Learning to Drive

 Posted by on March 7, 2010  Add comments
Mar 072010
 

I’ve been teaching Bullet to drive and so far it hasn’t been too stressful.

Apart from one or two brushes with near-certain death, things have gone fairly well and I haven’t hit him, nor has he struck me.  Both of us, however, almost got out and murdered the gobshite who leaned on his horn for five minutes while Bullet struggled to get re-started at a roundabout, cutting out each time under the stress of the jerk behind us blaring his inadequate little peeper.

Right, Bullet, I said.  Out of gear.  On with the handbrake.  Start it up and ease out the clutch.  Plenty of power now.  That’s great.

Bullet is of the X-Box generation whose hand-eye co-ordination is honed to  a better level than an F-16 pilot.  The only drawback is his tendency to fire indiscriminately at people  in the street and his complete disregard for human life.

I, on the other hand, come from the keyboard school of gaming.  Prince of Persia 1 and Doom 1, wandering around NAMA-style desolation-scapes, firing a pump-action shotgun at pig-demons.  This makes me a much safer driver than the youth of today.  The only time I lose control of the car is when I involuntarily slam it into a revenant and cut it to pieces with a chainsaw.

Luckily, Bullet, though young, is into retro.  He likes Motown and shit, which is more than I did at his age, and which speaks volumes for the self -assurance of today’s kids.   That’s why he always brings a chain-gun, a pump-action shotgun, a rocket-launcher and a BFG-9000 on our learner-driver trips.  You never know when you might be attacked by a cacodemon, a mancubus or a baron of Hell while out practising your hill-starts.

A quick burst from the chain-gun quietened the fool blowing his horn but it took all the good out of the day.   We’d  been looking forward to an afternoon of reversing around corners, blasting arachnotrons and taking out Hell Knights with a super shotgun.  But you know how it is.  Some days, one small annoyance can knock you off balance and nothing is any good after that.

And so it happened that, as we approached the roundabout and I was carefuly advising Bullet to take it nice and easy, we were attacked not only by a Spider Mastermind, but also by a Cyberdemon.

Jesus Christ, some days just get worse and worse.

Look, I advised Bullet.  Pull up the handbrake.  Relax.  Start the engine.  Put on the invulnerability sphere and fire your  BFG-9000 at the Spider Mastermind.

Ok Dad, he said.

Good lad, I told him.  Meanwhile, I’ll fire a rocket at the Cyberdemon, see if we can get them fighting.

Dad?  said Bullet.

Yes son?

Is this going to be in the test?

No son, I assured him.  The most you need fear in the test is a pig-demon sitting into your car.  A chain-saw will sort that out.

  14 Responses to “Learning to Drive”

Comments (14)
  1.  

    Very sound advise indeed,I’m sure he’ll make an excellent driver!

  2.  

    Brilliant!

  3.  

    Empathy!

    Are you sure it’s not in the test?

  4.  

    As a very intolerant person myself, I cant understand why people insist on going out in rush hour traffic on their first driving lesson. You really shouldn’t be on the road at all until you have mastered the clutch.
    In japan you learn on a private track. Of course that would be too much for the Irish.
    My eldest is 26 now. I had him driving at 6, and doing handbrake turns and front trows at 8. (I can hear most people asking, “what are front trows”). He was racing go-karts at 10, coming 5th in the JICA restricted class, and never coming home without a trophy unless we had engine trouble. He has since raced cars with a few wins, but it costs too much and money is too precious at present. As you can see I have a totally different angle on life.

  5.  

    Peter; We barely have roads here let alone “private track’s ”
    Rush hour traffic is an ideal time to get a driving lesson, if it were’nt for all the bad intolerant driver’s suffering their rage at their own lives and unable to read an L sign.

    During rush hour, traffic proceeds slower, and it enables an L driver to gain experience without too much pressure.

    Also an L driver is just as entitled to use the road at whatever time of day they choose, It is up to other drivers to treat them with a little courtesy.

    Is your ” totally different angle on life ” reflected in your driving ?

  6.  

    Thank you Norma for your very polite reply. You must be a very tolerant person. I always like to see how others think, and whereas I disagree with your viewpoint, I can see your logic.
    The first thing to remember is that driving is a privilidge, not a right, as pointed out by one of our former ministers for transport. You may feel that a learner is entitled to go out in rush hour traffic, but I feel I am entitled to be safe on the road, and a learner on their first outing is far from safe. I am also one of those people that takes great offense at being held up. Traffic jams are unacceptable to me. They are caused by selfish and incompetent people.
    The Irish need to spend some time in Paris, Rome or Barcelona, were holding others up is frowned on.
    As regards my different angle on life, I think that holding people up is the hight of bad manners.

  7.  

    I push cripples out of my way in supermarket queues.

  8.  

    Peter; I am extremely intolerant of most things human, However I take on the daily struggle with politeness out of basic regard for most of my fellow humans on the planet, I find it helps prevent assholeitis, I’ve even heard its popular in some cultures.
    Logic, I find that vital to survival.
    Driving is neither a privilge or a right, It is a plain and simple nessecity, I have found it helps with heavy loads and is a bit helpful in getting from A to B.
    Fellow drivers have nothing to fear beyond a potential slight delay from an L driver, Who are entitled to their learning process at a time convienant to them.
    I have fairly specific views on ” the height of bad manners ” being ” held up ” presuming you don’t mean at gunpoint ? Which might just fall into my ” bad manners ” catagory would’nt be one of them, in spite of my impatient nature.
    However, I do find self inflated smugness and the disregard for other’s rights very high on my list of ” height of bad manners ”
    I would’nt dream of assuming that you have had no access to the media or other sources of information for the past 50 year’s but Yes it’s a fact many Irish drivers have managed to navigate Paris, Rome and Barcelona and possibly even further afield…………..Apparantly the price of helicopters are seriously slashed, maybe you should consider, but then I would have to look up instead of over my shoulder per the usual.

  9.  

    Bock, I have been known to do that when I was younger, now I just make sure I get to the queue before them.
    And Norma. I have to do my best to be polite, even though I feel you no longer are.
    Delaying others is bad manners. It shows total selfishness and disregard for others.
    Getting from A to B is a necessity. Driving is a skill. You can hire a professional to move heavy objects.
    As regards self inflated smugness, well let me qualify myself. I started driving when I was 10, in fields, so never needed driving lessons. I got my motorcycle licence first time, in 1973. I got my car licence first time, in 1975. I am in the motor trade since 1975. I did moto x in 1977. I built a racing car and raced it in 1985. I have since built and rebuilt many racing cars. I spend more time under cars than you do in them. I drive at least 5 different vehicles of different types every day. I have trophies for moto x and grass track racing, car and kart racing. I spend many hours each week studying from books and the internet, all about cars, including advanced driving techniques. I am quite sure I could out manouver most people, with one hand tied behind my back and going in reverse, ( with them driving forwards with two hands). And why, because I practice. I push the boundries. And these skill are not thought by driving schools.

  10.  

    I bet you can leap tall buildings too.

  11.  

    See, this is where the internet fails me, because they haven’t invented a proper sarcasm tag yet. So someone like me can’t tell which category Peter falls into :P

    Can I be so bold as to ask for an impromptu survey? Not just for ninja driving master Peter.

    Suppose you come onto a road with two outbound lanes (let’s say, the Dock Road) which you know merge together into one maybe half a mile up the road.
    Traffic is heavy on the inside lane, and moving real slow, and you’re in a hurry.
    Do you
    a) Take the outside lane, zoom up to the top of the queue and barge your way back into traffic
    or
    b) drive slowly on the inside leaving sufficient room between you and the car in front so that you do not have to brake (thereby instigating an accordion-like delay for everyone else behind you) either for the person in front or the guy from a) who is just about to cut you off?
    c) Mystery zen technique

    It’s just that I see so many a’s every bloody day, none of whom have L plates and I start to wonder, apart from the actual mechanical motions, do we really as a people know how to drive in this country?
    (I did once see a C but that’s another story)

  12.  

    I am not familiar with the Dock road so cannot answer that question, as the answer would depend on different factors. I am however familiar with many badly designed roads here in Dublin where a similar situation arises with two lanes going into one. Now what idiots, no doubt with university degrees in civil engineering and town planning, are responsible for these stress inducing road layouts. You Steve obviously feel that the correct thing to do is “b” in your posting, and this is definitely and understandably causing you distress as the smartshite “a” cuts you up. But “a” didnt put the extra lane to nowhere there. And I wonder does he suffer the same distress as you as he gets one up on his fellow motorists. Surely this lane is there to be used. There is nothing illegal with what “a” is doing. “a” may be a visitor to town and suddenly finds himself with no road.
    I believe that in the ideal world, we would all let one car go ahead of us, merging like a zip, and that would minimise the hold up. So when are pigs going to fly.

  13.  

    Peter, I agree that there is nothing illegal about it, but then again there is nothing illegal about cutting in front of someone in the queue in Tesco, but if you did it, you’d be a right sod.
    And indeed, there will be people who never drove that road before and just assume that the second lane continues onward.
    But I’m talking about the people who, when the traffic jam is already half a mile long, and there is a huge big sign on the road and overhead saying “Merge” will whip out, put the boot down and drive all the way up before insisting on being let back in. Where it’s obvious that they have made a conscious decision “yes I am holding up everyone else , but fuck you guys, because I’m the centre of my own universe”….you know what I mean, you can always tell because they’ll be the ones that beep indignantly when the person they cut off gets too close or doesn’t let them in…it makes me sad because on a wider social scale it shows that as a nation, we really are a bunch of selfish assholes. Or am I taking it too much to heart?

    I favour the zipper approach too, but I ask myself if what I see is the standard that most drivers have here, what hope for the likes of Bullet when he looks for good behavioural examples (with all due respect to Bock of course)
    And since it’s a given that civil engineers put in charge of traffic system will invariably fuck it up, I wonder why we don’t see more emphasis nowadays on courteous driving in driving schools.

  14.  

    Well Steve, I agree with you entirely, and was just being the devils advocate. But unfortunately different people have different ideas and priorities. Some dont realise that delaying others is bad manners.
    Traffic jams have baffled me since I started driving on the public roads 37 years ago.
    I have spent many hours studying peoples driving behaviour and challenging their thinking, or lack of it, because most people dont think. And what most people think is correct, others think the complete opposite, and both sides will be able to explain their thinking with complete logic. (Myself included). And very often the majority can be wrong.
    So back to traffic jams. Well they are not caused by traffic volume as most would believe. They are caused mainly by incompitent driving, and also by poor road design. How many times have you had your blood pressure go through the roof by some idiot in front who couldn’t judge the width of their car, or someone who wont move off when they should have, and as a result only two cars get through the lights instead of ten. I could go on and on with examples but you know what I mean.
    As regards poor road design, what would you say if I told you that traffic jams are caused deliberately. Some lateral thinking asshole, invented the idea that if traffic doesn’t move, then no-one will get killed. This idea is now being adopted all over the world. They call it traffic calming. The whole world is going to be moving in slow motion. Now this suits the incompetent drivers because it doesn’t challenge their already challenged lack of skills and aptitude. But for those of us that take our driving more seriously, it is frustratingly infuriating. And then of course I am forgetting the looney left and the Greens that seem to be in control of all the councils, whose hidden agenda is to make driving such a bad experience that you will wake up one morning and say, “I am never going to drive again”. They wonder why we havn’t got the message yet. We wonder when will they get the message, “we will never give up driving”.
    As regards being a nation of selfish assholes, well just look at all the litter and grafiti, broken beer bottles and drinks cans lying all over the countryside

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