Driving Lessons


Throwback Thursday – Learning to Drive

My friend, Benny, taught me to drive but it was a stranger who taught us both one of the most important things about driving.  More about that later.

Benny was the best driving instructor a girl could have.  He was 19, two years older than me, and he had his driver’s license. Better yet, he often had his father’s car. I loved that car, a deep-burgundy Chevrolet Monte Carlo with a black interior.  I’m not sure his father knew that Benny gave me driving lessons in the car, but I guess what he didn’t know didn’t hurt him.

Benny would pick me up, slide into the passenger seat and let me take the wheel.  Sitting behind the wheel of the “the Monte” as we called it always made me feel classy and special.  And, although I didn’t know anything about cars,  I knew this one ran smoothly and comfortably.

Our lessons started in my neighbourhood, a quiet, residential area with little traffic.  I was nervous at first because I could hear my mother’s voice in my head “Be careful”  or “Look out for that car!”  But Benny stayed calm and was never anything but patient and encouraging.   Slowly, he urged me to venture onto busier streets until, with time, I was comfortable driving almost anywhere.

I’d heard many stories of friends failing their driver’s test because they messed up the parallel parking part. The day before my test, Benny and I spent a whole afternoon practicing parking and the next day I passed with flying colours.

But the two of us learned an important thing about driving from a stranger when we went for a drive through downtown Montreal on a balmy Friday night in June.  Benny drove and the streets were alive with people celebrating a beautiful summer night. Coloured lights outside bars, restaurants and movie theatres lit up the night and tried to entice people to come through their doors.

We stopped at a red light when a small group of intoxicated young men began to cross in front of our car. Suddenly, one of them veered over to the driver’s side and opened the door.  With the dome light on, I could see that Benny was as startled as I was.  With a goofy smile, the young man just said “Ya really should lock your doors, man. You never know who could run into.”  Then he closed the door and ran to catch up with his friends.  Benny and I looked at each other and burst into laughter. But it’s something I never forgot and I always lock my doors!

9 thoughts on “Driving Lessons

  1. What a great story. I am so glad you decided to join the challenge. It has been so interesting to read everyone’s experience. What a lesson you learned that late June evening! It must have been quite the surprise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The most memorable lesson I learned while learning to drive was in Driver’s Ed class in high school. I was the first student that got to drive on the highway & I hit a skunk … a previously hit skunk. The smell was awful, I cried & the instructor had someone else drive us back to the high school fairly quickly. The only thing he said to me was, “I wish you hadn’t hit that.” I NEVER see s skunk carcass on the road that I don’t have a flashback of that powerful learning experience. … & can smell that smell in my mind’s eye or nostrils.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for joining in. In 2002 my spouse and I traveled from Southern California to Ireland for a first vacation without anyone else. It was absolutely amazing and beautiful. My spouse had never driven on the opposite side of the road. We had no navigation back then. This meant we often had to pull to the side of the road to read a paper map to figure out where we were. On one such occasion as we were reading the map, a random man opened the back door and got in the back seat. My spouse and I were shocked to say the least. We stared at him and asked what he was doing. He was very polite and said he thought we stopped to give him a lift. We explained that we were lost tourists and unable to give him a ride. He apologized and left the car. That would not happen here. From then on, we locked the doors.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved the story! I don’t believe I had any unique experiences in drivers Ed, other than learning to parallel park in a 1975 Mercury Marquis. I was that age during the early to mid 70s peak of gigantic cars, and the Marquis was huge.


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