School is now in session and my quiet morning drive has turned into whole lot of fuckery.
As is my daily ritual, I email my husband to let him know that I made it to my destination unscathed. Today was titled “Traffic Report: WITNESS ME!” and I attached the following picture.
And as it happens, today’s prompt for Promptly Penned is somewhat schooled inspired. Let’s see where this prompt takes us. It will be a surprise. Like the “proud trucker wife” decal toting, Jesus fish clad, truck I followed into town this morning that used a blinker a total of zero times.
In school tests started with a class bell and ended with a “pencils down”, outside of school things weren’t so well defined. At least not when it came to drivers training. And I suppose I shouldn’t say things weren’t well defined. The lines painted on the black top of the back school parking lot were pretty well defined in bright yellow. If the lines weren’t enough to give a hint or two, a few well placed orange cones were pretty in your face. For most of us at least. There was the quiet kid who decided to punch the gas straight for the fence. He forced his driving partner to slam on the passenger side brake all the drivers training cars were equipped with. The car stopped in time however, only one of the kids in that car moved on to the next drivers training session. One very much did not. But downfall of obtaining a drivers license is not the test, written or driving. It’s not even the parallel parking or trying not to drive through fences. It’s having a hot mom and a Ford Tempo.
I drove a ’93 gray Ford Tempo and in the passenger seat logging the required driving hours was a short blonde with the greenest eyes you’ve ever seen. To say Mom was excited for me was an understatement. So much so, she was sitting next to me fudging my numbers and turning the 35 hours I did drive into the even 50 required to get a license.
“Think of it. Now, whenever we need milk you can drive to the grocery store for me! And you don’t have to worry about getting a ride home after school. You can drive yourself.”
“Yup.” I answered. Though I was more focused on the fact I could pick up fast food whenever I wanted but sure, I would occasionally pick up a gallon of milk when asked. I like milk.
By the time we arrived at the local college where the drivers test was to begin, a very large burly man was already standing by a setup of cones with a clipboard. As I pulled the car up, he signaled us to park and walked to the drivers side.
“Hi, I’m Phil. I’m going to be your tester today. First, I’m going to ask you to step out of the car and keep it running. I have to do a vehicle check.”
I got out of the car and he reached in to activate the turn signal, walked around the outside of the car to make sure all the lights were blinking. At that moment, he noticed her. Burly man meet hot Mom.
“And who are you?”
“I’m her mother.”
“What? No. How old are you? You can’t be past 30!”
My Mom blushed and shrugged in her own little cute way. I stood there observing in my tall skinny awkward teenage kind of way.
Phil gave the car a pass though technically there was a single light out in the middle brake light located in the back window. It wasn’t a major brake light and it was still semi-functioning. Good enough to get in the car with a hot blonde and her gangly child. There was a slight problem. While Mom had no problem sliding into a back seat of a two door compact car (and I’m sure there is a joke in that statement) our flirtatious Phil was a tall, thick, “before” picture of a weight loss commercial. He hesitated only for a brief moment before climbing in one arm and leg at a time. From here on our adventure began with the car listing slightly on the right.
“I want you to take a left out of the parking lot. I also want you to physically move your head when you are checking your mirrors so I can see your checking them. I know you are probably checking them with your eyes but I can’t see where your eyes are looking so I’m going to ask you to make it obvious for me when you look at your mirrors.” Phil rolled his body to a very uncomfortable looking position to face the back seat as best as he can. My Mom sat in the middle seat unbuckled, but Phil didn’t seem to notice or care. “This has to be your oldest.”
“No. She is actually my middle. I have two older and two younger yet.”
I stopped at a stop sign. No one was coming though I turn my head dramatically to make sure Phil knew that I’m looking. He didn’t tell me to turn so I assumed we’re going straight.
“Five kids! Get out of here! You do not look like you have five kids. I don’t have any myself but I do like kids. I’m actually a truck driver as a full time job. I just like doing this on the side. I think it’s fun.”
“Oh that’s interesting and very kind of you to help kids with driving. Especially since you are so experienced.”
For the record, I’m actually a good driver. I didn’t need my Mom to help me with the test. And she wasn’t. She was just being polite but man – was Phil laying it on thick.
“You have a really nice shade of blonde hair. Not many woman can pull off such a beautiful color like you can.”
“It’s highlighted but I am a natural blonde.”
See Phil, the carpet matches the drapes and you didn’t even have to go there to find out. Keep that mental image for later. Which is probably exactly what he does because he seemed mostly satisfied with where this conversation with my Mom is going and spends a little more time telling me were to turn and what to do. We go through a couple of back roads, jump on the highway for a few, exit to get some city driving in, and about thirty minutes later we’re back in the parking lot of the college.
Phil announces that I had passed my test and did a wonderful job. He only said, “You should use your mirrors more but then again, I tell almost everyone that. I’m sure you were using them and just not turning your head enough for me to see.”
Teenage self wanted to yell at him. “If you weren’t facing the back seat the entire time you would have seen I was using my goddamn mirrors!” I didn’t. Rather I thanked him for the note, promised to do better, and once more thanked him for driving with me.
On the way home my Mom seemed in a good mood. She rehashed how well I did on my test and how proud she was. Then she listed off all the documents we would need to get before we head to the DMV to finally get my license. While I’m sure my Mom was still on Phil’s mind, Phil was only briefly on my Mom’s. “That tester of yours was sure chatty. Very nice though. I think you were lucky to have such a nice one. Oh, before I forget. Swing by the store. We need milk.”
Thank you for reading my flash fiction today!
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