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Caution: Student Driver (With Questionable Teacher)

, , , , | Related | June 2, 2023

Back when my dad drove me to school and other places, I sat in the passenger seat. When I was really young, I didn’t have much of a concept of how dangerous roads can be, but as I got older, I got more anxiety about crashing and hitting stuff without the life experience of how to deal with that.

One day, a squirrel ran past the front of the car. I shouted, “No!” and (stupidly) reached my arm toward the steering wheel. I think I was planning to pull it left, which would have resulted in us hitting a wall. But my dad blocked my arm and then shouted at me.

Dad: “That would have been so dangerous if you had managed to pull the wheel! And shouting like that distracts me when I’m driving! It would’ve been better for me to hit the squirrel than for us to crash!”

Further down the same road, these next things all happened in very quick succession. A second squirrel decided to cross the road in front of our car. I gasped, swallowed my shout, and dug my nails into my knees. The squirrel got to the second half of the road. My dad swerved into the right-hand lane, aiming for the squirrel!

Me: “Dad! No!”

My dad returned to the left-hand lane.

Guess who got lectured because they should’ve known their dad was only teasing and wouldn’t actually hit the squirrel, and they’d just been told not to shout at the driver, and why couldn’t they follow simple instructions?

I tried closing my eyes whenever been driven anywhere so that I wouldn’t see anything that would cause me to panic, but I’d get tickled to “wake me up” despite me repeatedly saying I wasn’t sleeping. Also, the driver deciding to tickle me which caused me to reflexively squirm and hit him was definitely my fault (sarcasm) and yet another reason for him to lecture me about how I was not a good passenger.

And now my dad wonders why I’m too scared to learn how to drive.

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