By Brenda Boykin
As I have gotten older I have found that my nerves are not as steady as they were years ago. This really hit home when I had the duty of teaching my son how to drive when he got his learners permit. He had taken Drivers Education in school and he was eighteen so I was expecting just to have to ride along. Wrong! Of course the first thing he did was go forward instead of backwards. When he finally went backwards he did not look backwards. At the same time he knew everything and I knew nothing and we had not even gotten out of the driveway. When I would tell him something, he already knew it. If I kept my mouth shut to see what he would do, I got blamed for not telling him what to do.
Probably the worst instance was when he came up on a mail carrier vehicle on the loop around Fairlea in heavy traffic. In all fairness, he did ask “Should I stop?” but before I could answer he pulled into the next lane which was occupied and at the same the driver behind us decided to do the same thing. I did not panic because it was already too late. I listened for the big bang. I think I held my breath too. I have never come so close to being in a wreck for it not to happen in my life. It would have been a doozy too.
I had to remind him more than once that he could drive the car faster than I can talk plus I learned he had not even looked in the side mirror because he did not think about it. When he did return to the DMV and passed the road test, I told the person there that I was glad I did not have to ride with him anymore. Now he needs to get a car because I don’t want him driving mine.
When I came up, a lot of women did not drive. I did not get my license until I was twenty-one. I could not get anyone to ride with me more than once to try to teach me how to drive so I learned after I got my license. It was during this period that I ran into a building which happened to be the home office of North Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance Company, my employer. I was scared to death. I just knew that I was going to be fired. My boss made me go to the claims floor and report what I had done. The claims man assigned to my accident had a good time at my expense. He asked how far I had moved the building, did it buckle, should he evacuate the building, was my car totaled and many other questions. I did not know the answers and all I could say was I was sorry. He made me show him the damage. Actually, I had hit the corner of the building when I turned in too sharply. It turned out that I did not damage the building and only had a very small dent in my front bumper. That same man became my next boss and he never let me forget my first accident.