming.”

“Traffic was murder, Pop. I had to make two detours to get here. Hey. Nice cap.”

“Thanks. Your mother got it for me.”

“You look good in it. You don’t look like an old guy in a cap.”

“Hmm. I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“Really, it looks good on you.”

“Well, what can I say? I gotta look good for the team. I’m glad you asked me out to take in the home opener. We should’ve been doing this more often.”

“I agree, Pop. You ready?”

“Yep.”

“Hop in.”

“You don’t have to tell me twice. This is nice. Almost like old times. Just you and me on a trip to the ball field.”

“I got seats right behind home plate, Pop.”

“Nice! I can’t wait to-Whoa! Look out!”

“I see it, Pop.”

“Hey, you idiot. Why don’t you watch where you’re going?”

“Pop! Stop yelling at the other drivers. Everything’s under control. Relax.”

“I am relaxed.”

“Will you sit back and leave the driving to me, please?”

“Okay. Just thought I was looking out for our best interests. I want to get to the park in one piece, you know.”

“Don’t worry about it, Pop. We’ll get there. In one piece.”

“Good. Just do everything I taught you and—”

“Pop! That was thirty years ago.”

“You’re doing it again.”

“Doing what?”

“Cutting me off. How many times do I have to tell you to stop cutting off your elders?”

“Uh, I don’t know. As many times as it takes, I guess.”

“Smart-ass. Just keep your eyes on the road.”

“I’m trying to do that. And I could if you stopped interrupting me. Are you finished teaching me how to drive?”

“Yeah.”

“Good. I got this, okay? Good. Now what were we—”

“Watch it! Watch it! Watch it!”

“I see it, Pop! Geez. I know how to drive.”

“I see you need a refresher course.”

“A what?”

“You heard me.”

“Okay. What makes you think I need a refresher course in driving?”

“Because things have changed since I taught you.”

“Oh? How so?”

“Well, for one thing, the rules of the road have changed. And for another, there are more reckless drivers on the road.”

“I’m beginning to think you’re one of them.”

“Have fun at my expense, smart-ass, but I know what I’m talking about from experience.”

“Please, enlighten me. And if you yell out at me or another driver again, I swear I’m turning the car around and taking you home.”

“You wouldn’t.”

“Try me.”

“Why are we pulling over?”

“I’m giving you a chance to give me a really good reason to turn around.”

“Okay. I’ll be good. Geez.”

“Good. Now if you can control yourself, please, school me on the changes I need to know about to be a better driver on the road.”

“Okay. Well, the first thing you need to know is that drivers are lumped together into different groups.”

“Groups?”

“Yeah, male, female, and young people.”

“You forgot a group.”

“What group?”

“Old people.”

“That’s not a group?”

“And the others are?”

“Sure.”

“Okay, Pop. How do you figure?”

“Because so-called ’old people’ fall into the male and female groups.”

“Uh, huh. And that makes sense to you?”

“Yeah.”

“How do you figure that?”

“With young people, you can expect any kind of misbehavior behind the wheel. So when you see any young person behind the wheel, expect some kind of abnormal driving behavior. Like talking on the phone, texting, or something.”

“Before you go there, yes, I saw that guy was about to blow the stop light. And, no, I didn’t cut you off.”

“See, that just points out my next group: men. Men are more prone to running red lights. And when they’re not running red lights, the high-powered types are talking on their phones, shaving, or drinking coffee. You gotta watch them real close.”

“And the next group?”

“Women.”

“Oh, boy.”

“Yep. They’re as bad as the men. But they don’t run stop lights.”

“Thank goodness.”

“They run stop signs. You gotta watch out for them soccer moms mostly. They got them big old SUVs and minivans. Some of them even drive them monster pick-ups. They’re sitting up top above it all and somehow can’t seem to see crap. I can’t tell you how many times some soccer mom coasted through a stop sign on me. Besides that, you gotta watch out for them when they’re putting on their makeup or combing their hair, talking on their phones, or something.”

“Pop, you do realize that you’re guilty of profiling?”

“I ain’t profiling. This ain’t got nothing to do with anybody’s race or, what do they call it? Oh, yeah. Ethnic origin. And it doesn’t have anything to do with what kind of sex they like either. It’s got everything to do with putting people types into predictable groups. So when you’re on the road you know what to expect.”

“Pop. I hate to break it to you, but that’s still considered profiling.”

“How do you figure?”

“Okay. Watch this.”

“Why’d you get behind this guy? He doesn’t even know what he wants to do. He’s got his turn signal on and is driving like he’s driving Miss Daisy. If you stay behind him, we’re going to miss the opening pitch.”

“But I’m doing what you said, Pop. I’m putting his type into a group so I can predict his actions.”

“And what type and group might that be?”

“An old man in a cap.”

“Smart-ass.”


Copyright © 2010 by Michael D. Brooks

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