My middle child, Henry, is sixteen and anxious to learn how to drive. And like all young drivers, he has yet to get into his first accident, is awkward behind the wheel, and is determined to be the best driver the world has ever seen. So, we gave him a driver’s instruction course, which he completed by July 15th, though he hasn’t taken the wheel yet in a driver’s ed car. And I had to come to terms with the idea that, even though I shelled out more than 300 dollars to have someone else teach him to drive, I was still going to be the one riding in the passenger’s seat and cringing every time the car lurches towards oncoming traffic and hideous, painful death.
I decided that since we were visiting Iowa where populations are shrinking and little towns like ours are dying, we might as well take advantage of nearly empty streets and lack of other drivers competing for road space. We went to Rowan to practice driving.
Of course I had forgotten how narrow the streets are in my little home town. Some of the avenues can’t sustain two cars passing in opposite directions at once. And there are more than a few junk cars, old tractors, and other wheeled things parked in the way, just begging to be hit and make a dent in our affordable insurance.
Leave it to me to be multi-tasking while teaching the boy to drive the family battleship down the narrow streets of Rowan. I wanted to take pictures to do this post. I also wanted to take my mind off the depressing realization that Donald Trump will likely be the next president, and our lives will continue to go down hill as we are treated more and more like cash-generating farm animals for billionaires, corporations, and the owners of all the debt we have accrued by selfishly spending money on life’s necessities in order to keep on living. We stopped to take a picture at the house I grew up in. It was depressing to see that the house has not been painted since I put that blue paint on it when I was a teenager. Dang! I’m sixty now. And the poor people who live there now couldn’t afford to paint it even once in the last forty-two years.
But even with all the potential distractions, we managed to practice driving and parking and driving again without any catastrophes or sudden fiery death. We did pass the same lady walking her little white dog four different times on four different streets. We only made a wide turn and nearly squished her dog one time. And we only had one incident where he accidentally pressed the gas instead of the brake while the car was in reverse instead of drive. Unfortunately, that happened on Main Street. Fortunately, the one and only car parked on Main Street was in front of us and not behind us. So we were successful. An hour and a half of driving practice with no costly accidents and no blood or death.